HealthDay News — Just a half hour a day of moderate physical activity could improve survival odds for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January 19 to 21 in San Francisco.

Study authors who tracked 1,231 CRC patients found a 19% decline in risk for early death among those who got 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily. Five or more hours of moderate – but non-vigorous – activity a week pushed that survival benefit to 25%. Walking, cleaning, or gardening counted as moderate exercise, the study authors said. 

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A half hour of such activity daily also translated into a 16% decrease in the progression of disease, the researchers found. The findings held up even after accounting for a range of factors, including patient age, body weight, overall health, other serious disease, or the particular type of cancer treatment underway. The researchers noted that advanced-stage CRC patients only appeared to derive benefit from moderate – not vigorous – activity. No similar link was seen with routinely engaging in more strenuous sports or running.

“While exercise is by no means a substitute for chemotherapy, patients can experience a wide range of benefits from as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day,” lead author Brendan Guercio, MD, a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a symposium news release.

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