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Exercise to decrease cancer risk

Studies have shown that exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can decrease your risk for certain types of cancer, as well as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and glaucoma. Exercise is also a mood booster, reducing stress, anxiety and feelings of depression.

Exercise doesn't have to involve high-end equipment or expensive gym membership — it could be as easy as talking a walk. One of the simplest ways to increase your physical activity is by aiming to take 10,000 steps a day. See more tips for walking as exercise.

Exercise can help you:

  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Improve muscular and physical endurance for everyday activities
  • Increase your good cholesterol, or HDL
  • Strengthen bones and keep them strong
  • Create muscle tone
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Increase your metabolism so you’ll burn calories even faster
  • Burn calories to help maintain a healthy weight
  • Feel less pain, through the release of endorphins
  • Decrease high levels of triglycerides
  • Ease the pain associated with arthritis

As with any exercise, it's important to include warm up, stretch, and cool down as part of the activity. Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Learn about Dana-Farber's exercise classes and consults for cancer patients and survivors.

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