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Exercise and Your Breasts

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Every month, it seems, you hear of a high-profile woman being diagnosed with breast cancer. What’s going on? Female breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer worldwide. In the United States, except for skin cancer, breast cancer has the highest diagnosis rate. Breast cancer accounts for 1 out of every 3 female cancers diagnosed every year.

My own mother died over 30 years ago from breast cancer, as did most of the women in her family. Obviously, this has been a concern for me, as I am considered high risk.

The general increase in breast cancer can be linked to increases in excess body fat and weight in the population. Also, notable is declining female fertility and rising age for first births.

Apparently, lack of ovulation and each pregnancy you have will decrease your risk. That’s not why I had 4 children, but I’m hoping at least it helped. Also, during my extreme training and competitive years I didn’t ovulate for 5 years. Maybe that was actually a good thing.

With millions of women diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk (other than popping out 4 babies!)

Start by making smart choices.  You must be your own health advocate when it comes to your wellbeing.  If you’ve been looking for motivation to start an exercise routine, this is it! You don’t have to begin training for a marathon right away, start small, like swapping your regular glass of wine with a glass of sparkling water.

Here are a few tips to help decrease your breast cancer risk:

Start a regular workout.

It’s important to get moving daily. Make sure you prioritize your weightlifting routine. We all know that aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system to rid your body of the bad cells before they turn cancerous. But lifting weights makes you stronger and better able to fight any inflammation. Gaining muscle and getting rid of excess bodyfat through intense weight training also helps to balance your hormones, especially for those women who have high estrogen levels.

Stop eating processed foods.

Skip that store-bought salad dressing and use lemon juice and a little olive oil instead. Forget desserts; eat berries and fruit instead. Processed foods get stored in your fat cells, and fat cells produce estrogen, which in turn feeds cancer cells. So, if you’ve always wanted that lean, healthy body, you can make it happen now and not only for cosmetic reasons, but for your health.

Eat more cruciferous vegetables.

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy are all members of the cruciferous, or cabbage, family of vegetables. They are also known as super foods because they all contain phytochemicals, which help lower your risk of getting breast cancer. They also reduce oxidative stress, an overload of harmful molecules otherwise known as oxygen-free radicals. It’s best to eat them raw or lightly steamed to retain all the special qualities. These veggies are also low in calories and will bring your weight down in no time.

Cut back on alcohol.

We’ve all heard that a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart. But it’s not good for your hips and it’s even worse for your breasts. And if you are at high risk for breast cancer, consider not drinking at all, or only on special occasions.

Kick the sugar out!

You might have heard the concept that “sugar feeds cancer.” How does it work? It’s quite simple; glucose plays an important role in supporting the growth and metastasis of cancer. Plus, it contributes more toward obesity than other edible compounds mainly because it is addictive.  Eliminate all refined sugars from your diet and buy fresh organic fruits and berries to satisfy your sweet tooth.

If you train regularly and make these changes in your diet, not only will it benefit your health, you will also become lean and fit, just like you’ve always wanted!  

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