Exercise may help improve posture and reduce breast cancer risk in women

Published on November 9, 2012 at 6:17 AM · 1 Comment

The end of the year is fast approaching and you know what that means: As soon as the calendar turns to 2013, you will be vowing to get physically active. But experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say with all the benefits you can glean, why wait until you make those New Year's resolutions to get active, especially if you are a woman?

Men are more likely than women to meet the federal guidelines for adults of at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. For women, increasing research is showing exercise may help reduce breast cancer risk, says Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine.

"Exercise as a means of preventing or reducing the risk of various cancers, particularly breast cancer, is important for two reasons: both the direct physical effects and the indirect effect, which is preventing or contributing to mechanisms that help prevent weight gain," Bamman says. He adds that when people gain weight, their cancer risk rises, too.

A reduction in breast cancer risk is not the only benefit associated with getting active, especially for post-menopausal women.

"The body shape of post-menopausal women is more likely to change due to the removal of hormone-specific profiles like estrogen," Bamman explains. "Unless they exercise regularly and watch what they eat, they will have a tendency to gain more abdominal fat, which is the most dangerous, and their body composition will become more apple-shaped — like a man's — instead of pear-shaped."

Bamman's suggestion for most post-menopausal women: a mix of endurance and resistance training, three to four days per week.

Another factor women need to consider is loss of bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis, says Retta Evans, Ph.D., UAB associate professor of health education. But — you guessed it — exercise helps here as well.

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Comments
  1. Dr Rhys Branman Dr Rhys Branman United States says:

    I cannot agree more hardily! WORKOUT! As a cosmetic surgeon, I often have to advise my patients to work out for a while before planning to have liposuction, breast reduction or other surgeries. Not only will exercise help with the very important health issues mentioned in this article, but exercise is imperative for quick recovery in elective procedures. So DO IT! *Winks*

    Dr Rhys Branman
    Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

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