October 2023

How Exercise Improves Breast Cancer Outcomes

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How Exercise Improves Breast Cancer Outcomes

Breast cancer affects millions of women’s lives every year - in fact, most of us can name at least one person we know who has been affected by this disease. That’s why we are so thankful and hopeful to see ample research published every year that helps us in our understanding and treatment as we race toward a cure. 

No matter where you land on the journey, as a friend, advocate, survivor, or current breast cancer warrior, we’re here to say that we see you, we’re here for you, and we’re so proud to walk with so many of our own Jazzercise Nation members as they bravely face this disease. 

Thankfully, this disease has garnered a lot of research and advancements over the last few decades. One of the major findings that has emerged from that research? Exercise is definitely a tool you can use to fight and fend off breast cancer. Here’s what we know. 

Exercise reduces your risk of breast cancer. 

MANY studies show a reduced risk of breast cancer in those who regularly exercise, especially in postmenopausal women. The American Cancer Society recommends 2.5-5 hours of moderate physical activity per week or 1-2 hours of rigorous physical activity per week. 

What’s the difference between the two types of exercise? Let’s break it down. 

Moderate physical activities include walking, slow dancing, or mowing the lawn. Vigorous physical activities include running, swimming, tennis, and upbeat dancing. 

The effect that regular exercise can have on your risk of a cancer diagnosis is significant. Studies have shown that women who exercise consistently are 10-20% less likely to develop breast cancer. This could be linked to keeping weight at healthy levels, lower estrogen levels, and stronger immune systems that are boosted by exercise. 

Exercise increases the chance of survival and decreases the chances of recurrence for breast cancer patients. 

Once you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the benefits of exercise only increase. 

A groundbreaking study published in 2020 found that even in patients with high-risk breast cancer (meaning it’s likely to recur or spread), those who exercised regularly were more likely to survive their diagnosis and less likely to have their cancer return. 

And the margins for those women are extremely hopeful! Women who exercised regularly had a 55% reduced chance of their cancer returning and a 68% reduced chance of death from any cause (not just breast cancer). 

Exercise helps breast cancer patients during treatment

For patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for their cancer, exercise offers a multitude of benefits that can make a huge difference in the experience and outcome of patients. 

First, exercise is strongly connected to your overall physical well-being. The healthier you are overall, the better your body will respond to cancer treatments. Cardiovascular exercises, especially, contribute heavily to strong heart, lungs, and organs. Also, increased muscle strength and flexibility are crucial components to a healthy body that will feel its best to fight breast cancer. 

The mental health benefits of exercise during treatment can’t be ignored. Countless studies link exercise with improved mood, higher energy, and lower levels of anxiety or depression. Patients undergoing cancer treatment are at a high risk of suffering from anxiety or depression, so exercise plays a pivotal role in countering that. 

Plus, some studies have shown that exercise may improve the efficacy of treatment overall. Its benefits for optimal oxygen delivery and blood flow help transport treatments to the cancer cells they fight. 

Exercise can provide community during your cancer journey

One of the most important components of fighting a cancer diagnosis is to feel a sense of support from your community. Group exercise classes, in particular, can help patients avoid a sense of isolation as they endure a difficult diagnosis and treatment plan. 

And even if a patient is too compromised to be in group settings, the encouragement and support of an online workout community and coaching can help alleviate loneliness and provide inspiration when needed most.

We hope you feel inspired and determined to give your body its best chance against breast cancer by incorporating exercise into your regular routine. We’ve got everything ready for you — the music, the leadership, the vibes, and a community ready and waiting for you to join us! Check out our closest location to you or explore our on-demand classes to get started.


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