Hiking & even plain walking do a great job of lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer, but what’s important to know is just how much per week of these exercises you should do to optimally cut your risk.

We can start out by asserting that inactivity has been strongly linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

And so has obesity. Obesity and inactivity go hand-in-hand. However … don’t assume that inactivity won’t raise pancreatic cancer risk if you’re thin!

So if you’re thin and not exercising, you have brought a risk factor for pancreatic cancer into your lifestyle.

Hiking & Walking Lower Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

The study linking obesity and lack of exercise to pancreatic cancer risk was conducted by Harvard’s School of Public Health researchers, plus affiliated hospitals.

The investigation is based on data from two studies involving over 150,000 male health workers and female nurses, across the U.S., who were tracked for up to 20 years.

The follow-up revealed 350 cases of pancreatic cancer, and a higher risk was shown in subjects who had a BMI (body mass index) of at least 25.

At 25, this means mildly overweight, though it can also mean moderately overweight, depending on how the excess weight is distributed in the body (a woman can have a relatively small midsection yet quite a bit of fat in her thighs, buttocks, hip area and upper arms).

The biggest risk for pancreatic cancer was seen in people with a BMI of at least 30.

So what’s the best kind of exercise, then, for lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer?

It’s simple to just say, “Any activity that causes weight loss or helps maintain a healthy weight.”

But specifically, the study showed that at least four hours a week of hiking or walking was linked to a 54 percent reduction, on average.

This risk reduction pertained to obese and overweight subjects.

These results point to another factor: Diabetes and even insulin resistance are linked to the devastating disease.

More research into walking, hiking and other exercise and lowering pancreatic cancer risk is warranted.

In the meantime, if you don’t do walking exercise or hike, then get started, because there’s enough evidence to sink a battleship that sticking to an exercise regimen creates reams of benefits for the human body.

If hiking is not a practical activity for your location, you can mimic hiking by walking on an inclined treadmill.

However, you will sabotage your health and fitness goals (including lowering pancreatic cancer risk) if you hold onto the treadmill! Here’s why.

If you don’t want to do ANY kind of walking, you can still derive a comparable cardiovascular output by engaging in aerobic group fitness classes, taking a spin class, using a revolving staircase or taking up martial arts.

If you have a dog, you can easily get in some extra mileage by walking the dog more often and/or for longer durations.

Another way to get in extra mileage is to get a treadmill desk for your computer time, or set up a treadmill in your TV room to use it when watching TV.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
Top image: Freepik.com, tirachard
Sources: jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/286/8/921.pdf; Journal of the American Medical Association (August 22, 2001)