Can Walking Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

Can walking help prevent colon cancer?

Can Walking Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

Find a good pair of shoes because there is strong evidence that walking can help prevent colon cancer!

How does walking prevent cancer?

Physical activity provides general cancer-prevention boosters, according to, such as increased immune system activity, decreased inflammation, and reduced obesity. Exercise also helps to lower the risk of colon cancer specifically by speeding food through the digestive tract and changing the metabolism of bile acids. 

How much do I need to walk?

To really reap the benefits of walking, you need to do enough of it. Too little is just that — too little. recommends aiming for 150-300 minutes per week of moderately paced walking. To break it down to a daily goal, the National Institutes of Health encourages us to aim for between 8,000-12,000 steps per day. 

Eight-thousand steps is roughly equivalent to 3.5 miles. Assuming you’re doing an intermediate pace, it’d take an hour, maybe slightly more, to walk 3.5 miles. To reach a weekly goal of 150-300 minutes of walking total, you should aim to walk 3.5 miles, three to five days each week. 

Just think: 3.5 every three to five. That will get you to the finish line. 

Don’t have an hour? It’s OK. Just prioritize taking multiple walking breaks, 10-30 minutes each. If you do four 15-minute walks, three to five days a week, you’re covered. If you take two 15-minute walks seven days a week, that amounts to 210 minutes a week, and you’re in the target range! 

Walk this way: Tips on technique

There are some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to walking technique, as explained in this article from Berkeley. Tips include:

  • When setting your stride, prioritize quicker steps over longer ones. 
  • Lead your stride with your heel hitting the ground first, then, with your back foot, push off your toes. 
  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed. 
  • Look straight ahead with your face; don’t look down or keep looking up. 
  • Also, for a more full workout, move your arms in time with your step, bending them at your elbows and extending them nearly to your chin on the upswing. 

Need some inspiration?

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance can help with that! Check out our national Walk to End Colon Cancer event series. Together in cities across the country, we #WalkLoud to reject the stigma, stop the silence, and cancel colorectal cancer. The Walk is critical for fostering wider connections within the colorectal community and for funding the Alliance’s mission to screen, care, and cure this disease. 

Inspired? Let’s get walking!


Top resources