Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Because of this, it is no surprise that much research has been done to discover how women can reduce their risk of development.
Did you know that with just 25 minutes of physical activity a day your risk of developing breast cancer decreases? Sounds easy enough, right? Notice we said physical activity and NOT exercise! The word “exercise” can seem intimidating. But, being physically active doesn’t have to involve weights, treadmills or mile-long runs. Any activity that makes you breathe a little harder and gets your body warmer will help reduce your risk. Across numerous studies, evidence has shown that there was a 25% average breast cancer risk reduction amongst physically active women as compared to lesser active women.
So how can you get moving? Everyday tasks can count as physical activity, like gardening and washing the car. Or, devote more time in your day to active hobbies you enjoy, like swimming, tennis, yoga or dance! The American Cancer Society recommends that all adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intense activity a week. At just 25 minutes each day, you are exceeding this recommended amount.
In addition to just 25 minutes of physical activity, you can also get moving by taking small steps each day, like:
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Parking farther away from the store
- Taking your pet for a longer walk
- Using a stationary bike or treadmill while watching TV
You may be wondering how being physically active can reduce your risk for breast cancer. Physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body weight, which decreases the risk of cancer development after menopause. It is also thought that physical activity helps to regulate hormones including insulin and estrogen and keeps the immune system healthier. By improving your immune system through exercise, a woman’s body will also be more effective at killing or slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Not only can physical activity decrease the risk of breast cancer, it can also improve your long-term health and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, and improve mood.
Remember, it is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle! In fact, studies have shown that women who increase their physical activity after menopause may have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not. So, no matter your age it is important to add physical activity to your lifestyle today. Start slow and gradually build up the amount of physical activity you do.
At Greenville Women’s Care, we are committed to encouraging women of all stages of life to lead a healthy and active lifestyle! To learn more about breast cancer risks and for regularly scheduled mammograms, contact us today!