5 Ways Exercise Helps Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

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Kelly Ko |

Woman on ProSourcefit yoga mat and ProSourcefit yoga block

We all have that inner voice telling us to love and care for ourselves. Yet, we often succumb to habits, laziness (sorry ladies, you know that's true!) and resist change.  This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we're highlighting the role any form of physical activity plays in breast cancer prevention. If you're in need of a nudge to start your healthy life journey, we hope you can find some inspiration: one lunge, squat, stretch or plank at a time. 

The Important Correlation between Exercise and Reducing Risks of Breast Cancer

Exercise is only one aspect of breast cancer prevention, but when integrated with healthier dietary and lifestyle choices, you have the power to control your life.  Let's look at why being physically active helps prevent cancer. 

Healthy Weight Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy weight is key to lowering your risk of breast cancer whether you are premenopausal or postmenopausal because it decreases the harmful effects of obesity.  Obesity is associated with an alarming 25-50% relative increase in breast cancer.  It is recommended that you have 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week

Biological Effects:

Exercise of any form not only provides numerous health benefits, it also has biological effects on the body which have associations with certain cancers.  According to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer institute, the points below explain the specific correlation between exercise and breast cancer prevention:

  1. Decreases the development of insulin resistance, a factor that doubles the risk of breast cancer when at high levels especially in postmenopausal women
  2. Lowers the levels of breast cancer inducing estrogen: most breast cancers have a large number of estrogen receptors and need estrogen to feed their growth.  Estradiol, 1 of the 16 forms of estrogen is produced mainly in fat and is most aggressively linked to breast cancer multiplication especially in postmenopausal women
  3. Reduces inflammation- according to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences, inflammation:
    • Activates a protein molecule that triggers tumor progressions 
    • Increases a protein-lowering molecule that repairs DNA. This in turn ups the chance of spontaneous gene mutations that raise the risk of cancer
  4. Improves immune system function: This is particularly relevant to the lymphatic system that helps prevent the spread and growth of disease-causing organisms in your body


Whether it's gentle yoga, a brisk walk or even a simple daily stretching/workout sequence, it helps boost your body's excretory system:  the blood, lymph, bladder, kidneys, and intestines.  Maintaining a healthy excretory system is crucial to staying cancer free.  It ensures cancer-causing toxins and waste are being cleared out of your body more efficiently.  By detoxing your body regularly, the fewer toxins there will be in your system and the more amazing you will feel!

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Conscious Lifestyle Development:  

Regular exercise rewires your brain to develop a more health-conscious lifestyle.  Over time, you will start to adopt a healthier lifestyle by becoming more aware of food choices and water intake.  This new way of thinking increases the probability of eliminating pro-inflammatory elements such as dairy, processed foods and excessive alcohol consumption

The O2 Boost: 

Exercise boosts energy levels by improving your body’s circulation and oxygen delivery to your cells. With consistency and time, your heart, lungs, and muscles are strengthened and will work more proficiently

We hope the 5 exercise benefits and its relationship with breast cancer prevention inspires you to be the healthiest you can be.  For some exercise tips to get you going, check out Train Together, Stay Together: 9 Fun Ways for Couples to Workout and Connect for fun couple workouts or if you prefer working out alone, here are some wonderful yoga poses you can do at home Morning Yoga Poses To Start Your Day Off Right.  Remember, self-empowerment is crucial in developing a healthy life you feel in control of.  Embark on your journey to becoming the healthier you and reap the benefits of exercise while reducing risks of breast cancer today!



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