Gardening and regular walks could lower breast cancer risk, experts say.
One study found that light physical activity — including housework and cooking — was associated with a 21 percent reduced chance of getting the disease.
Women who engaged in five hours and 45 minutes of gentle exercise each day benefited from the reduced risk.
Experts say this is also easily achievable for working professionals as they commute to and from work, go for walks during their lunch break, and do evening activities like chores.
A quarter of the 48,000 women studied completed this much light exercise per day.
One study found that light physical activity — including housework and cooking — was associated with a 21 percent reduced chance of getting the disease
Women who engaged in five hours and 45 minutes of gentle exercise each day benefited from the reduced risk
Participants were asked to go about their lives while wearing a fitness tracker for a week.
They were then contacted after an average of five and a half years, during which 836 had developed breast cancer.
Those who exercised the lightest were 21 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than the women who exercised the least – less than four and a half hours a day.
The results, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, showed unusually that light activity – which does not cause sweating or shortness of breath – can protect against breast cancer.
Lead author Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales, from the University of Glasgow, said: “It’s further proof that every step counts and things like gardening or commuting can make a difference.”
dr Julie Sharp, Head of Health and Patient Information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Being active is a great way to help us maintain a healthy weight, which reduces the risk of 13 different types of cancer.
“There is also evidence that getting plenty of exercise can directly prevent breast cancer.
“The NHS recommends 150 minutes of activity a week – but it’s okay to build up activity over time.
“Any exercise is better than none, and the more you do, the better.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a brisk walk with a friend, riding your bike, or even doing housework.
“Anything that makes you warmer, slightly out of breath and gets your heart pumping counts.”
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