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Breast Cancer and Exercise

A healthy lifestyle combining nutrition and exercise can be beneficial in reducing breast cancer risks in some women.The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC ) reported in 2009 and 2010, more than one-third of adults in the United States were obese. With a definitive relationship established between increased body weight/weight gain and breast cancer among women, the benefits of regular exercise play an important role in the fight against breast cancer.

Battling weight to battle cancer

Unfortunately for women, weight gain causes not only a tighter waistband but also an increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. A recent studied by the Institute of Cancer Research reported that among women fighting breast cancer, obese women usually have higher estrogen levels than women who are not obese. Since many breast cancers need estrogen to grow, doctors tend use hormone-blocking treatments. Treatment may include a drug such as an aromatase inhibitor, which is a hormone-suppressing drug. It is possible however; weight loss through exercise and nutrition also may be beneficial when attempting to reduce estrogen levels in breast cancer patients and those at risk for breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages regular, intentional physical activity or exercise to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Regular exercise also may reduce the risk of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. The ACS guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes (two and one-half hours) of moderately intense exercise/activity per week, 75 minutes (one hour and fifteen minutes) of vigorously intense exercise/activity per week or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise spread throughout a seven-day period.

Types of exercise

Women’s health and wellness routines must include some levels of exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, especially when fighting breast cancer. Incorporating moderate and even intense exercise into a daily routine doesn’t have to be costly or stressful.

Moderate exercise should raise your heart rate, cause you to sweat yet you should still be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath. Inexpensive ways to exercise moderately include taking a brisk/fast walk through your neighborhood or local park, pushing a lawn mower or riding a bicycle.

Vigorous exercise makes you breathe harder and it may be difficult to hold a conversation while exercising. Examples include jogging, playing a game of basketball, soccer or tennis and swimming laps (not leisurely swimming, concentrated strokes to raise the heart rate.)

Gardening, playing with your kids and household chores such as vacuuming and mopping are other ways simply to get moving. Every time you get up and do something active, you are helping your overall health. Reducing sedimentary habits can help fight weight gain as well.

In addition, it’s important to remember to eat nutritionally balanced meals that do not exceed recommended daily caloric intake. If you’re not sure what your caloric intake should be, talk to your doctor. Before beginning any exercise routine it is important to talk first to your doctor to determine what is best for your health.

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