Throughout October and early November, the annual Ramsay Health Care Triathlon Pink Series, supported by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, is being held in locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Perth in an effort to continue to raise awareness and funds to support breast cancer research and could be a great starting point for first time and beginner athletes to make exercise an essential part of their lifestyles.
It is a great opportunity to get a group of friends together to train for this non-competitive, fun event comprised of the traditional running, swimming and cycling legs. This event is really all about having a go, in a supportive and non-confrontational environment.
All legs of the course are very achievable and depending on your fitness level and goal, there are four courses to choose from, including:
- 7- 9 years kids race: 50m swim/1.5km ride/500m run
- 100m swim/3km ride/1km run
- 200m swim/6km ride/2km run
- 300m swim/9km ride/3km run
You can enter any of the courses as an individual, completing the entire course, or as part of a team, where each competitor races one particular leg, similar to a relay format. If you are interested but a little bit nervous you can enter with friends, as a team, where you will be guaranteed to start the race together.
Research suggests an active lifestyle can help prevent breast cancer
It is no surprise that following an active lifestyle has countless benefits on your health, reducing the risk of a long list of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression. However, if you needed yet another reason to get your feet off the couch and onto the pavement, recent research has shown that the amount and intensity of your lifetime physical activity is a strong predictor of your breast cancer risk¹.
Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer among Australian women, with one in eight women diagnosed before the age of 85. Breast cancer is also the most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian women². Clearly, anything we can do to prevent or at least reduce the risk of developing breast cancer is a good thing.
The 2007 study, directed by Leslie Berstein, Professor of Preventative Medicine at the University of Southern California, has found that strenuous long-term exercise may have a protective role against invasive and in situ breast* cancer. Remarkably, the study showed that both pre and post menopausal women who did an average of three hours of moderate exercise per week during adolescence resulted in a 30% reduced risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, women who kept up four or more hours of strenuous exercise** per week throughout their lifetime almost halved their chances of developing breast cancer.
Although it appears that longer periods of high intensity exercise is more beneficial to breast cancer reduction, do not be put off by this, as any physical activity is better than none. The most important thing is just to be as active as possible and be realistic; don’t get too hung up on recording the hours per week you engage in, as exercise will seem more like a chore than an enjoyable activity.
Although for many women, three or four hours of strenuous activity per week may sound daunting, there are many ways to make exercise enjoyable, and the benefits far outweigh this fear factor. Find physical activity you enjoy- whether this is exercising in a team or as an individual. Exercising with friends and with other groups is a great way to increase dedication to physical activity and exercising for a specified goal is great motivation. It is important to have fun with it, as the more you enjoy it, the more likely you will continue and make it a part of your everyday lifestyle.
Hereditary breast cancer only accounts for 5 -10% of all cases³, so with 90 – 95% of the rest of cases being sporadic, we should be doing all we can to limit our potential of developing the disease and regular exercise is one of the few factors that women can control, change and improve upon, without drastically altering their lifestyle.
To enter an event visit http://www.triathlonpink.com.au
1. Berstein L. et al. Long-term Recreational Physical Activity and Risk of Invasive and In situ Breast Cancer: The Californian Teachers Study. American Medical Association., 2007 Feb 26.
2. Breast Cancer in Australia: An Overview, 2006 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and National Breast Cancer Centre*, 2006.
3. Breast Cancer in Australia: An Overview, 2006 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and National Breast Cancer Centre*, 2006.
*In situ (non-invasive) breast cancer confines itself to the ducts or lobules and do not spread to the surrounding tissues in the breast or other parts of the body; while invasive cancers have started to break through normal breast tissue barriers and invade surrounding areas.
** Examples of strenuous exercise include running and jogging, swimming, aerobics and cycling; examples of moderate exercise includes walking, golf and volley ball.