Runners Far Less Likely to Get Kidney Cancer, Study Suggests

July 26, 2013 at 1:15pm EST | by NYRR staff

The list of reasons to take Olivia Newton-John’s advice and “get physical” just got a little longer.

According to a study due to be published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, those who lace up and walk or run on a regular basis greatly decrease their chances of contracting kidney cancer, a disease that kills thousands ever year.

Led by Paul Williams, PhD, whose National Runners Health Survey and National Walkers Health Survey have shed light on how physical exercise helps ward off numerous diseases, the research involved more than 75,000 runners and 15,000 walkers, reports.

Rather than look at distance covered, Williams focused on energy expenditure, using a measure known as MET (metabolic equivalent), which provides an estimate of energy expended in various types of exercise compared to sitting still. Running at a 10-minute-mile pace, for example, gets a MET of 10, since the activity takes 10 times more energy than sitting on the couch and, say, watching Olivia Newton-John videos on YouTube.

Williams tracked participants for five to seven years, and he found that those who logged 7.5 to 12.5 MET hours per week—roughly equivalent to running or walking slightly less than 10 miles—had a 61-percent lower rate of kidney cancer than those who fell short of the benchmark.

And the more you walk or run, Williams’ findings suggest, the better off you are. Bump up training to 12.6 to 25 MET hours—about 15 miles per week—and 10-minute milers lower their chances of getting kidney cancer by 67 percent. The study’s most active participants—those who logged more than 15 miles per week—were 76.4-percent less likely to contract the disease.

The numbers are significant, since as reports, kidney cancer kills nearly 14,000 people each year and is sixth most common form of cancer in the United States.

Categories: Human Interest