Tree plants get cancer
Movement and cancer - "Be and stay active" is the motto
Many cancer patients, especially in the early phase of their illness and during stressful therapy, feel overwhelmed when they hear the advice to do "sport" and reject the advice. The term "sport" is often used in a misleading way in this situation. It doesn’t mean going to your limits and e.g. jogging through the park with a red head completely out of breath. There are a multitude of possibilities to actively shape life even as a "sick" person. You can actively tackle your illness yourself, regain your self-determination, improve your quality of life and thus your mental well-being.
But what exactly is “physical activity” and how are the different sporting activities to be assessed? Is it better to swim, walk, or do strength training? What does “little, moderate and intensive” mean in this context? How do we measure "intensity"?
For better comparability of physical activity, the unit of measurement is MET (metabolic equivalent) has been introduced as a measure of oxygen consumption and energy expenditure. MET values denote the energythat with the corresponding activity within an hour (H) consumed becomes. They are independent of the type of movement. The following list shows that in addition to leisure activities, physical activities at work and at home have high MET values. Gardening, mowing the lawn and dancing are therefore associated with high energy consumption. But activities such as playing the piano also contribute to physical activity and thus have a positive effect on the prevention and treatment of cancer. 9 MET-h per week correspond to a level of physical activity that the Disease risk in many types of cancer by 15 to 20% lowers .
Table 1: MET values for different sports, 1 MET corresponds to the energy expenditure of the respective activity in one hour, modified from Ainsworth et al. 2000 
MET / h
MET / h
Ski run, low intensity
Cross-country skiing, low intensity
Cross-country skiing, moderate intensity
Cross-country skiing, high intensity
Jogging, low intensity (approx. 8 km / h)
Walking, low intensity (about 4 km / h)
Jogging, moderate intensity (approx. 10 km / h)
Walking, moderate intensity (about 5 km / h)
Jogging, high intensity (approx. 12 km / h)
Walking, high intensity (about 6 km / h)
Cycling, low intensity (approx. 19 km / h)
Cycling, moderate intensity (approx. 22 km / h)
Cycling, high intensity (approx. 32 km / h)
cut the lawn
Swimming, low intensity
Swimming, moderate intensity
Sailing, Hobbie Cat
Swimming, high intensity
Cooking, preparing meals, moderate intensity
Household activities (washing dishes, taking out rubbish, tidying up)
Cooking, preparing meals, low intensity
Carrying purchases up stairs
With the help of these MET values, different types of sport and activities can be compared with one another and goals can be defined. You will find detailed tables with the MET values of many different activities in the areas of sport, leisure, household / everyday life and repair / gardening at the bottom of the page.
you want to 9 MET-h per week to reach. Take the table and sum up your activities. You can achieve your goal by walking 3 times a week for 1 hour (“marching, not strolling”, referred to in the table as “walking, low intensity”). 3h x 3 MET = 9 MET-h per week.
You don't have the time or it is too exhausting for you? They can vary without any problems: e.g. with 4 x 30 min walking and 1 x 1 hour cycling per week. Total activities: 2h x 3 MET walking + 1h x 4 MET cycling = 10 MET-h per week.
Another example would be: 1 hour of gardening and 3 times 30 min of walking per week results in this calculation: 1h x 5 METs of gardening + 1.5h x 3 METs of walking = 9.5 MET-h per week.
This table enables you to adapt the recommendations for physical activity according to your individual wishes, physical abilities and sporting interests. Pick out the movement or the activities that suit you personally and that you enjoy. Vary your activities according to your mood so that you don't get bored.
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