The exercise challenge

Finding time to be physically active is a challenge for most of us. Between the seemingly endless demands of work and family, it may seem like there just aren't enough hours in the day to squeeze in a brisk walk or a pick-up game of basketball.

But when it comes to the health of your colon and rectum and the rest of your body, you need to make time.

Why exercise matters

Colorectal cancer can develop when abnormal masses of tissue – also known as polyps – grow inside the colon or rectum.

While there are a number of reasons why these polyps form, research shows this may occur partly as a result of waste sitting too long in the colon. And there's no doubt that the less active you are, the greater the chance solid waste will languish inside of you. In addition, being less active can also contribute to obesity, another risk factor.

According to the American Cancer Society, if you engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise five days a week, typically for 45 minutes each time, it may protect against colorectal and other forms of cancer. You can get started by taking brisk walks or taking the stairs instead the elevator. If you have joint pain, low-impact exercises like swimming are great options to keep your body fit and healthy.

So get moving and protect yourself!