Life Balance: Can Exercise Reduce a Woman’s Risk of Cancer?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 1st, 2015

Physical activity may reduce a woman’s risk of lung or breast cancer, according to a new study from Stanford University. As levels of physical activity increased, risk of lung cancer decreased.

A French study found that women engaging in vigorous physical exercise may reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as one-third.

Both studies were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. The Stanford study relied on data from the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term federally funded project that tracked the health of nearly 162,000 women 50 to 79 years of age at 40 U.S. hospitals.

Nurse ExerciseResearchers focused on about 132,000 postmenopausal women to see if their exercise levels had any effect on lung cancer risk or death. During nearly 12 years of follow-up, just over 2,200 women developed lung cancer and 1,400 women died from the disease.

Women who spent more minutes per week on the move were less likely to develop lung cancer or die from it.

The study looked only at minutes spent moving, not at intensity of movement. A minute of walking or mowing the lawn weighed the same as a minute jogging or lifting weights. Exercise didn’t need to be strenuous; a woman just has to put in the time.

Physical activity seemed to help smokers. Former heavy smokers and current smokers developed lung cancer and died from the disease less often if they were active, compared with sedentary women who smoked.

Overall, a sedentary woman who began engaging in four to seven hours a week of mainly vigorous physical activity seemed to reduce her risk of breast cancer by 31 percent.

We are running out of excuses women! We need to get moving! For more tips on how to balance your life mentally, physically and spiritually, visit my SelfCare for HealthCare website. How much could your staff improve from a little SelfCare? Let’s talk today!

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