What You Need to Know About Exercise and Breast Cancer

My aunt passed away at the age of 40 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. One of my college best friend’s mom lost her fight with breast cancer after ten years, our sophomore year. While these people were very special in my life — my connection to breast cancer is likely a lot like yours. 

Almost everyone knows someone who has had, survived or is still battling breast cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. 

While it’s a scary fact, you’re already doing something to help reduce your odds: exercising! In honor of breast cancer awareness month, we’ve rounded-up encouraging statistics on how going to that barre (or spin or bootcamp) class can help keep you healthy:

Lower estrogen 
Physical activity lowers estrogen levels in women, which protects against the development of breast cancer. It also boosts the body’s immune system so that it can kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. 

Make it part of your routine
The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Think of it this way: that’s 2 hour-long classes and one half-hour class! Regular exercise can decrease your chances of breast cancer by 10 to 20 percent. 

Even walking helps
Instead of grabbing the train to your next class, try walking there instead. Susan G. Komen Center research says that walking 30 minutes a day may lower breast cancer risk by three percent. 

Don’t forget: in between your classes and your daily juice run, make sure to save time for monthly breast cancer self-exams, and after the age of 35, get an annual mammogram. Exercise will help minimize your risk, but being proactive about your health in all ways is important too. Want more facts? Check out Susan G. Komen for more information, advice and health tips. 


Lindsay Tigar is the editorial director for ClassPass in New York. She’s an aspiring boxer, wannabe yogi and lover of cardio dance (though she has no rhythm). She loves traveling, handwritten cards, live music and good vibes. She believes in a healthy balance of veggies and champagne, and can usually be found exploring the city with her cute pup, Lucy.