The human body was meant to walk more than sit around, so it’s no surprise that yet another study shows that walking cuts breast cancer risk in women after menopause.

American Cancer Society researchers found that breast cancer risk was lowered by 14 percent in postmenopausal women who walked at least seven hours per week, whether they were overweight or not.

The full report appears online (Oct. 4, 2013) in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

  • Over 73,500 postmenopausal women were studied, beginning in 1992.
  • Over the next 17 years, 4,760 of these women ended up with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Study Findings

Those who walked seven or more hours a week — but performed no other physical activity such as aerobics classes — had a 14 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, when compared to women who walked three or fewer hours every week.

Women who exercised in addition to walking had a 25 percent lower breast cancer risk, when compared to the least active subjects.

An Hour of Walking a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The paper points out that if a woman averages an hour a day of walking, this will “modestly” lower breast cancer risk, and that more rigorous and longer activity will lower the BC risk even more.

Further, the study showed that being overweight or even obese did not interfere with this benefit. Nor did HRT.

  • Moderate walking is defined as 3 mph.
  • Vigorous exercise means an increased heart rate and (usually) sweating.

Tips on Getting in at Least Seven Hours a Week of Walking

Get a Standard Treadmill

Throughout the day, hop on the treadmill for 10-minute walking segments. Do not hold on.

If you can set the treadmill near your TV, you’ll easily get in an hour of deliberate walking every day. But remember, it should be at least 3 mph — and keep your hands off the machine.

Get a Treadmill Desk

For computer work  you can use a treadmill desk and easily accumulate an hour a day of deliberate walking.

Walk Your Dog Longer

Or if you’ve been thinking of getting a puppy, now is the time.

No treadmill?

Commit to walking outdoors every day for at least 20 minutes.

Walk around the house during TV commercial breaks and when on the phone.

At work get up every hour and walk around the office for five minutes.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.