Intense Exercise May Lower Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk

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A lifetime of vigorous exercise may lower the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
A lifetime of vigorous exercise may lower the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

A lifetime of vigorous exercise may lower the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to new research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The study included information on 820 patients of varying ages with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Almost two-thirds of the study participants were men.

The investigators compared these patients to 848 age- and gender-matched patients without non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The participants answered questions about their overall health and lifestyle, including their level of physical activity.

Specifically, they were asked to record the average number of days each week and the average number of hours each day they exercised.

They were also asked whether that exercise was mild, moderate, or vigorous. This was repeated for each decade of their life.

The researchers found that those who engaged in the most intense physical activities throughout their life had up to a 30 percent lower risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma compared to people who exercised less.

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Activities that significantly increase breathing and heart rate appeared to have the most benefit, while the age of the participants didn't affect the overall benefit of the intense activity, the study authors said.

"In this case-control study, we found that the most physically active participants had a lower risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than the least active participants. We found that vigorous-intensity physical activity in particular, such as activities that increase breathing and heart rates to a high level, was the most effective at lowering risk," study author Terry Boyle, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.


  1. Boyle, Terry, et al. "Lifetime Physical Activity and the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma." Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-1303. [epub ahead of print]. May 2015.

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