Research carried out by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has concluded that moderate exercise can help reduce the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.
In a study of 95,396 women there were 4782 cases of invasive breast cancer during 20 years from 1986 to 2006. Breast cancer risk was lower in women who did more exercise.
What Sort of Moderate Activity is Best?
Unfortunately at the moment there is no data on the type of exercise that works best to reduce breast cancer risk.
“Although greater activity has been related to lower postmenopausal breast cancer risk, important details remain unclear, including type, intensity, and timing of activity.”
The researchers did report that 5 hours of brisk walking per week was “sufficient to reduce the risk of breast cancer“. This is within the Governments current guidelines for exercise.
The report admits that there are limitations to the accuracy of the information as the subjects of the study carried out a self assessment of their activity levels.
However, other research carried out on the effectiveness of vary fitness activities and weight loss has shown that it really does not matter what type of exercise you do so long as you are active and fit. As other studies have linked breast cancer with weight problems and obesity it stands to reason that the real key is simply to lose weight by exercising.
Being fit is an important part of health. Many people think that being healthy is just about being slim and this gives rise to many weight related disorders as well as malnutrition. It is always better to manage your weight and your health by being active and eating well. A balanced diet provides a range of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants which help to combat disease and cancer while exercise keeps the body and the immune system strong.
If you have not exercised for a long time and are unsure where to start then a walking plan is a good option. Start by walking at least 30 minutes everyday. Maintain a brisk pace. After a week increase this to 45 minutes and then 2 weeks after that increase to 60 minutes. Be disciplined and walk every day. You can split your exercise into two sessions, so two 30 minutes walks each day will burn just as many calories and get you as fit as one 60 minute walk.
As you improve on your fitness consider jogging, swimming, cycling (either on an indoor stationary bike or a real bike) or some other activities. It is never too late to start a new healthy hobby and regular exercise will improve the quality of your life.
“Moderate Physical Activity May Reduce Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk” by Eliassen AH, Hankinson SE, Rosner B, Holmes MD, Willett WC. Published in Arch Intern Med. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:1758-1764. Abstract