Doc Eifrig: This habit could cut your risk of cancer by 32%

From Dr. David Eifrig, MD, MBA, Editor, Retirement Millionaire:

Cut your risk of cancer by hitting the gym today…

Middle-aged men who exercise regularly are 32% less likely to die of cancer… according to a study last month in the medical journal JAMA Oncology.

Researchers followed almost 14,000 men in their late 40s to early 50s for an average of 6.5 years. At the beginning of the study, men took a cardiorespiratory test on a treadmill that measured their fitness levels.

During the study, 1,310 of the participants were diagnosed with cancer (about 9%). In addition to being less likely to die from cancer, the men with the highest fitness levels had a 55% lower risk of lung cancer and a 44% lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Even if you don’t have much time, a 15-minute workout provides many of the benefits of longer workouts. (Go here for my full write-up.)

Overweight men also have more trouble fighting prostate cancer. A recent study of 1,400 men with prostate cancer showed that the overweight or obese participants had a 15% increased risk of dying from the cancer.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, also found that the men had a 3% higher chance of prostate-cancer relapse and a 7% higher chance of their cancer spreading. Researchers behind the study haven’t pinpointed the reason why excess weight leads to worse outcomes. They proposed that radiation therapy may not work as well in heavier men.

Many research studies measure weight using something called the body mass index (BMI). BMI measures your weight based on your height (you can calculate it here). Although it isn’t a perfect representation of fitness (muscle can weigh more than fat and throw off the reading), it’s a general gauge for knowing if you’re a normal weight for your height.

According to a 2014 study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 160 million adults, or 69% of people 18 and older, in the U.S. are overweight or obese. And about 74% of all American men are overweight or obese.

So take care of yourself now. Do what I do and try that 15-minute workout I mentioned earlier just two or three times a week. Cut back on “white killer” foods, like processed sugar and white bread. Go for a walk during the day, too – even 15 minutes during your lunch break can help keep the weight off.

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