The Exercise - Breast Cancer Link


For some, October is all about fall colors and preparing for the upcoming holidays. For others, October is the time of year when mothers, daughters, sisters and friends who have battled breast cancer are celebrated and advocated for. National Breast Cancer Awareness month is not only about creating awareness but raising funds that contribute to research its’ causes, treatments, prevention and ultimately a cure.

According to, one in every eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That means that if you are not directly affected by this disease chances are, someone you’ve worked with, gone to school with or even walked by in the grocery store will be.

Research shows that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by twelve percent and reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by a staggering forty percent. It’s those statistics that make it so important to share information on the positive link between exercise and breast cancer.


How Does Exercise Reduce Your Risk

Maintaining physical activity impacts the growth and advancement of breast cancer.

  • Research shows that physically active women have a 12% reduced risk of developing breast cancer than inactive women.
  • Exercise reduces inflammation and improves immune function.
  • Exercise lowers hormones like insulin and estrogen that contribute to the development and progression of breast cancer.

How Does Exercise Improve Recovery

Resuming physical activity after a breast cancer diagnosis impacts recurrence and survival.

  • Exercise helps with weight management; gaining weight during or after breast cancer treatment increases the chance of recurrence and decreases survival rates.
  • Exercise reduces the fatigue and depression associated with medical treatments of cancer.
  • Exercise improves overall body image, quality of sleep, self-esteem and emotional well-being.

How Much Exercise Is Recommended

The Department of Health & Human Services recommends:

  • One hundred and fifty minutes per week of moderate-intensity, aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking.
  • Seventy-five minutes per week of vigorous-intensity, aerobic physical activity such as swimming laps.
  • Two days of strength training each week that involves major muscle groups.

There are several healthy lifestyle habits that can impact breast cancer risks as well as survival rates. However, researchers agree that exercise is one of the best lifestyle habits to incorporate at any stage. Regardless of your familial history or your health status, creating and maintaining regular physical activity has a positive effect on the prevention of and recovery from breast cancer.

Did You Know:

  1. No two breasts are exactly the same; one is typically a fifth larger than the other.
  2. When exercising, breasts move up and down 4-15 inches in a figure eight pattern.
  3. The very first sports bra was created in 1977 using two jock straps.

[ Model: Angel Scott, Photographer: Southwell Photo, Make Up: Kyler Ellese ]