About The Buzz: Exercise Lowers a Woman’s Breast Cancer Risk?

June 5, 2013

TheBUZZ Exercise lowers a woman’s breast cancer risk?

Aerobic activity may change the way a woman metabolizes the hormone estrogen which may lower her overall breast cancer risk.


According to BreastCancer.org, about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime and a man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Breast cancer death rates for women in the U.S. are higher than those for any other cancer, aside from lung cancer.¹ We know that gender, aging and genetics all affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer as well as being overweight or obese.²

A recent study is the first to show how aerobic exercise affects the way our bodies break down the hormone estrogen into the “good” metabolites that lower breast cancer risk.


The study included about 400 healthy, yet inactive young women. The participants were premenopausal, so their bodies were still producing the hormone estrogen. One group of women remained inactive while the other group participated in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 5 times per week over the course of 16 weeks. They used various exercise equipment including elliptical machines, stair steppers and treadmills to complete their exercise routines. Urine samples were collected before and after the study. Researchers found that the women in the exercise group had higher levels of the estrogen metabolites that reduce breast cancer risk in their urine compared to the inactive group of women.³


It is very important to perform monthly self-breast examinations and to see your health care provider immediately if you notice any changes in your breast tissue. You can also help reduce your risk of developing chronic disease by exercising and eating a balanced diet. Here’s how …


    • How Much? Get at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous physical activity per week.
    • Strength Training. Strength train at least 2 times per week.
    • The Gym. Fear you’re not motivated enough? Ask a buddy to join with you or try a few group classes. Most gyms offer a whole host of classes included with your membership from Zumba to kickboxing, Pilates and yoga!
    • Walking/Jogging. Start a walking or jogging club in your neighborhood, at work or at school.

Balance Your Diet

    • Food Groups. Enjoy and include foods from all of the food groups.
    • Nutrient-Rich Foods. Be food-fiscally responsible and boost your intake of nutrient-rich foods that offer the highest amounts of nutrients per serving. Calorie Comparison Chart
    • Half Your Plate = Fruits & Veggies. Remember, fill half your plate with fruits and veggies! It makes balancing your diet easier.

Be sure to check out our healthy meal planning guide for more weekly menu ideas and other ways to maintain a balanced diet.


¹ “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics.” BreastCancer.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013. View Article

² “What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?” Cancer.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013. View Article

³ Kurzer, Mindy S., William R. Phipps, Kathryn H. Schmitz, et al. “The Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Estrogen Metabolism in Healthy Premenopausal Women.” AACRJournals.org N.p., 7 May 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. View Article

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