New research says that physically active people are less likely to develop cancer as compared to their less active peers.
The study, led by the Japanese health ministry, surveyed around 80,000 men and women between the ages 45 to 74 living in nine Japanese prefectures.
The research found that the men in the most active group of people surveyed had 13 per cent less risk of developing cancer compared with the least active group, and women in the most active group had a 16 per cent lower risk than their sedentary counterparts.
"There has been a lot of research done in the past on the relationship between leisure and development of cancer in the West," The Australian quoted Dr. Manami Inoue, section chief of the National Cancer Centre, as saying.
"However, our research is the first in Japan of its size and scope - we looked at overall exercise and labour, which is not only related to leisure," said Inoue.
The surveyed population was divided into four groups according to their ratio of individual working metabolic rate, or MET (metabolic equivalent), which was determined by the amount of time respondents spent sitting, walking, standing, sleeping and exercising.
"Our research looked at overall physical activity that people take part in daily, and not just exercise that people take part in for leisure or fitness," said Inoue.
The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.