Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
Living a healthy lifestyle is, of course, one of the best ways to avoid many types of illnesses and maladies, including reducing the risk of cancer. This is true for reducing breast cancer risk as well. Many news articles today focus on the food items you should consume that will impart health benefits that reduce the risk of many types of cancer, but in addition to eating healthily, exercise is also very important. You are already, likely, well aware that regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep your body and your health in great shape; many studies now show that exercise reduces breast cancer risk, significantly, as well.
Breast cancer is a serious epidemic affecting many women across the United States, with current statistics claiming that one in eight women are at a significant risk of developing the terrible disease. That is why it has become increasingly important to ensure that women not only protect their bodies by eating healthily, but also through regular exercise.
What is the Link Between Exercise and Breast Cancer
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercises, helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women due to how the body reacts to the increase of physical activity. Essentially, aerobic exercise causes the body to break down estrogen in a manner that encourages an increase in good metabolites to remain in the body’s system after estrogens are broken down. This link between breast cancer and exercise was revealed in a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Additionally, a research study conducted at the University of Minnesota also confirmed there is good cause to suspect that exercise reduces breast cancer. In this study, researcher Mindy S. Kurzer, Ph.D., tested 391 women, and the effects of both a sedentary lifestyle and a lifestyle with a regular regimen of exercise against the risks of breast cancer. Those who participated in a regular exercise routine consisting of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, for a period of five days a week over a four month period, were shown to have produced more metabolites which have been linked with a lower risk of breast cancer.
How Much Exercise is Necessary?
Several studies have shown that the risks of breast cancer can be reduced by approximately 40% with a proper exercise regimen. Any amount of regular exercise will help to improve the body’s overall health, but in regards to exercise and breast cancer, approximately 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week is optimal for a significant risk reduction.
Aerobic exercise can include jogging, walking briskly on a treadmill, riding a bike, or even just ensuring that you are physically active in one form or another throughout the day. However, research also suggests that the more vigorous the routine, the greater the reduction of risk.
Other Reasons Why Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Risks
Regular exercise also helps to control insulin levels and improve the production of immune cells that serve to eliminate dangerous pathogens and destroy cells that might otherwise become cancerous. Aerobic exercise improves the circulation of these cells, which enables them to move throughout the body more freely and enact a stronger defense against possible infection or harmful pathogens.
It is also important to note that, in addition to aerobic exercise, adding elements of strength training and stretching helps you to create a more healthy, balanced effect, affecting such aspects as hormone levels, energy, antioxidant production and defense, cardiovascular health, and other elements that lead to a strong, healthy body.
Breast Cancer and Exercise: Is it Safe to Exercise if You Already Have Cancer
It has been commonplace for many years for health officials and doctors to instruct that exercise should be avoided once cancer treatment has begun, as well as after treatment. However, recent studies reveal evidence to the contrary, claiming that not only is exercise recommended, but also that the absence of exercise can have a harmful effect on your overall health.
Studies conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School showed that breast cancer patients who continue to exercise during and after treatment can improve their strength and experience less fatigue; in essence, counteracting the side effects of cancer treatments.
In conclusion, a regular, well-rounded exercise regimen, along with eating healthily and getting proper sleep, will help to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as aid women in recovery from the debilitating effects of breast cancer treatment.
“This article reflects the opinions of the author and those of any of the source articles and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. None of this information is evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.”
- Chan, A. (2013, May 10). Exercise Is Protective Against Breast Cancer By Affecting Estrogen Metabolism: Study. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/10/exercise-breast-cancer-estrogen-metabolism_n_3231134.html. Accessed May 21, 2013
- Mercola, J. (2012, January 27). Simple Activity to Radically Decrease Breast Cancer Risk. Retrieved from http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/27/simple-activity-to-radically-decrease-breast-cancer-risk.aspx. Accessed May 21. 2013