A new study from the American Cancer Society adds to the growing evidence that physical activity lowers the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Evidence suggests that women who engage in regular physical activity have a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than the least active women.
Regular physical exercise is defined as at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise four to five times per week. Exercise and physical activity are classified into four types: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
However, it remains unknown whether moderately intense activities, such as walking and light weight lifting, provide a benefit in the absence of vigorous exercise. Also unclear is whether the association differs based on tumor features, such as hormone receptor status, or by individual factors such as a woman’s body mass index (BMI), weight status, and use of postmenopausal hormones.
Furthermore, while long periods of sitting have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, the relationship between sitting time and postmenopausal breast cancer risk is not well understood.
“Our results clearly support an association between physical activity and postmenopausal breast cancer, with more vigorous activity having a stronger effect,” said lead researcher Dr. Patel. “Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information and how much activity they need to stay healthy. Without any other recreational physical activities, walking on average of at least one hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more.”
Researchers compared the exercise and breast cancer status of 73,615 postmenopausal women over the course of a 17-year study. Recreational activities range from doing nothing to being extremely active and physically fit.
Current guidelines recommend adults get at least two-and-a-half hours per week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for overall health.
Regular diet and exercise not only improve one’s health but also qualifies them for a lower life insurance rate.