Fit Perfect

The link between breast cancer and exercise

Women who exercise regularly prior to reaching the menopause are less likely to develop breast cancer, according to a recent study.

Similarly, taking up moderate exercise after going through the menopause can also lessen a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer in later life.

But you don’t have to run marathons to reap the benefits of exercise when it comes to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer – those surveyed who averaged 10-19 hours of moderate exercise per week were found to be one third less likely to have breast cancer than women with more sedentary lifestyles.

Researchers studied 1,500 women with breast cancer and 1,550 without, all of a similar age.  Lifestyle habits such as whether they smoked or drank alcohol were also taken into account in the study.

So it’s clear that there’s a link between exercise and reducing your risk of developing breast cancer, although the study is inconclusive as to the exact nature of that relationship.

It could be that reducing your body fat has a knock-on effect on factors within the body that feed the development of tumours, or the boost to the immune system that exercise offers might help to eliminate free radicals, which are damaging to healthy cells in the body.

But whatever the exact link, it’s clear that exercising is beneficial in preventing disease. Which is a pretty motivational thought, and worth pondering as the nights start drawing in and the sofa begins to hold more appeal than your exercise regime.