How Exercise Can Help Breast Cancer


We all know a lack of physical activity, whether it be running, yoga, zumba, or something as basic as walking has negative effects on our health. But what you may not know is a lack of physical activity may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, amongst other forms of cancer.

According to research done at the University of North Carolina, women who exercised anywhere from 10 to 19 hour per week lowered their risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent. The reasoning behind this is exercise lowers the production of estrogen, which is a hormone that promotes tumor growth.

In a similar study, published n the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that walking as little as an hour a week can increase the odds of a breast cancer recurrence. However, for the best results it is suggested to meet the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of activity per day. According to Claran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support: “Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much of a benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the grueling ordeal of treatment all over again…”


AICR infographic explaining the association of sedentary hours and cancer risk


Physical activity can also help lower other side effects that come along with cancer treatment, such as:

  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves heart health
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Manages stress
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Improves appetite
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight

While increasing activity levels are found to be beneficial in the prevention of breast cancer it is important to remember there are many factors involved. It is always best to live a healthy lifestyle as well as get yearly mammograms from your physician.

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