Exercise could help cancer survivors live longer, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School found that male cancer survivors who burned more than 12,600 calories each week had a 48 percent decreased risk of dying over a 15-year period, compared with male cancer survivors who burned fewer than 2,100 calories a week.
(For comparison, a 176-pound man will burn 4,200 calories a week by walking at a brisk pace for a half hour a day, five days a week.)
The study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, was based on data from 1,021 men with an average age of 71 who were diagnosed with cancer in the past, and who were part of the Harvard Alumni Health Study. The men completed questionnaires on their physical activity -- such as sports, walking, etc. -- in 1988, 1993 and 2008.
In addition to finding the association between more calories burned and lower risk of death, researchers also found an association between more calories burned and lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Specifically, those who exercised most had a 49 percent decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease over the study period.