Getting off the couch will help you trim down, which has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer. But the physical activity itself can also offer cancer-prevention benefits. Research shows that regular exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 40 percent and breast cancer by up to 80 percent. Studies have also shown physical activity slows the progression of prostate cancer and reduces the risk for lung and endometrial cancers.

In terms of colon cancer, hitting the gym may help keep your bowels regular — and the quicker potential carcinogens move through your system, the better. Physical activity also suppresses estrogen production, which in excess can increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

“Ideally you should sustain physical activity throughout your life,” says Christine Friedenreich, PhD, a research scientist with the Alberta Cancer Board. But it's never too late, she says. Her research showed women who were inactive early in life but who became active after menopause had a 40 percent decreased risk of breast cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 30 minutes a day of “moderately intense” exercise, five or more days a week. An hour a day would be even better, says the AICR. And you don't need to join an expensive club to do it. Jack up that heart rate by doing active yard work or by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.