by: Olinda RolaBreast cancer statistics show that over 1.2 million persons will be diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide this year, according to the World Health Organization. For breast cancer and prevention, it has long been known that regular physical activity has been shown to decrease the likelihood of having breast cancer. What has not been known or studied has been the effect of regular physical activity on the breast cancer survival rates or likelihood of death in women that already have breast cancer. That is, until now.
The breast cancer statistics and findings as reported by the American Medical Associations Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in May 2005 were astounding! Certain participants in the study of women with Stage I, II or III breast cancer achieved a 50% reduction in the death rate from breast cancer.
Here are these breast cancer statistics: the journal reported that in the study 2,987 female registered nurses had been diagnosed with breast cancer during the years 1984-1998. What the study found was that the women who had physical activity equivalent to walking at a steady pace of 2.0-2.9 miles per hour for 3-5 hours a week had a death rate of only 50% of the death rate of women who had physical activity equivalent to walking less than one hour a week. The conclusion of the breast cancer statistics in the study was that physical activity after breast cancer has been diagnosed may reduce the risk of death from breast cancer. The study found that there was little evidence of any relation between increased physical activity and increased benefit.
It’s time to dust off those walking shoes!
As a physical activity, walking can be done almost anytime by anyone anywhere. All that is needed is a good pair of walking shoes. Walking is fun and reduces stress. As for injuries, walking has the lowest injury rate of all the various kinds of exercise.
You can walk with a partner, friend, family member or dog, maybe even a neighbors dog. Or you can walk with your favorite headset and music. If you are walking outdoors with a headset, keep one ear open to hear the sounds around you.
As for basic walking tips:
· As you begin regular walking, take it easy. Standard advice is to check with your physician before starting any exercise program. If it has been years or decades since you walked regularly, perhaps you can begin with 5 minutes of walking and slowly increase your time and distance.
· Walking at a pace of 75–95 steps a minute will have you walking at a speed of about 2-3 miles per hour.
· Walk with your head up, looking out in front of you. Do not walk looking down right in front of you except to navigate any obstacles.
· Really take it easy the first 5 minutes of walking to warm up. Afterwards, gently stretch for 5–10 minutes while your muscles are warm.
· Practice good walking form. Your arms should swing naturally in the direction you are walking, not from side to side across your body. Your foot should strike the ground on your heel, then a rolling motion forward toward the ball of your foot, then pushing off with your toes.
And here are some basic walking shoes tips:
· Buy your walking shoes from a sporting shoes store with large selections. Doing so will give you plenty of choices. And buy your walking shoes later in the day when your feet will be larger.
· Buy cushioned, supportive walking shoes. To see if a shoe is supportive, do this test: take a shoe and turn it upside down. Holding each end of the shoe, try to fold it. If you find the shoe bends in the middle, then that shoe is not a supportive shoe. A supportive shoe should bend where your foot normally bends, near your toes.
· You should allow the width of your index finger between the end of your shoe and the end of your longest toe, or about one-half inch.
· Buy two pairs of walking shoes, one for home and one for the car or workplace. And if one pair gets wet, you can use the other pair that day.
Walking is the closest thing to the perfect exercise. In today’s fast-paced society, regular walking can be a welcomed break from the stress of the day. Maybe you will get to know your neighborhood or neighbors better. There may be walking trails you have never seen but wanted to.
Wherever and however you choose to walk, not only can the experience be fun, you will know you are being good to your body in a variety of ways. Besides the incredible breast cancer statistics and findings of the breast cancer study, walking helps with weight control and bone strength, elevates mood, helps build and maintain healthy muscles, joints and heart. With so many great health benefits, why not get started walking today!