We’ve all heard the old adage, “eat right and exercise” to reduce your risk of chronic
diseases, but can exercise actually impact your risk for breast cancer? According to research, it can!
Exercise on a regular basis and do continuous movement.
Research shows that women who have done exercise in the past 4 years, specifically walking or cycling, were 10% less likely to get breast cancer than those who exercised less. Even moderate impact activity appears to have an effect. Even just walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for breast cancer. Exercise was independent of factors like weight and body fat (Preidt).
Exercise is important specifically for post-menopausal women as they are at a greater risk for breast cancer.
A recent study of 73,615 post-menopausal women, ages 50-73, showed the importance of exercise and breast cancer risk. The most physically active women in the study had a 25% reduction in breast cancer risk. Forty-seven percent of women in the study reported walking as their only activity and a 14% reduction in risk for breast cancer in women who exercised an average of 7 hours a week. These associations did not differ by weight, body fat, or post-menopausal hormones (Hildebrand).
Exercise is crucial for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Exercise is been shown to be an effective intervention for breast cancer patients and survivors by improving quality of life. A recent study showed improved oxygen consumption, physical functioning, and reduced fatigue in women who recently or in the past had breast cancer (McNeely). Another study of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation showed that women with in the 6 week daily walking program had improved physicality and decrease of symptoms such fatigue, emotional distress, and trouble sleeping (Mock).
Reduce your risk for breast cancer-related death.
The CDC found in that women who exercised between 1.25-2.5 hours per week of aerobic activity were 42% less likely to die a breast cancer-related death. The most common activity was walking or running. In this study body mass index(BMI) was a factor, as a lower BMI tends to prolong life (Fetters).
So what’s the secret to exercise and cancer?
Exercise reduces estrogen’s effect on cancer by changing how the body breaks down the hormone into either harmful or benign byproducts in the body. Exercise also reduces women’s amount of fatty tissue, which creates estrogen and is the primary hormone needed in post-menopausal women. Running and walking offer the same protection from breast cancer, but also the most protection over other aerobic activities. If you want to nearly halve your risk, the recommended time is 2 hours of walking briskly or running per week (Fetters).
Okay Thrivers-LET’S GET MOVING!!!