After researchers analyzed data from past studies, they found people who exercised were 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer.
While this claim has been made before, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said their finding "indicates that this is a robust association" and that "physical activity is truly protective against colon cancer."
"What's really compelling is that we see the association between exercise and lower colon cancer risk regardless of how physical activity was measured in the studies," said Kathleen Y.
Wolin, lead author of the study.
Wolin's report was published in the British Journal of Cancer and suggests if 24,000 American citizens became more active, there would be fewer cases of colon cancer each year.
The researchers analyzed 52 studies as far back as 1984 and found the protective effect of exercise was present in various forms of physical activity that included jogging, walking and digging. These activities held true for women and men.
"Physical activity is at the top of the list of ways that you can reduce your risk of colon cancer," Wolin said.