When it comes to cancer, you want to use every weapon you’ve got. And while we don’t know the cause of all types of cancer, there are things we know can raise our risk – like not being physically active. But here’s the good news: Regular exercise can reduce your risk for many types of cancer – including breast cancer.
“Exercise can keep your hormone levels balanced,” says Healthy Lifestyles coach Jessica Hunter. “It also helps to decrease body fat and keep your insulin levels in control. All of those things can lower your cancer risk.”
How you move matters
The frequency and intensity of your activity might also play a role in cancer prevention.
“Regular cardiovascular workouts, where you’re breathing harder, may help prevent lung cancer by working to remove carcinogens from your lungs,” Hunter says. “Exercise also moves food through your digestive system, which keeps it healthy and may help ward off cancer.”
And you don’t need a complicated exercise routine to get the benefits. In fact, research shows that for women after menopause, just an hour of walking every day can slash your breast cancer risk by 14%.
Survivors benefit, too
Exercise isn’t just important for cancer prevention. It’s also important for cancer survivors. It may ease the side effects from treatment, like depression and fatigue. And research shows that regular activity can lower the risk of cancer returning.
And don’t forget: Exercise has plenty of other benefits as well.
“When people think about the benefits of exercise, they’re more likely to think about heart health than cancer prevention,” Hunter says. “But it’s good for your heart, your weight, for reducing stress and it helps lower your risk of cancer, too.”
Step all over cancer
Use the Healthy Lifestyles exercise and steps trackers to set a fitness goal and keep tabs on your activity.