Double weekly exercise to reduce breast cancer risks

Regular exercise has a diverse range of health benefits; most markedly disease prevention. A new study has uncovered a link between consistent exercise and a lower risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.

For overall health it is widely recommended that adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 60-75 minutes of high intensity physical activity each week.

However, according to this latest study, led by Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Edmonton, Canada, the recommended amount of exercise each week may need to be increased in order for it to be an effective strategy in disease prevention. Friedenreich explains that the amount of time dedicated to moderate intensity exercise each week needs to increase to 300 minutes rather than the previously recommended 150 minutes. It was found that doubling the amount of weekly aerobic exercise is significantly more beneficial for reducing body fat; an associated risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

For the study, two groups of previously inactive postmenopausal women undertook an exercise program in which one group engaged in 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week while the other group participated in 300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.

The results showed that the average reductions in total body weight were one kilogram greater in the group who engaged in 300 minutes of exercise than in the 150-minutes group. Decreases were also found in BMI, waist circumference, abdominal fat and waist-to-hip ratio in the 300-minute group.

Friedenreich concludes that this finding is significant as body fat is associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. It is hoped that this finding will encourage postmenopausal women to exercise for at least 300 minutes each week rather than the previously recommended 150 minutes

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