Walk Away from Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society announced recently that walking seven hours a week, or more, reduces a woman’s risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer by about 14%. This adds to an ever-mounting pile of evidence that regular exercise helps lower your risk of developing various types of cancer.
This latest study added some clarity to the picture, though. Apparently, the benefits of regular physical activity aren’t dependent on body weight. Even women who remained overweight—or gained weight during the study period—experienced a reduced risk of breast cancer after menopause if they walked at least seven hours per week.
The findings were gleaned from a long-term, 17-year study of nearly 5,000 women. Compared to women who reported walking just three hours per week, women who walked at least seven hours per week at a moderate pace—that’s about three miles per hour—were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Women who exercised more vigorously, combining walking and other forms of activity, experienced a 25% lower risk of breast cancer, versus the least active women. Both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer risk was reduced by regular exercise.
The American Cancer Society recommends that all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. Moderate-intensity exercise is defined as brisk walking, while vigorous-intensity exercise is best described as the kind of activity that makes you sweat. Examples include running, skiing, or playing games such as soccer. They also recommend that you try to spread bouts of exercise throughout the week, rather than attempting to do it all at one go.
American Cancer Society (2013, October 4). Study links moderate activity to lower breast cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com//releases/2013/10/131004090815.htm
Hildebrand JS, Gapstur SM, Campbell PT, Gaudet MM, Patel AV. Recreational physical activity and leisure-time sitting in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, October 2013