If you’ve been thinking about getting healthier and more active, there’s no need to wait for New Year’s resolutions, according to Breakthrough Breast Cancer's Health Information Lead, Yinka Ebo. Today is National Fitness Day, so why not start now?
What is National Fitness Day?
National Fitness Day is the largest celebration of physical activity in the UK, which sees hundreds of clubs, parks and leisure centres open their doors to welcome you for free. Getting active can be a lonely slog, but thanks to initiatives like National Fitness Day, it doesn’t have be. This year’s National Fitness Day includes mass participation events in public squares in London, Birmingham and Bristol – designed to encourage people to come together and get active.
Why should I get more active?
We all know that being active is good for your health – it can help lower the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. But you may not know that it can also help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Just 30 minutes of daily moderate intensity physical activity (or 3.5 hours a week) can reduce your risk of breast cancer by at least 20%. But how do you define moderate intensity? In a nutshell, it's any activity that makes you feel warmer, breathe harder and gets your heart beating faster. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny – it can include everyday activities like housework, gardening and walking the dog.
To help, we’ve developed a web resource called BRISK where you can find out more about the types of physical activities you can take up, register and track your daily activity, as well as share your own ideas for getting active and hear from other women about theirs. You can also learn more about the scientific evidence behind the messages.
BRISK was developed following a comprehensive review of the evidence in 2012, and is endorsed by global experts. The evidence review highlighted some key points:
- Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by at least 20%
- ’Regular’ physical activity refers to undertaking at least 3.5 hours of moderate intensity activity per week, equivalent to 30 minutes or more per day
- A wide variety of activities are of sufficient intensity to count as moderate physical activity
- In order to have an impact on breast cancer risk, it is assumed that this activity is sustained over many years
So what else is Breakthrough doing?
We recently held a ‘Unite to Improve Public Health’ event, to bring together a range of local and national stakeholders with an interest and passion for improving public health, with a particular focus on physical activity. We had speakers from C3 Collaborating for Health, Sports England, the London Borough of Bromley and Public Health England. The event provided an opportunity to explore new strategic partnerships to overcome obstacles for effective public health program delivery, and fostered an environment for information sharing among participants.
If you belong to an organisation or local community group and want to get involved, please get in touch with us on 08080 100 200.
Leading a healthy life or being more physically active isn’t a 100% guarantee against breast cancer, but it can help lower the chances of the disease developing. There are many things that affect our risk of developing breast cancer, some of which we can’t change, like the genes we inherit or getting older. But our lifestyles can play a part too, so there are things we can change to help stack the odds in our favour.
Tips to get you going
Like us, physical activity comes in all shapes and sizes. Check out our BRISK website for some great ideas with helping you find your right fit – from individual or family activities to events near you.
You can also find more top tips on moving more from National Fitness Day’s resident expert, Professor Greg Whyte.