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Breast Cancer Survivors Who Exercise May Live Longer

Exercise Linked to Longer Survival in Women with Breast Cancer

Doing the minimum amount of recommended exercise per week, 2.5 hours, both before and after being diagnosed with breast cancer with a high risk of recurrence is linked to better survival and a lower risk of recurrence. Regular exercise is an important part of being as healthy as you can be. More and more research shows that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back if you've been diagnosed, as well as the risk of developing breast cancer if you’ve never been diagnosed.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that adults should do:

  • At least 2.5 hours to 5 hours of exercise at moderate intensity per week; brisk walking is considered moderate intensity; or
  • 75 minutes to 2.5 hours of exercise at vigorous intensity per week; running or other high-intensity cardio is considered vigorous intensity.

The HHS also recommends that adults should do muscle-strengthening exercises 2 or more days per week. Even if you didn’t exercise before being diagnosed, the research shows that doing just 2.5 hours of brisk walking per week (about 20 minutes each day) after you completed treatment can help lower the risk of the cancer coming back and also can help you live longer.

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If you’re recovering from breast cancer treatment or are still in treatment, along with being busy with work, household chores, and family matters, finding time to exercise almost every day can seem impossible. It can help to break up your exercise into 20 or 30 minute sessions that add up to at least 2.5 hours per week. Walking is a great way to start. Try to walk 15 minutes before going to work and 20 minutes on your lunch break.

Visit the Breastcancer.org Exercise section for tips on exercising safely and how to stick to an exercise routine.

For more information on exercise and lowering recurrence after cancer read here: https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/exercise-improves-survival-and-reduces-risk

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