Foothill Fitness Challenge: More motivation to move

October 4, 2013 | by

More than 1,000 Foothill Fitness Challenge participants have now set fitness goals to help them increase their fitness and develop healthier lifestyles. Among those goals: Lose weight, get in shape to run a marathon, become a better role model for their kids ... A new study may add "reduce breast cancer risk" to that list.

Exercise

The Foothill Fitness Challenge kicks off at City of Hope's Heritage Park on 9a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Check-in opens at 8:30 a.m.

An American Cancer Society study published this week in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention found that walking at a moderate pace for an hour a day was associated with a 14 percent reduced breast cancer risk compared to a sedentary lifestyle.

This is “a good news study for women,” said Laura Kruper, M.D., head of breast surgery service at City of Hope, in a HealthDay story. “This is something nearly every woman can do. This is not running a marathon.”

Even better, walking an hour a day is just the type of activity that the Foothill Fitness Challenge was meant to encourage. The challenge is a healthy competition sponsored by City of Hope for residents of surrounding communities. The event (launch day is Saturday, Oct. 5) asks residents of nearby cities to team up and compete against residents of other cities to determine who can make the most fitness gains.

City of Hope has its own goals for the Foothill Fitness Challenge: Reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes in its neighboring communities. After all, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of these diseases.

Exercise seems to lower breast cancer risk through hormonal mechanisms. Although higher lifetime exposure to estrogen is associated with a higher risk, postmenopausal women who are physically active have lower levels of estrogen than their sedentary peers. Healthy body weight and limited alcohol intake have also been shown to lower the risk for breast cancer.

The Foothill Fitness Challenge unites what science has shown in the laboratory with the resources our communities need to turn good intentions into action. Participants will be outfitted with a pedometer and “passport” to track their progress.

At Saturday's kickoff, basic health screenings – such as weight and blood pressure – will be taken so that participants can set goals based on their own personal data. They will then be able to measure their progress at monthly Foothill Fitness Challenge events.

The challenge begins Saturday, with check-in starting at 8:30 a.m. The fun begins at 9 a.m. with exercise classes and demonstrations, a cooking demonstration with celebrity chef and cookbook author Nathan Lyon, a one-mile walk around the City of Hope campus, active play stations for kids and more. Registration has been closed for the event launch, but it will reopen on Oct. 14. For more information, go to www.cityofhope.org/fitnesschallenge.