ISLAMABAD: Older women who take regular walks are less likely to get breast cancer than their less-active peers, according to a new study.
American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers found postmenopausal women who walked for at least one hour each day had a 14 percent lower chance of getting breast cancer than infrequent walkers.
More vigorous exercise was tied to an even lower risk, Fox News reported.
“The exciting piece about this is that you don’t need to be a marathon runner to lower your risk of breast cancer,” Alpa Patel, the study’s senior author, said.
“Just going for a one-hour walk a day could have a significant impact on lowering your risk,” Patel, a senior epidemiologist at ACS in Atlanta, added.
For the new study, the researchers used data on about 74,000 women between the ages of 50 and 74.
Beginning in 1992, the women were asked questions about their health, medications and exercise habits. They also reported how much exercise they got in 1999, 2001 and 2005.
Between 1992 and 2007, about 6.5 percent of all women in the study were diagnosed with breast cancer.
The researchers found that women who walked at a moderate pace for at least seven hours each week were 14 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, compared to those who walked for three hours or less each week.
The difference translates to roughly one fewer woman in 1,000 getting breast cancer each year.
“When we talk about moderately paced walking, we’re talking about a pace of about three miles per hour,” Patel said.
Her team also found women who exercised more vigorously for at least seven hours per week were about 25 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, compared to women who participated in those activities less often.
Patel said that walking and vigorous exercise were tied to a reduced breast cancer risk even among women who were overweight or taking hormone therapy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week.
Alternatively, it recommends at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
He pointed out that sitting was also tied to a woman’s risk of breast cancer in the study.”The more you sit, the higher the likelihood of you developing cancer,” he said. “So of course we encourage people to be as active as they can.”