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Post-menopausal breast cancer risk reduced by walking regularly

Posted Nov 02 2010 5:45am

News of research carried out by A. Heather Eliassen at Harvard is very welcome to post-menopausal women, many of whom live with a nagging anxiety that they might develop breast cancer.

Eliassen studied data from nearly 100,000 post-menopausal women and found that those who took a brisk hour-long walk every day reduced their chances of getting breast cancer by 15%.

It’s great to hear research like this, because it’s something where we can take control and empower ourselves in the battle against cancer. We read so much about breast cancer, and know that there are some factors we can’t do anything about, like our family history of the disease, or the ages at which we started our periods or had children.

But taking a brisk walk every day is very do-able. A ‘brisk walk’, means a speed of 3-4 miles an hour – so strolling and chatting with a friend isn’t enough. You need to get up a bit of speed and put some energy into it.

Realistically, you may not manage to do the recommended one hour, every single day. But I’m a great believer that ‘something is better than nothing’, so if you can only get the walk in every other day, or a couple of times a week, do it anyway. You’ll be benefitting your health in many other ways, by working your heart and circulation, helping keep weight gain at bay and lifting your mood. If you also give your body a boost when it comes to preventing cancer – even better.

The researchers also pointed out that you can get the benefits of regular walking even if you seldom took a step before menopause. It’s never too late to start exercising your body – it really isn’t. Treat yourself to a comfy pair of walking shoes and step it out. You’ll soon find that you look forward to that regular bit of exercise – it’s a fantastic habit to have.

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