A study has found that women who exercise on a regular basis for four years after menopause could reduce their risk of breast cancer.
Women who undertook moderate exercise experienced a 10% decline in risk, however those who did not exercise at all experienced no benefit.
The study discovered that even low exercise levels, such as gardening, walking or playing with children, is sufficient to have an effect on the risk level, if done on a regular basis.
Statistically, post-menopausal women are at higher risk of breast cancer, particularly those who go through this period later in life.
In Britain, the average age for a woman to reach the menopausal period is 51, but there are those that experience it during their 30s or 40s.
During the study, researchers analysed questionnaire data submitted by about 60000 women who participated in a French cancer study for a period of eight years. Of these, 2155 received a breast cancer diagnosis.
The diagnosis level was 10% lower among women who had done regular exercise for the last four years. There was no decreased risk for those who had regularly done exercise five to nine years before, but had stopped since.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Sally Greenbrook said that it does not mean you have to go to the gym or go running, anything that raises your pulse will allow you to benefit.
She said that since breast cancer is common among post-menopausal females, it is good to see evidence which supports the recommendation that physical activity in this particular age group is beneficial.
This study is the first to illustrate how rapidly the link between exercise and decreased risk can commence after the start of regular exercise and how fast it is alleviated if exercise is terminated.
The 37 studies done over 26 years indicated that regular exercise could reduce the breast cancer risk in females of all ages by about 12%.
Image Credit: Rance Costa