28 October, 2022

With 2022 coming to an end, are you wanting to get fit, but don’t know where to start? There are tons of ways you can get fit, many at home and very cheaply, just by making a few basic changes!

By being physically active you can reduce your risk of breast cancer by around 20-30%. Physical activity also reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality following a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s thought that physical activity helps lower the levels of certain circulating hormones and reduces inflammation, which can help lower the likelihood of cancer developing and progressing.

For general health and well-being, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 150 -300 minutes of moderate, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous, physical activity weekly. If possible, we recommend doing 300 minutes of moderate or 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity, as this will help reduce your breast cancer risk even more. But if this isn’t possible – do as much as you are able to do, as any amount is beneficial! The WHO also recommends you do muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate or greater intensity that involves all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.

If you’re unable to do structured exercise, then try to build physical activity into your daily life. Simple lifestyle changes can really make a difference. Here are a few suggestions:

Sporty challenges

We couldn’t do our work without your generous support! Whether that’s fundraising or taking part in one of our challenges, you make our work possible. Our challenges consist of runs and marathons, cross-fit challenges, treks, cycle challenges, and even a husky trail! So, why not check out one of our challenges and put yourself to the test?

Yoga and Pilates

We’re big fans of yoga and Pilates at Breast Cancer UK! Whether you do it at home from YouTube videos or at a local studio, the beauty of yoga and Pilates is that you don’t have to be experienced to reap the benefits. Whether you are young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. After a few sessions you’ll find you feel better from the stretching and core work that you do – but also more relaxed and less stressed.

Go on a walk once a day

Being active helps keep your weight under control, which plays a significant role in lowering your breast cancer risk if you are a woman who has reached menopause or if you’re male. One study found as little as an hour of walking per week helps improve survival rates if you have breast cancer, with maximum benefits found in women who walked for 3-5 hours per week. So, why not build a daily walk into your day such as before work, during your lunch break, or to the shops? Get some comfy trainers on and get stepping! Why not try our steps challenge here? Challenge yourself to walk 300,000 steps in 30 days (roughly 10,000 a day!).

Stand up more

Sitting at a desk all day? Once an hour (set an alarm on your phone), make a point of standing up and moving about. Better still, get a standing desk. Even if you’re in an office, making a point of getting up to grab a drink or climbing a few flights of stairs will make all the difference. The same goes for your activities; if you love nothing more than sitting out in front of the TV at night, make the effort of getting up during every ad break to walk around or do a few star jumps.

Download a fitness tracker

We know smartwatches can be expensive, so if you don’t have one – don’t worry! Download a free step tracker app to encourage you to get moving. Step counter apps work as pedometers, and are perfect for any fitness level, whether you’re walking to lose weight or just trying to get to 10,000 steps a day you’ll find one suited to you on the Google Play or Apple store. Why not follow your friends and family on the apps or watches, you can make a challenge out of ‘who can do the most steps?’.

Build activity into your day

Whether you’re taking the kids to school, commuting to work, or doing your regular food shopping – take that little bit longer, leave earlier and walk or cycle instead of taking the car. Even just getting off the bus or tube a couple of stops earlier than your destination or taking the stairs instead of the escalator or lift will give you a great start to your day and get your much-needed exercise early.

Start your morning off right

Here at BCUK, we’re big encouragers for a good morning routine. By eating a healthy breakfast and making sure you do some morning movement – whether it be a run, yoga, or a simple walk – you will set yourself up for a great day. Having your workout gear placed on your dresser the night before (so no excuses!) helps. Increasing your morning movement daily will also be beneficial. If you are starting from scratch, begin by walking or running for 5 minutes, then a few days later increase to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and so on aiming for WHO guidelines or more. Additionally, most parks offer a Parkrun or Parkwalk on the weekend just one of these a week can start incorporating exercise into your week!

Workout from your living room

Going to the gym may not always be possible, so instead why not try working out in your living room (or any other available space in your home). There are loads of home workout videos on YouTube and many only require a small amount of space and some everyday objects found in your home (such as a chair or sofa). Alternatively, why not have a go at developing your own circuit of exercises? Circuit training is a great way of raising your heart rate and targeting all the different muscle groups.

Bonus tip! Try a Mediterranean diet

Any healthy diet should also include a varied selection of foods, that are as natural as possible, and provide the right amount of energy and nutrients. By making better food choices you can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Many diets can be healthy and help reduce risk, including the Mediterranean diet, as well as vegan and vegetarian diets. They all combine certain basic features, e.g., no or low red meat consumption and a high proportion of fruit and vegetables. Simple habits like swapping white bread for brown, and processed meat for fresh fish will make a big difference.

If you have any other tips let us know. For more information on physical activity and breast cancer see our reduce your risk section.

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