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VILPA: Your ticket to lowering cancer risks when you hate exercise
Last summer, I was walking every day.
This year — a little heavier after ‘over-wintering’ — walking doesn’t interest me as much.
The idea of walking does, but when I get up in the morning, I’d rather make my coffee and take it out on the front step with a little breakfast and look at my gardens.
Part of the problem is that, for me, walking outdoors is restricted by the seasons where I live — and that makes it difficult to pick up the routine again.
So, truthfully, even though I write on the benefits of exercise quite often, and whole-heartedly believe in them, I had resigned to accept the new, lazy me.
But after reading some promising new research, I’m feeling like there might be hope for me yet…
What is VILPA?
VILPA — vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity — is something I’ve been doing without realizing it. All I need to do is up my game a little.
VILPA is a term coined by an international team of researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center to describe the very short bursts of activity — around one minute each — we do with gusto each day.
This includes activities like vigorous housework, carrying a heavy load of grocery bags from your car to the house, bursts of power walking up or down the stairs to change out the laundry or playing high-energy games with the kids.
“VILPA is a bit like applying the principles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your everyday life,” said lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis of the Charles Perkins Center.
A good reason to give it a go? Adults who don’t exercise are at increased risk of developing certain cancers like breast, endometrial or colon, says Prof. Stamatakis.
What the research shows about VILPA and cancer risk
“We know the majority of middle-aged people don’t regularly exercise, which puts them at increased cancer risk.
“But it’s only through the advent of wearable technology like activity trackers that we are able to look at the impact of short bursts of incidental physical activity done as part of daily living,” Professor Stamatakis states.
And this is precisely what he and his team did…
They used data from wearable devices to track the daily activity of over 22,000 ‘non-exercisers.’ Then they followed the group’s clinical health records for close to seven years to monitor for cancer.
Their findings showed that increasing the intensity of daily tasks such as stair climbing for as little as four to five minutes per day, done in short bursts of around one minute each, was linked to an overall reduction in cancer risk of up to 18 percent.
For cancer types linked to physical activity, such as breast, colon, endometrial and bladder cancer, make that a risk reduction of 32 percent!
How to ‘VILPA’
Want to lower your cancer risk without joining a gym or running marathons?
“It requires no time commitment, no preparation, no club memberships, no special skills. It simply involves stepping up the pace while walking or doing the housework with a bit more energy,” says Prof. Stamatakis.
Here are some ways to ‘VILPA’:
- Vigorously walk up and down stairs in your house for five minutes per day
- Push your kids or grandkids around in cardboard boxes (they’ll love it!)
- Trot, don’t walk, from your car to the supermarket, and walk more briskly while you do your shopping
- Play with your dog (or a friend’s dog!) by running around
I’m sure you can find your own VILPA based on your lifestyle. The key is to get that heart pumping for a minute or more.
Even I can do this! In fact, it reminds me of exercise snacking — something a wrote about just a couple of years ago. I might even get back on my treadmill once the Maine winters start keeping me in. A little music or a podcast, and away I go!
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
Couch Potatoes Take Note: Climb Some Stairs to Cut Cancer Risk — Medpage Today
Short bursts of daily activity linked to reduced cancer risk — Science Daily