A few summers ago, the NCI (National Cancer Institute) Cancer Center News released a story about a study done at The University of North Carolina that found that exercise may reduce risk for women diagnosed with breast cancer.
How does this work, exactly? According to the NCI,
Physical activity may prevent tumor development by lowering hormone levels, particularly in premenopausal women; lowering levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), improving the immune response; and assisting with weight maintenance to avoid a high body mass and excess body fat.
How often? It is suggested that people engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on 5 or more days per week. Before you spit your coffee out all over the screen and deny even the remote possibility of this ever happening, know that you CAN do this (Shining Moment). Let’s start with 3 easy-peasy ways…
Incorporating Exercise into Your Life
- Make the decision to adopt a physically active lifestyle.
- Set reasonable goals, e.g., “Exercise 15 minutes/day for the first week. Exercise 20 minutes/day for the second week.”
- Write down your daily activities.
- Begin slowly, but consistently
- Start doing something – ANYTHING – for 5 minutes. This will establish a positive habit to which you can build. 5 minutes becomes 10 minutes becomes 15. Walking can become running. Stretching can become resistance training.
- Commit with a friend
- By doing so you not only have accountability, but you also have motivation!
- One of the things that I especially love is when girlfriends want to catch up, they usually do so on the trails…talk about a double win-win!
Need specific suggestions? Well, try any one (or all!) of these:
- Instead of taking an escalator or elevator, take the stairs.
- Park at the far end of the grocery store parking lot and walk a little further.
- When waiting in line at a store, flex your abs for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- If you take a bus or subway, get off one stop before your destination and walk the rest of the way.
It’s really not rocket science. The big deal is actually DOING it. And if you’re still not convinced, there are some other Shining Moments:
- Exercise decreases and reverses stress
- Exercise is a mood enhancer! Whenever I get a little grumpy (oh yessssssss, it does happen!), the BOTY (Boyfriend of the Year) suggests that I go for a walk or hike because he knows that I’ll come home happier!
- It improves concentration and learning by increasing the brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn.
- Exercise helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints which as a woman of a certain age, ahem, I know that I need to think about these things.