Thursday, October 22, 2015

Practical Steps to Prevent Breast Cancer: Day 2 - Be Physically Active

It's day two in our nine day series highlighting key steps and practical tips that can help women lower their risk of breast cancer. Previous days.  
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Day 2 - Be Physically Active



Exercise is as close to a silver bullet for overall good health as there is, and those benefits certainly extend to breast cancer. Women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a significantly lower risk of the disease than those who don’t. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check.


Tips and Tricks – Physical Activity

Choose activities you enjoy. When thinking about physical activity, it’s easy to conjure up unpleasant images: pained faces at the end of a marathon or grunting athletes at the gym. It’s no wonder exercise gets a bad rap. But, in reality, exercise can be really enjoyable. It’s just a matter of picking the right activity. Whatever gets you moving at a hard enough effort, counts towards your 30 minutes a day. The talk test is the best way to know if you’re going hard enough. If you can talk while you’re exercising, but can’t sing, that’s perfect. And there are a lot of activities that can put you right in that sweet spot - walking, cycling, dancing, playing tennis, even certain types of gardening and housework.

Make exercise a habit. There are good habits and bad habits. And if you’re like most folks, you have a mix of both. One thing that all types of habits share, though, is power. No matter how busy we get, or how crazy life is, we can almost always fit in our habits day in and day out. Making an effort to turn exercise into a habit can be a powerful tool in the fight against breast cancer and other serious diseases. So how do you do that? The best way is through consistency. Try going to the gym each day at lunchtime or taking a walk regularly after dinner. You may not always feel like doing it, but by doing it nevertheless, it’ll become ingrained into your day. Before you know it, a day won’t feel normal if you didn’t get in your walk, run, or trip to the gym.

Stay motivated by exercising with someone. Friends, family, and workout partners keep you honest. So one of the best ways to make sure you fit in your regular physical activity is to have a standing date to work out together a few days each week. It can be a lunchtime walk, a spin class, or a ballroom dancing class. The most important thing is to set the date and keep it. If you don’t, you’re likely to hear about it.

Get a pedometer and shoot for 10,000 steps each day. If you’re looking for a great way to stay motivated, it’s hard to go wrong with setting a goal of getting 10,000 steps each day. This has become a standard for a healthy activity level and includes all the steps you take – at work, at home, at the park, at the grocery store. To get started, all you need to do is buy an inexpensive pedometer (good ones start at $10), put it on at the beginning of each day, and keep moving until is ticks over 10,000. You’ll be surprised how that simple little plastic pedometer can keep you on track with your exercise goals.

Do healthy activities with your kids. Life with little kids can be exhausting and leave very little time for regular exercise. One of the best ways around this is to do healthy, activities with your kids. Whether it’s riding bikes together, going for a run with them in the jog stroller, or just playing tag at the park – the important thing is that you get your exercise, and the kids do, too. Together, you build a fantastic family habit of activity and exercise.

Next Steps – Physical Activity

Looking for more in-depth information on physical activity? Here are some good sources:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
http://goo.gl/AMexBS

ChooseMyPlate.gov
http://goo.gl/Yv0wMM

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