Exercise Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer in Women Across the Globe

Physically active women 12 percent less likely to get breast cancer

If you needed just one more reason to exercise, researchers in France have discovered a good one—reducing the risk of breast cancer.

According to an article on NPR, any kind of exercise reduces the risk. It didn’t matter how much the women weighed, how old they were, when they began exercising, or what kind of exercise they did, any amount of exercise decreased the risk of breast cancer. More frequent and more intense exercise lowered the risk most, but every bit helped.

Researchers in France looked at studies that involved more than 4 million women around the world who participated in prospective studies from 1987 to 2013. They found that the more active a woman is, the better her odds of avoiding breast cancer. Women who were most active, with more than an hour a day of vigorous activity, got the most benefits, lowering their cancer risk by 12 percent.

There are studies out there that have said exercise can reduce the risk up to 25 percent. Unfortunately, the researchers say that their lower numbers are more accurate because they included more women in their analysis.

Despite identifying the correlation, they still don’t know why exercise helps reduce the risk. Some early guesses include hormone levels in those who exercise, inflammation is another possibility.

Women who were overweight or obese reduced their risk by 10 percent on average, according to the French research team. They said even those who began exercising after menopause lowered their risk. Furthermore, they said it is a very cheap way to potentially prevent breast cancer.

Reducing the risk of breast cancer is one more benefit on the seemingly endless list of reasons to exercise and it’s a great form of motivation. Always good news to know that every little bit helps.