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Breast Cancer and Exercise

October 2, 2013

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the 2nd leading cause of death among women. Each year over 200,000 women get diagnosed and unfortunately more than 40,000 will die from it. The great thing about these numbers is that they are declining each year thanks to better screenings, more awareness and improved treatment. A powerful weapon against breast cancer is exercise. According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle about 25% of all breast cancer cases could be prevented by maintaining a healthy body weight and regular physical activity

 Exercise doesn’t just help prevent breast cancer but can help you recover from it. According to the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, survivors who exercise after treatment report having less pain and fatigue and improved quality of life and daily functioning than those who do not. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking for cancer patients and survivors. Here are a few tips for survivors who would like to start an exercise program:

1. Talk to your doctor about your limitations.

2. Find a trainer that has experience or is certified to work with people who have cancer. Depending on treatment, certain exercises are not appropriate.

3. Contact your local wellness center or fitness facility to see if they have a cancer exercise program.

4. Start slowly and gradually increase how much you do.

5. Listen to your body. If your body is tired or sore, either do something less strenuous or stop exercising.

Exercise is a great tool to help fight off and cope with disease. It is not some magic potion that makes you immune but thousands upon thousands of studies point out that regular exercise can help with just about everything. During Breast Cancer Awareness month make it a point to get moving in the right direction with exercise because it just might help save your life.

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