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Reducing Your Risk For Cancer With Physical Activity

Physical activity has been shown to slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of developing cancer. The forms and amounts of activity required vary according to scientific studies, but all agree that regular physical activity is beneficial.

The Connection Between Exercise And Cancer Prevention

Regular physical activity has numerous health benefits, including slowing down the aging process and reducing the risk of developing cancer. While the types and amounts of exercise required may vary, scientific studies agree that staying active can benefit overall health. This article explores the latest research on the relationship between physical activity and aging, as well as the different types of exercise that can help reduce the risk of cancer. From moderate-intensity workouts to weight training, find out which forms of physical activity can benefit your health and help you live a longer, healthier life.

Slowing Down Aging: The Benefits of Exercise

Exercise has been shown to slow down the aging process (Müller et al., 2016) and reduce the risk of developing cancer (Brown et al., 2012). The forms and amounts of activity required vary according to scientific studies, but all agree that regular physical activity is beneficial.

One study published in the journal “Aging Cell” found that regular physical exercise can slow down the aging process at the cellular level (Arsenis et al., 2017). The study looked at the telomeres of white blood cells in sedentary and active adults. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten as we age. The study found that the telomeres of the physically active adults were significantly longer than those of the sedentary adults. (Test your telomere length and more with NOVOS Age).

How To Prevent Cancer With Exercise

Physical activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer. A study published in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2019” found that physically active adults had a significantly lower risk of developing cancer than inactive adults (Patel et al., 2019). The review reports that physical activity after a colorectal cancer diagnosis is associated with a 30% lower risk of death from colorectal cancer and a 38% lower risk of death from any cause.

How To Prevent Breast Cancer With Exercise

The forms of exercise that are most beneficial vary according to the type of cancer. For example, moderate-intensity exercise is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing recurrence breast cancer (Cannioto et al., 2021). The Harvard School of Public Health defines moderate-intensity exercise as walking very briskly (4 mph / 15 minutes per mile), mowing the lawn, bicycling at 10 – 12 mph, playing tennis doubles or badminton. If the benefits of walking weren’t already clear, this research should clarify why walking 30 minutes a day or longer is so good for your health.

Weight Lifting and Lung Cancer Prevention

However, weight training may be more beneficial for reducing the risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, diabetes and lung cancer (Momma et al., 2022).

It is important to note that the amount of activity required to achieve these benefits varies according to the individual. Some people may need more activity than others to achieve these benefits. However, all scientific studies agree that regular physical activity benefits aging and reduces the risk of developing cancer.

At NOVOS, we recommend a balanced approach: ideally, you are integrating a combination of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise on a daily basis, strength training at least two to three times per week, and higher intensity cardiovascular exercise, like HIIT, one to two times per week.

At the least, aim for 25 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity, like walking. And remember that overtraining can begin to counteract the health benefits, so don’t push yourself too hard for too long.


  1. Arsenis, N. C., You, T., Ogawa, E. F., Tinsley, G. M., & Zuo, L. (2017). Physical activity and telomere length: Impact of aging and potential mechanisms of action. Oncotarget, 8(27), 45008–45019. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16726
  2. Brown, J. C., Winters-Stone, K., Lee, A., & Schmitz, K. H. (2012). Cancer, physical activity, and exercise. Comprehensive Physiology, 2(4), 2775–2809. https://doi.org/10.1002/cphy.c120005
  3. Momma, H., Kawakami, R., Honda, T., & Sawada, S. S. (2022). Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. British journal of sports medicine, 56(13), 755–763. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-105061
  4. Müller, A. M., Ansari, P., Ebrahim, N. A., & Khoo, S. (2016). Physical Activity and Aging Research: A Bibliometric Analysis. Journal of aging and physical activity, 24(3), 476–483. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2015-0188
  5. Patel, A. V., Friedenreich, C. M., Moore, S. C., Hayes, S. C., Silver, J. K., Campbell, K. L., Winters-Stone, K., Gerber, L. H., George, S. M., Fulton, J. E., Denlinger, C., Morris, G. S., Hue, T., Schmitz, K. H., & Matthews, C. E. (2019). American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable Report on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Cancer Prevention and Control. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 51(11), 2391–2402. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002117


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