Regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy and fight off disease, but a study has now revealed that women of all ages can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by exercising regularly, and it is never too late to start.
Research was carried out in the United States by Dr Anne McTiernan and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson cancer Research Center in Seattle, and was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They looked at the lifestyles of 74,000 women. Those women who exercised regularly reduced their risk of developing the cancer by 20%.
Moderate exercise, like walking, cycling or swimming, five times a week had the greatest impact.
Dr McTiernan said that "We think that exercise works to lower cancer risk by lowering body fat, which in turn lowers the levels of circulating cancer-promoting hormones." This is why overweight women would not gain the same benefit. "So even if a woman is exercising, if she's overeating and her body fat stays high, she's not going to get the same cancer-fighting protection as a woman with less body fat." Therefore it is essential to eat healthily and stay within your weight limit to reduce your risk of developing disease.
Dr McTiernan suggested that women should aim to do moderate exercise 30 minutes a day. Those who do not exercise regularly should start off slowly and increase their physical activity over time.
Walking is a great form of moderate exercise. Try walking to the shops next time instead of taking the car. Everyone can benefit from increasing their physical activity; it's never too late to start.