By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A large study from the American Cancer Society finds walking an hour a day could significantly reduce an older woman’s chances of getting breast cancer.

Mary Bubala explains the risk is even lower for women who do more vigorous exercise.

Friends Mary Porter and Merleann Taylor go walking every day. It could help lower their risk of breast cancer.

“It’s such a healing, stress reducing thing to do. It really helps me start my day,” said Porter.

A new study from the American Cancer Society finds postmenopausal women whose only exercise is walking an hour a day still reduce their chances of getting breast cancer by 14 percent.

“They are walking at a really moderate pace. About three miles an hour,” said Dr. Alpa Patel, American Cancer Society.

Women who engage in more vigorous exercise lower their risk even more–by 25 percent.

“We know that physical activity is associated with sex hormones we know to be important in breast cancer,” Patel said.

Current guidelines recommend adults do at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. But studies show less than half of U.S. women do even that much.

Taylor, 68, whose mother and sister both had breast cancer, says keeping fit is a big part of her life.

“I can’t do what I used to be able to do, but I still can do almost everything,” she said.

Researchers say it doesn’t have to be a marathon. A leisurely walk can still make a big difference.

The study followed more than 73,000 women for 17 years.

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