A new study has suggested that post-menopausal women who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer significantly.
The report, which followed more than 73,000 women for 17 years, found walking for at least seven hours a week lowered the risk of the disease.
The American Cancer Society team said this was the first time reduced risk was specifically linked to walking.
This study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention followed 73,615 women out of 97,785 aged 50-74 who had been recruited by the American Cancer Society between 1992 and 1993 so it could monitor the incidence of cancer in the group.
They were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and on how much time they were active and participating in activities such as walking, swimming and aerobics and how much time they spent sitting watching television or reading.
They completed the same questionnaires at two-year intervals between 1997 and 2009.
Of the women, 47% said walking was their only recreational activity.
Those who walked for at least seven hours per week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three or fewer hours per week.
Dr. Alpa Patel, a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta Georgia, who led the study, said: “Given that more than 60% of women report some daily walking, promoting walking as a healthy leisure-time activity could be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity amongst post-menopausal women.
“We were pleased to find that without any other recreational activity, just walking one hour a day was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in these women.
“More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more.”