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Can Exercise Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Renee Eder on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, my goal this month and in general is to do what I can to stave off the terrible disease. I read recently that studies found a link between regular exercise and a lower risk of breast cancer. If this is true, I’m going to need to start exercising more often!

How exercising lowers breast cancer risk is not fully understood. It’s thought that physical activity regulates hormones including estrogen and insulin, which can fuel breast cancer growth. Regular exercise also helps women stay at a healthy weight, which also helps regulate hormones and helps keep the immune system healthier. So it’s a win-win to get to the gym!

How much exercise do women need?

Unfortunately, there is not a magic number of hours that a woman can exercise to prevent cancer from occurring or to lower the risk. But we do know that some is better than none, and that more vigorous activity is more effective than less vigorous activity. The American Cancer Society recommends all adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week.

So, what happens on days when you want to fit some exercise in but can’t find the time to come to the J and exercise? Here are some ideas:

  • Limit time spent watching TV and using other forms of screen-based entertainment.
  • Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill when you do watch TV.
  • Use stairs rather than an elevator.
  • If you can, walk or bike to your destination.
  • Exercise at lunch with your coworkers, family, or friends.
  • Take an exercise break at work to stretch or take a quick walk.
  • Walk to visit co-workers instead of sending an e-mail.
  • Go dancing with your spouse or friends.
  • Plan active vacations rather than driving-only trips.
  • Wear a pedometer every day and increase your number of daily steps.

For people who haven't exercised in a while, it makes sense to start slowly and build up gradually. And clear any new activity with your doctor.

Hope to see you at the J in the weight room, on a treadmill, or at the new Bollywood Fit or SUP Yoga Class (which was an amazing workout- I did it last week!)

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