Can you carve out an hour out of your day to take a walk? According to the findings of a new study, women who walk for one hour a day can lower their risk of having breast cancer by 14 percent.
There have been several studies linking vigorous exercise and an active lifestyle with reduced risk of breast cancer in women, but this research, conducted by the American Cancer Society, claims to be the first to study the effect of moderate exercise on the disease.
About the Study
In the study – published in the October issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention – the researchers analyzed 73,615 post-menopausal women with an average age of 63. Approximately nine percent of the women were not active and partook in no physical leisure activity, while 47 percent reported walking as the sole form of exercise.
During the 17-year follow-up, 4,760 of the women studied were diagnosed with breast cancer. Women who walked for at least one hour a day were 14% less likely to have developed breast cancer, and women who engaged in strenuous exercise saw their risk lowered by 25 percent. Other factors, such as time spent sitting, use of hormone replacement therapy and weight, did not appear to affect the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Implications of the Findings
For post-menopausal women who may not be physically able to do strenuous exercise or have especially active lifestyles for whatever reason, these findings show that the risk of breast cancer can evidently still be reduced through moderate exercise like walking. According to lead researcher Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia:
“Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about 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.”
Incorporate Walking into Your Routine
Whether you’re looking to lower your risk of breast cancer of just stay fit and healthy, walking is excellent, safe exercise to do at any age – and all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. An hour walk may be too much to do at once, so try taking a few shorter walks throughout the day. Instead of driving to do nearby errands, consider walking instead. If you can find a friend who likes walking too, plan regular walks together to keep each other motivated.