Breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

The recently released report that walking lowers the risk of breast cancer presents yet another great reason to take up walking as a form of exercise.  We all know that walking is beneficial for weight loss, control of osteopenia, better sleep, stress reduction and improved energy.  Now a study published by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention presents encouraging evidence that  “physical activity, even including walking, reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer . . . by changing how the body deals with estrogen.”  This study is released very appropriately during the month of October when we celebrate breast cancer awareness.  This is an opportune time to present information on encouraging results to lift the spirits and give hope to the army of women and their supporters in the battle against breast cancer.

The researchers used a large database maintained by the American Cancer Society that included health and medical information for almost 74,000 post-menopausal women, ages 50-73, who had enrolled in the study in the 1990s and completed followup questionnaires biennially.  The questionnaires focused, in part, on descriptions of time spent on both leisurely activities and exercise.  While some of the study participants were very active, many playing tennis, swimming or running, the majority of the women walked, generally at a stroll or pleasant pace of approximately three miles per hour.

The study results show that 4,760 of the study participants developed breast cancer.  Interestingly, the research results indicate that women who walked at least seven hours per week at an average of one hour per day had a 14 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer “than those who walked for fewer than three hours per week.”  Additionally, the women who were the most active (engaged in vigorous activity for up to 10 hours a week), realized a 25 percent less risk of developing breast cancer than the study participants who exercised the least.  It is important to note that these risk reductions were not affected or altered by factors, such as being overweight or on hormone replacement therapy.

This study comes with a caveat in that some of the women who walked everyday did develop breast cancer, and some of the study participants who did not exercise never developed breast cancer.  These findings indicate that more investigation is warranted.

One thing is clear, and that is walking as a form of daily exercise, regardless of pace, is very beneficial in the reduction of breast cancer in women.  This is a call to all of my sisters, regardless of age to get out and walk for your life, health and happiness.  To do so is to live green, be green!


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