Given up smoking? Take up gardening!

July 26, 2008

If you know anyone who has recently given up smoking, or is thinking of doing so, then there is some great news on a really substantial benefit if they will also take up a very specific form of physical exercise. Former smokers can decrease their risk of developing lung cancer by up to an amazing 45%, and if they also reform their diet they can reduce their risk even further. These findings came out of a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Sixth Annual International Conference in Philadelphia this month.

Researchers studied 3,800 women and men using a pairing system that sorts people according to smoking status. Therefore, smokers with lung cancer would only be compared to smokers without lung cancer, with the same pairing taking place for former smokers and those who have never smoked. Researchers compared those who had not developed lung cancer based on a variety of factors including exposure to secondhand smoke, dust exposure, family cancer history, personal respiratory history, diet and exercise.

The ‘exercise’ that is credited with this decrease in risk is gardening, because apparently that is one of the few activities that people with lung cancer report doing. So the former smokers who gardened reduced their lung cancer risk by 45% percent, while current smokers who gardened reduced their risk by 33%. Hopefully they were also growing their own vegetables because eating four or more salads a week reduced their risk by 67 percent, and for those still smoking who gardened and chomped on the green stuff they reduced their risk by 71% Time to get out the garden spade, rake and dibber and get planting.


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