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Brisk Walking Can Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

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Women who exercise, who are physically active, are less likely to get breast cancer.

But is it exercise after menopause that matters, or do you have to be active throughout your life to see a benefit? And how much is enough to make a difference?

These important questions have been answered by the Women's Health Initiative study.

Stay active to stay healthy. That's because exercise lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. It helps you feel better and sleep better.

It's also an easy way to lower your risk of breast cancer. That's the latest news from the Women's Health Initiative study.

Researchers tracked more than 74,000 postmenopausal women for nearly five years. They used detailed questionaires to study the link between activity level, both past and present, and breast cancer risk.

Their findings, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are encouraging. Staying active now does make a difference later.

Compared to women who were less active, those who had regular strenuous exercise when they were 35 cut their risk of breast cancer by 14 percent.

While a history of exercise offered protection, current exercise did even more good, cutting the risk of breast cancer by 18 percent.

And how hard did they have to workout? That brings even more good news. Women only had to exercise at a moderate intensity.

That's walking briskly, like you're rushing to a meeting, thirty minutes a day, five days a week.

What's more, brisk walking reduced the risk even among women using hormone therapy, a group known to be at increased risk of breast cancer.

The take home message-- stay active. Set a goal and try to get at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

If you can do more, great! You'll get even more health benefits.

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