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Nurse Health Study

Preventing breast cancer or decreasing your risk is a goal of many women and their loved ones.

New results from the Nurse's Health Study shows that vigorous exercise for 7 hours a week - such as brisk walking - was associated with 20% less incidence of breast cancer.


The Study

The Nurse's Health Study is following the lives and health of 121,701 registered nurses enrolled in 1976. The findings are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The nurses are surveyed every two years in this prospective study, which includes both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. The size of the survey and the fact that it is following women throughout their lives contributes to the integrity of its results.


How much walking and how vigorous?

The definition of brisk walking in the survey was walking 3 - 3.9 miles per hour. Walking faster was rated as very brisk. These were counted as "vigorous" physical activities. Walking at 3 to 3.9 miles per hour for most people is a rate where you may be breathing hard but would not be out of breath.

Time spent in vigorous physical activity was surveyed. The results showed fewer breast cancer diagnoses in those who engaged in vigorous physical activity for 7 hours a week or more.
The control group, by comparison, were those women who spent less than 1 hour a week in vigorous physical activity.

Other vigorous physical activities listed were jogging, running, bicycling, swimming, tennis and/or squash, calisthenics, aerobics, and use of a rowing machine.

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