About Breast Health

Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Growing evidence supports that there is a protective association between physical activity and breast cancer, preferably over a lifetime, but probably beneficial even if begun after menopause.

  • Regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer
  • Inactivity is estimated to cause 10-16% of all breast cancer cases1
  • Inactivity coupled with excess body weight account for nearly 33% of all breast cancer cases*,1

Women should:

  • Stay healthy and active
  • Engage in moderate exercise for at least 30-60 minutes every day

More Research on Physical Activity

“Nutrition and physical activity influence on breast cancer incidence and outcome”
Chlebowski RT
The Breast (2013); Vol 22 Suppl 2:S30-37

This study aims to provide a current perspective on nutrition and physical activity influence on breast cancer. The lifestyle factor most strongly and consistently associated with both breast cancer incidence and breast cancer recurrence is physical activity. Read More…

“Dose–response effects of aerobic exercise on estrogen among women at high risk for breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial”
Schmitz KH, Williams NI, Kontos D et al
Breast Cancer Res Treat (2015) 154:309–318

Women at elevated risk should be guided to include at least 150 and up to 300 min per week of aerobic exercise to reduce estrogen exposure and hormonally sensitive breast tissue. Read More…

“Exercise lowers estrogen and progesterone levels in premenopausal women at high risk of breast cancer”
Kossman DA, Williams NI, Domchek SM, Kurzer MS, Stopfer JE, Schmitz KH
J Appl Physiol 2011 Dec;111(6):1687-93

Exercise may offer high-risk women a way to reduce hormone levels and would improve their overall fitness (reducing weight, BMI, and body fat percentage, and increasing maximal aerobic fitness), making them better prepared physically and psychologically for the rigors of therapy that would follow a breast cancer diagnosis. Read More…

* The benefit of physical activity in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer is independent of the risk factor associated with body weight.
1: IARC (2002). IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Volume 6, Weight control and physical activity. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer.