Here is something that you may have missed. A new pill has been developed which if taken on a regular basis can reduce your chances of getting bowel and breast cancer by 25%. The World Health Organization made this major announcement earlier this year.

Well, to be honest the invention was not a pill, which is why it did not make front-page news. However the bit about reducing the risk of bowel and breast cancer by 25% was correct. “Cancer is preventable and many cancers are avoidable,” said Dr Eduardo Cazap president of the Union for International Cancer Control.

So why does the news that two common cancers could be reduced by 25% make massive headlines? It could be because the way to do this is seen as too simple, or not technological enough.

The announcement that was made by the WHO was that exercising for 30 minutes per day for five days per week could reduce the chances of getting bowel and breast cancer by 25%. This is an amazing figure. Here is something that can be done by just about everyone and many forms of exercise are completely free.

As a doctor I see everyday the effects of people not exercising. From heart disease, cancer and diabetes to depression and even Alzheimer’s, all of these conditions can be prevented or improved by regular physical activity. In fact the WHO ranks lack of physical activity as the fourth leading risk factor for deaths globally.

The Weekly Fitness Challenge is a global initiative to help people get active and get healthy. It is much better to prevent illness than to treat it. Bringing together health professionals and others from all around the globe, the Weekly Fitness Challenge is about helping the not fit to get regularly active with local motivation and support.

So what is stopping so many people from doing regular exercise? The two biggest excuses are cost and lack of time. Whilst you can wisely invest money in an exercise program with a trainer or gym, walking is free and requires you to buy no fancy equipment. Given how much time is spent in front of television there is no shortage of time.

Some people do not know where to start. This is where the Weekly Fitness Challenge provides support, knowledge and motivation to get you started. This initiative started on twitter and has grown to boast an international team of people all committed to help get the world moving. The official launch will be in Knoxville, Tennessee in the middle of the year. In upcoming weeks I will be featuring articles from other members of the team.

It is time to look at doing exercise in a different way. Dr Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois made the following observation “Exercise is medicine, without the side effects and the astronomical costs”. It is also fun and can help build communities and strengthen relationships.

I am honored  to be involved in the Weekly Fitness Challenge as International Medical Director and urge you all to get involved with this great global initiative which is going to change the shape of the world.

Visit the Weekly Fitness Challenge website