Inspired by Zero: Reducing the Risk – Fitness and Breast Cancer 

Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. hears the words, “You have breast cancer.” Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., with 1 in 8 women likely to be diagnosed before the age of 70. A person’s risk of breast cancer can be influenced by several factors, some that can’t be changed- like family history, and others that are related to lifestyle choices – like diet, exercise and smoking.  

“Up to 68 percent of breast cancer could potentially be prevented by efforts that begin in childhood and adolescence,” said Dr. Graham Colditz, Breast Cancer Research Foundation investigator since 2004. Moreover, weight gain and obesity are established risk factors for at least eight different cancers – including breast cancer – and are responsible for 120,000 cases of cancer each year in the United States. 

BCRF and other cancer advocacy groups recommend healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. In fact, many of the same recommendations for the prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes also reduce the risk of breast cancer.  

Healthy lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly not only reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer but can also provide benefits should you ever to develop the disease. While most doctors don’t recommend adding any new or additional stress to patients’ lives, they recognize the benefits of modest changes such as incorporating small bouts of exercise in daily routines like taking a walk with a friend or pet. Research has shown that exercise can actually reduce the feeling of fatigue, improve mood and sleep and attenuate some side effects from cancer therapy. While lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of breast cancer, a woman can still get breast cancer in spite of good diet and exercise habits.  

Maintaining exercise after completing treatment also has positive benefits for cancer survivors, such as easing chemotherapy side effects, like fatigue and anxiety and also improving mood, self-esteem and daily functioning. Research supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has shown that regular exercise after therapy can even decrease the risk of recurrence of some breast cancers and improve overall quality of life.  

Many women are unsure where to start with exercise or what types of exercise can help reduce their risk. The American Society of Clinical Oncology provided these physical activity tips such as walking or incorporating another type of moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week or running or incorporating vigorous aerobic activities for 75 minutes per week in addition to strength training twice a week.  

Mizuno, BCRF and Fleet Feet have partnered together for Project Zero, with the goal of eliminating breast cancer, turning the one in eight women who will be diagnosed in her lifetime to zero in eight.

This year, Mizuno has designed a special-edition BCRF running shoe for Project Zero. Ten dollars from each shoe will go directly toward funding BCRF’s life-saving research. The running shoes, along with inspiring stories of survivors and supporters, are available at Fleet Feet stores nationwide or online at 

Share your story of inspiration or support using hashtag #projectzero. 

Published: October 2018