Simple 5 Minute Short Burst Activities to Reduce Risk of Cancer

Just 5 minutes of Short Bursts of Energetic Activities, known as VILPA (Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity), can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer, according to research from the University of Sydney in Australia that was published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Short Bursts of Energetic Activities

Short Burst Workout or VILPA’s Impact on Cancer Risk

The findings suggest that incorporating these bursts of activity into daily life could be a simple and cost-effective way to decrease cancer risk. Particularly for those who struggle with structured exercise.

The recent study looked into how short bursts of energetic activity, known as VILPA, can influence the likelihood of developing cancer. They examined both overall cancer rates and rates for 13 specific types of cancer linked to physical activity.

These included cancers affecting the liver, lungs, kidneys, stomach, endometrium, blood (leukaemia and myeloma), colon, head and neck, bladder, breasts, and esophagus.

Research and Study On VILPA

For their research, the scientists used data from the UK Biobank Accelerometry Sub Study. They focused on individuals who didn’t classify themselves as exercisers, meaning they didn’t engage in leisure-time workouts or regular walks.

To ensure accuracy, they excluded people who could skew results due to previous cancer diagnoses or becoming diagnosed within a year of the study’s start. They also considered factors like age, smoking, body mass index, heart health, sleep, diet, and hereditary cancer risk.

To measure VILPA, the researchers relied on wrist accelerometers worn for a week at the beginning of the study. This method aligns with other wearable studies, as people’s physical activity tends to remain relatively constant through adulthood. Cases of new cancer were tracked through cancer registries, along with hospitalizations or deaths related to cancer.

According to Professor Stamatakis, this research has the power to help us understand how various aspects of our lives influence our long-term health, with immense possibilities for cancer prevention and other health-related outcomes.

What the Scientist Discover

The research tracked the daily activity of more than 22,000 individuals who were not regular exercisers, using wearable devices over a period of almost 7 years.

The results indicated that engaging in short bursts of energetic activities, such as brisk housework or carrying heavy groceries, for as little as 4 – 5 minutes a day can lead to a remarkable reduction in overall cancer risk by up to 18 percent.

The reduction is even more substantial, up to 32 percent, for cancer types linked to physical activity. It’s worth noting that the study doesn’t prove causation, but rather highlights a strong association between VILPA and cancer risk reduction.

10 Examples of Short Bursts of Energetic Activities (VILPA)

These unique activity examples aim to infuse daily routines with short bursts of energetic movement, contributing to an active and healthier lifestyle.

1. Sprinty Stair Climbs:

Take the stairs with gusto, sprinting up a few flights to get your heart pumping before reaching your destination.

2. Power Vacuuming:

Turn your regular vacuuming routine into a brisk and energetic session, making your home cleaner while keeping yourself active.

3. Grocery Dash:

Transform your grocery shopping into a mini workout by briskly maneuvering your cart through the aisles and loading it with items.

4. Jumpin’ Jackpot:

When watching your favorite show, challenge yourself to do a set of jumping jacks during each commercial break.

5. Speedy Garden Grooming:

Tackle gardening tasks with energy, whether it’s mowing the lawn, weeding, or planting flowers.

6. Dance Break Delight:

Whenever your favorite song comes on, seize the opportunity for an impromptu dance break to boost your energy levels.

7. Desk Dashes:

While working, take quick breaks to power-walk around your desk or office space, keeping your mind and body invigorated.

8. Doggo Dash:

Give your furry friend a run for their money during playtime at the park, ensuring both you and your pup get your exercise.

9. High-Energy Housework:

Turn cleaning into a cardio session by putting extra effort into tasks like scrubbing, sweeping, and tidying up.

10. Supermarket Sprints:

Instead of strolling through the aisles, navigate the supermarket with pace, grabbing items and keeping your heart rate up.


Because the study is observational, it is not intended to investigate cause and effect in detail. However, the researchers claim to be observing a robust correlation and cite other early-stage studies demonstrating that short bursts of intensive exercise quickly increase cardio-respiratory fitness, which may offer a biological justification for a decreased chance of developing cancer. Chronic inflammation and the function that physical activity plays in enhancing insulin sensitivity are additional possible causes.