In an analysis from the UK Biobank Accelerometry Study reported in JAMA Oncology, Stamatakis et al found that bouts of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity were associated with reduced risk of cancer among nonexercising adults. Vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity refers to brief and sporadic (eg, up to 1–2 minutes) bouts of vigorous physical activity during daily living, such as bursts of very fast walking or stair climbing.
The study involved a prospective cohort of 22,398 self-reported nonexercising adults from a UK Biobank Accelerometry Study subsample. The intervention consisted of daily vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity of up to 1 and up to 2 minutes assessed by accelerometers worn on participants’ dominant wrist. Outcome measures included incidence of total cancer and physical activity–related cancer (composite outcome of 13 cancer sites associated with low physical activity levels).
Mean follow-up was 6.7 years (standard deviation [SD] = 1.2 years). Mean participant age was 62.0 years (SD = 7.6 years). Almost all vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (92.3%) was accrued in bouts of up to 1 minute. A total of 6.2% of the population reported no vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity.
A total of 2,356 incident cancers occurred, including 1,084 physical activity–related cancers. Compared with no vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity, median daily vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity duration of bouts up to 1 minute (4.5 minutes per day) was associated with a significant reduction in risk for total cancer (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.69–0.92) and risk for physical activity–related cancer (HR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.55–0.86).
The minimal vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity doses required for risk reduction of 50% of the maximum risk reduction were 3.4 minutes per day for total cancer (HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.73–0.93) and 3.7 minutes per day for physical activity–related cancer (HR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.59–0.88).
Findings were similar in analysis of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity bouts of up to 2 minutes.
The investigators concluded: “The findings of this prospective cohort study indicate that small amounts of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity were associated with lower incident cancer risk. Daily vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity may be a promising intervention for cancer prevention in populations not able or motivated to exercise in leisure time.”
Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, of the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, is the corresponding author for the JAMA Oncology article.
Disclosure: This study was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit jamanetwork.com.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.