More than 60 studies agree that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Overall, the studies report that getting at least 30 minutes per day of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity reduces risk. More exercise — in terms of both time and intensity — is even better.
The key to adopting an active lifestyle is choosing activities that make you happy, advises Rubie Sue Jackson, MD, a breast surgeon at the Fortney Breast Center. “If you adopt something that fits naturally into your lifestyle and you find it enjoyable, there’s a much better chance that you’ll stick with the activity long term.”
Here are a few tips to help increase activity and decrease your risk for breast cancer:
- If your destination is in the neighborhood, walk or bike instead of driving.
- Join a recreational sports team, which serves as both physical activity and a social event.
- Add a walk or stretches to your lunch routine.
- Track your steps with a pedometer, smartphone app or fitness tracker. The general goal is 10,000 steps daily.
- Consider an active vacation that includes biking, hiking, walking tours, scuba diving or whatever gets you moving with a smile.
“Studies tell us that postmenopausal women benefit the most from weight control in terms of decreasing breast cancer risks. So it’s really never too late to get up and get active,” Dr. Jackson stresses.