Friday, October 16, 2009

Move for the Cure

If you're not getting enough exercise, here's a twofer that may provide the motivation you need: Not only do regular workouts cut your risk of breast cancer, but if you do develop the disease, having been active also substantially lowers the chances of the cancer's recurring.

The numbers are impressive: Physical activity reduces your odds of getting breast cancer by up to 30 percent, a review of 62 studies recently reported. As for a better prognosis, in a study of 1,225 women diagnosed with breast cancer (mean age: 56), those who had previously logged an average of at least 3.9 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week were 39 percent less likely to have their cancer return or spread than the women who had been the least active (clocking less than 1.4 hours a week of physical activity).

"Other studies show that it's important to keep moving after a diagnosis, too," says lead author Christin Friedenreich, Ph.D., of Alberta Health Services in Canada. "Exercise can help you avoid gaining weight, which improves your chances of survival."

This article was published in the Good Health section of October's Good Housekeeping.

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