Running is better than walking in reducing breast cancer mortality

An estimated 23% of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer die within 15 years of diagnosis.

Physical activity is thought to be an important factor for improving survival in women diagnosed with breast cancer, but studies have yielded mixed results, possibly because of differences in the type and intensity of exercise investigated.

A study analysed the health benefits of running versus walking were compared in women diagnosed with breast cancer. The purpose of the study was to test prospectively whether post-diagnosis running and walking differ significantly in their association with mortality.

Analyses show that post-diagnosis running (a vigorous-intensity exercise) is associated with significantly greater reductions in breast cancer mortality than post-diagnosis walking (a moderate-intensity exercise).

The public health recommendations  “…all healthy adults aged 18–65 yr need moderate‐intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week”.

Those recommendation assumes that the health benefits depend primarily on the total amount of physical activity performed without regard to intensity.

The study however suggests that the dose of vigorous exercise that provided protection exceeded public health recommendations, suggesting that a greater exercise dose than currently recommended could facilitate significantly greater reductions in mortality.