October is a time to reflect on the lives lost to breast cancer. It is also a time to celebrate many survivors' road to recovery, and regain strength and momentum in the fight for a cure.
Exercise is an empowering way for families and friends of survivors to join together for the cause, with events such as the “Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day” and the “Race For the Cure” being held in many major cities.
It seems that physical activity is an appropriate way to celebrate surviving breast cancer, as research shows exercise can help in the prevention of the disease.
According to BreastCancer.org, “More and more research is showing that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) if you've been diagnosed, as well as reducing the risk of developing breast cancer if you’ve never been diagnosed.”
According to the American Cancer Society, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.”
To reduce these risks, the American Cancer Society recommends several forms of exercise inclusive of aerobic activity for cardiovascular training, strength training with weights and a flexibility component of Pilates, yoga or tai chi.
According to a study of 3,000 women from Long Island, NY as featured on ABCNews.com, “Women who engaged in 10 to 19 hours of at least mild exercise per week from their reproductive years on had about a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. The effects of physical activity were strongest among postmenopausal women, based on the data analysis.”
Cancer.gov echoes these findings stating, “Although a lifetime of regular, vigorous activity is thought to be of greatest benefit, women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also experience a reduced risk compared with inactive women.”
Cancer.gov also implied that for the prevention of breast cancer in younger generations, research suggests that starting early when it comes to exercise is beneficial.