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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 10:30 GMT
Sedentary women risking health
Regular exercise is healthy
Four out of five British women are endangering their health by failing to take enough exercise, says a leading cancer charity.

Cancer Research UK is warning that a lack of exercise can be a factor in the cancers which affect women.

A Mori poll commissioned by the charity found that most women in Britain exercise less than three times a week for 30 minutes or more - and one in four women never do any exercise at all.

It is essential this problem is addressed and that women are encouraged to increase the amount of regular exercise they take
Dr Lesley Walker
Just one in five women meet the government recommendation of exercising five times a week or more for 30 minutes.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information for Cancer Research UK, said: "These statistics are deeply concerning as regular exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"It is very worrying that such a large proportion of British women take less than the recommended amount of exercise, or no exercise at all. This could lead to serious health problems in the future.

"It is essential this problem is addressed and that women are encouraged to increase the amount of regular exercise they take."

Beneficial effects

Research by a team from Bristol University has shown that regular exercise can cut the risk of bowel cancer by up to 50%, and may also help prevent breast, lung and endometrial cancer.

The research also found that exercise could help patients recover from cancer.

Researcher Dr Clare Stevinson said: "I would advise women to try and work regular exercise, such as a brisk walk, into their daily routine."

The survey has also highlighted the reasons why women are often not exercising enough.

Nearly 40% of women said that lack of time stopped them from exercising more often.

But nearly a fifth admitted that they did not exercise as much as they felt they should due to a lack of motivation.

Cancer Research UK organises a series of 5km women-only fundraising races called Race For Life.

To enter Race for Life call the hotline on 08705 134 314 or log onto the website (see opposite).

The BBC's Gill Higgins
"The government recommends 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week"

Daily life 'is good exercise'
10 Feb 03 |  Health
Exercise 'keeps cancer away'
18 Oct 02 |  Health

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