By: Elizabeth Kane for Uterus1
A study published in the October, 2008 issue of the journal Breast Cancer Research links vigorous physical activity to a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in women. The most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the United States is breast cancer. With more cases of breast cancer reported every year, there has been an increased focus on breast cancer treatment and prevention. Results of this study contribute to the fight against breast cancer and give information to protect against postmenopausal breast cancer.
|How to Get Active:|
Seek out a vigorous activity that you enjoy.
Maintain a routine of engaging in physical activities that work best for your body.
Ask your doctor for exercise suggestions at your next regular visit.
If you are out of shape or overweight, start slow to avoid injury.
Approximately 32,000 women in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project Follow-up Study participated in the research process leading to these significant findings. Levels of physical activity of women were separated into five categories ranging from no vigorous physical activity to maximum vigorous physical activity. The link between reduced postmenopausal breast cancer and physical activity is due to the vigorous physical activity compared to the less intense forms of physical activity studied. Factors such as age at first childbirth, age at menopause, history of oral contraceptive use and menopausal hormone therapy did not contribute significantly to the findings. The one factor reported as significant was body mass index (BMI). Reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in association with vigorous physical activity was shown among lean women and normal weight women.
One question a woman might ask herself is how these findings can make a difference in her life. Breast cancer is a major threat for women and every piece of information helps to protect against it. Women, especially with a BMI categorizing them as either “lean” or “a normal weight” may view vigorous physical activity from a new perspective considering the association of decreased risk of breast cancer. The study shows a link between vigorous physical activity and reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, but what exactly defines vigorous physical activity?
Activities measured in the study include occupational, household, recreational and sporting activities. These types of activities ranged from moderate to vigorous in their intensities. Moderate activity consists of many everyday tasks and leisure sports such as doing laundry, light gardening, vacuuming, walking, hiking and bowling. While some of these may seem to be great sources of exercise, they do not constitute vigorous physical activities. The more vigorous activities included washing windows, digging while gardening, chopping wood, running, intense bicycling and aerobics. To reduce the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer it may be time to take on more intense projects in the garden, replace walking with running, or add some intense bicycling after bowling a few games. If you aren’t currently engaging in regular, vigorous activity make some time in your schedule to do so. Beyond the studied breast health benefits, regular exercise contributes to your overall physical health and mental well being.
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