Walking Greatly Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Results from a new study show that it doesn’t take much to cut your chances of getting cancer.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

If you needed one more study to prove that exercise—even something as simple as walking—is good for you, here it is: Walking can reduce one’s breast cancer risk by as much as 14 percent.

The research comes just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month and adds to increasing evidence that physical activity can help prevent breast cancer in women.

The large study followed more than 73,000 post-menopausal women for 17 years to determine whether engaging in moderate exercise proved to be just as beneficial as vigorous exercise. At the start of the study, 9.2 percent of women said they were not physically active at all, and 47 percent said walking was their only form of activity.

At the end of the study, researchers found that among the cohort of women who only walked, those who walked at least seven hours per week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three or fewer hours.

As expected, women who were physically active reduced their risk of breast cancer by 25 percent compared with those who did not engage in physical activity whatsoever. Researchers noted that the associations did not differ by hormone receptor status, body mass index, weight gain, or postmenopausal hormone use.

“Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about how much activity they need to stay healthy,” said Dr. Alpa Patel, American Cancer Society’s lead researcher, in a statement.

He added, “Given that more than 60 percent of women report some daily walking, promoting walking as a healthy leisure-time activity could be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity among post-menopausal women.”

So there you have it: Something as simple as walking for one hour a day can have major health benefits.

The full study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention