How Regular Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
An Exciting Break Through for Women's Wellness...
Women of all ages and size have a new reason to walk, run, dance, and even garden for a few more hours each week. These and other activities- combined with a diet rich in healthy foods and vitamins- may offer a leg-up in preventing the most common type of cancer in women. A recent study published on the Cancer journal website reveals that women who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of breast cancer.
Promising New Research
The study was performed by a group of researchers, including Lauren McCullough, who is a candidate for her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. McCullough and her colleagues surveyed more than 3,000 women between the ages of twenty and ninety-eight years old. In the study, 1,504 women had breast cancer and 1,555 didn't. Each of the women provided a comprehensive picture of her physical activity by answering questions about her exercise levels over her entire lifetime.
The study revealed that women who exercise for just a few hours each week, were at a 6 percent lower- risk for breast cancer than women who didn't exercise at all. The intensity level of the exercise didn't appear to matter- women who regularly gardened or complete household chores, still benefited from the less strenuous activities. The reduced cancer risk was even greater for those who were physically active and women who exercised between ten and nineteen hours a week showing a 30 percent lower- risk of getting breast cancer.
A Benefit for Women at All Stages of Life
It this study, the decreased risk for breast cancer was present for women of all ages and all sizes. McCullough was particularly happy about these findings. In the TIME blog Healthland, she says “I was excited by the results because as women tend to age, they get set in their habits, and think that if they haven’t been active their whole life- why start now.” She concluded that research reveals that regardless of the age at which women begin exercising- they can still enjoy positive health benefits from their efforts.
Extra tip: Spinner bikes, exercise bikes, and stationary bikes will help master the basics
before getting into the hard stuff.
For overweight women with BMIS above 30, exercising gave them a similar risk for breast cancer as normal-weight women who didn’t exercise. While overweight women did see lower- risks of breast cancer with increased activity, Charlotte Lubuono from The Atlantic wrote that studies also reveal gaining a significant amount of weight, may cancel out the benefits that regular physical activity would have provided.
Overall Health is the Key to Prevention
The general findings of the study provide good news for women who are regularly active. But while the results show a positive relationship between exercise and lower breast cancer risk, Stephanie Watson of the Harvard Health Blog notes that the study doesn't prove exercising definitely reduces a woman’s breast cancer risk.
Many researchers believe that prevention of breast cancer most likely results from a combination of factors, such as eating balanced meals, taking vitamins when necessary, and engaging in physical activity on a regular basis. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle is not only a smart step in decreasing the risk of breast cancer, but a wise move for preventing many of the most common diseases that affect women today.
Where Should My Heart Rate Be?
Use this handy, interactive tool below to calculate yor target heart rate based upon your age and exercise intensity level.
This calculator is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. A qualified health care provider should be consulted before making any fitness or health decisions.
Article authored by: Leslie Luna
Leslie is an avid gym-goer and writer of all things health and wellness. She is a freelance blogger and editor in the San Fransisco area.