10/04/2013 11:27 EDT | Updated 10/04/2013 11:28 EDT

Walking Benefits: An Hour Stroll Can Reduce Breast Cancer Risk


Women who walk for an hour a day can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 14 per cent, a new study suggests.

Findings also showed that women who exercised vigorously for an hour a day had a 25 per cent lower risk of breast cancer than the least active women in the study.

Yet, while prior research has revealed that an active lifestyle can reduce a woman's risk of the disease, the new study claims to be the first to focus on moderate exercises, such as walking.

Research from the American Cancer Society involved 73,615 postmenopausal women, of whom 4,760 were diagnosed with breast cancer during a 17-year followup. Factors such as weight, amount of time they spent sitting, and whether or not they used hormone replacement therapy did not appear to have an effect, researchers said.

"Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about how much activity they need to stay healthy," said lead researcher Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Without any other recreational physical activities, walking on average of at least one hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more."

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