It’s quite hard to fathom that just a few decades ago, smoking wasn’t considered to be as harmful as it is today. Luckily, public health officials are now more serious when it comes to encouraging the public to not start and finally quit the harmful habit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, cigarette smoking is the culprit behind almost half a million deaths recorded in the United States annually.
One of the serious diseases associated with smoking is lung cancer. A new study has found that the risk of developing it can be reduced by a simple lifestyle change.
The Power of Exercise
After following almost 3,000 former and current smokers for more than a decade, a group of researchers found that moderate to high levels of exercise helped in reducing people’s risk of getting ‘lung malignancies’ by up to 77%.
This also spelled good news even for the study’s current smoker participants who were already diagnosed with lung cancer. The same aforementioned amount of exercise reportedly decreased their chances of dying from their illness by 85%.
It’s worth noting though that all participants studied are men. By the end of it, almost a hundred were diagnosed with lung cancer while another 79 died because of it.
The researchers came to these encouraging conclusions after assessing the ‘cardiorespiratory fitness’ of the participants.
This is defined as the ability of the body’s respiratory and circulatory systems to muscles with oxygen during physical exertion. To analyze this ability, the team used metabolic equivalents (METs) as a standard measurement.
Going more into specifics, the research’s lead writer Baruch Vainshelboim recommends that people get up to 30 minutes of any aerobic exercise for about three to five times a week. Doing so would increase one’s cardiorespiratory fitness, according to him.
Lung cancer is reportedly still the most common kind of cancer people suffer from in the world.
Around two million new diagnoses are made in a year with 1.8 million people dying from the disease. And, in a majority of these diagnoses, tobacco appears to be the main culprit.
Public Health Consensus
Exercise has been corroborated by other health experts as a consensus public health guideline. University of Eastern Finland researcher Dr. Sudhir Kurl recommends low fitness individuals to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.
However, he maintains that quitting the deadly habit altogether would also be helpful for smokers.
Meanwhile, Cancer Registry of Norway’s Trude Eid Robsahm explains that it’s a possibility that increasing one’s fitness might help in keeping cigarette toxin exposure limited. There’s also the fact that physical activity benefits immune cells.