Researchers from the American Cancer Society have found that moderate physical activity – like walking can lower the risk of breast cancer by 14% in postmenopausal women.

“Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about how much activity they need to stay healthy. Without any other recreational physical activities, walking an average of at least one hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more,” said study researcher Alpa Patel, Ph.D.

The findings are based on data from nearly 73,000 postmenopausal women. The participants were studied for a period of 17 years – by the end of the study 4,760 women had developed breast cancer. Almost half of the women in the study said that walking was the only recreational exercise they did. Researchers found that walking paid off – those women who walked 7 hours a week had a 14% lower breast cancer risk, versus those who walked three or less hours a week.

Vigorous exercise proved to be even better, with a 25% lower risk of breast cancer compared with those who exercised the least.

Said a study researcher, “Current guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for overall health. Yet, less than half of U.S. adult women are active at these minimum levels, and thus an even smaller proportion of women likely achieve the higher levels thought necessary for breast cancer risk reduction. Given that more than 60% of women report some daily walking, promotion of leisure-time walking may be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity among postmenopausal women.”     huffpost   10/4/13

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