How do I Exercise for Cancer Prevention?

healthy woman exercising by doing lunges in her home

The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is something that we wellness women live by. As it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm pleased to report that it's applicable to breast cancer too.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second-most fatal for women. Roughly 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime (source).
Besides eating healthy and practicing self-care, exercise is one of the best things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer. Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly have a lower rate of breast cancer than those who are not active. Although the exact mechanism hasn't been pinned down yet, exercise regulates insulin and estrogen. Those hormones contribute to the growth and spread of cancer. Exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight, which keeps our immune system healthy.
happy woman running at sunrise for her health

So how much exercise do we need?

To lower cancer risk, The American Cancer Society recommends around 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise throughout the week.
Gardening, brisk walking and golf are examples of moderate activity. Vigorous exercise includes running, swimming at the local pool or lake, aerobics at the gym or a game of soccer with friends.
Remember that another advantage of exercise is that you are not sitting. Being sedentary has been shown to dramatically increase the chances of developing breast cancer along with other ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
 
yoga is a moderate or intense exercise that protects against cancer

How do I get started with a more active lifestyle?

The most important part of being active is...being active! Find ways to incorporate movement into your everyday life, and take the time to explore different types of exercise. Find something that you really enjoy doing (mine are yoga and aerobics) and you'll naturally do it often. Also, consider these lifestyle changes:

  • Invest in a stationary bicycle or a treadmill to use when watching TV.

  • Take the stairs where possible.

  • Go for a walk on your lunch break.

  • Commute to work by bike.

  • Park your car away from the entrance of the store.

  • Wear a pedometer to keep track of your progress.

Incorporating exercise into your life will not just help reduce the chances of getting breast cancer. It also has many other health benefits such as helping with weight loss, maintaining a healthy heart, and reducing the chances of developing diabetes or heart disease. Remember, any exercise is better than no exercise. Every little bit helps.

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