On way that walking may reduce the risk of breast cancer, is by helping to reduce the amount of fat in the body. Since estrogen thrives in the adipose tissue, if we decrease the amount of fat, we can decrease the risk of an estrogen based breast cancer. Most breast cancers are hormonal.
Walking will help you control your weight. This is especially important since there is a clear correlation between obesity and breast cancer. Additionally, being over weight will also exacerbate other medical conditions.
Walking can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. And now there is research that suggests that exercise may reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence.
There are additional ways that walking may reduce breast cancer risk:
During exercise, epinephrine is released which helps natural killer cell infiltration.
Exercise may restore normal gene function and may influence tumor suppressing genes. There is a relationship between hypomethylation and hypermethylation and cancer cells.
Exercise reduces insulin, increases IGF-1, and decreases leptin
Exercise may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
In order to reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve overall health, I recommend that aerobic exercise be performed close to 7 days a week. Start with a moderate intensity activity such as walking. Aerobic exercise gets the heart rate up and for those who have not been exercising, walking is a good start. You should have a goal of increasing the walking sessions to at least 30 to 60 minutes almost daily. You can do it all at once or break it up in small amounts done throughout the day.
Here are some walking tips to get started and to help you to get the most out of a walking program:
1. Write down all the reasons to start a program: less fatigue, better mood, improved energy, feel better, etc. When you start to see the benefits of a walking program, it serves as positive reinforcement.
2. Schedule your walk in the morning and make that your priority before you start your day, That is a strategy that works for many of my clients. If you leave it for later in the day something might come up to interfere with your program.
3. Always start slowly and listen to your body eventually increasing the frequency, length, and intensity of your program. Make sure your walking program is fun. Walking with friends builds a social camaraderie. It provides friendship and support and motivates you to stick to a program.
4. How can you stick with your walking program? Starting a walking program is difficult, but so rewarding. It is a good idea to set goals. Some people derive great satisfaction in setting and then achieving goals. You can record your daily progress. This can be done with charts and graphs charts to record your progress and reward achievements. You will feel good about yourself when you achieve your goals.
5. A good approach is to have a walking friend. You will both reinforce each other and you will be accountable to each other.