October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Walking Month, so I’ve decided to “feed two birds with one scone” and address both subjects (well, breasts and walking, not so much cancer) in one post. Although it really bugs me when I see people feeding birds bread. It’s not good for them, so stop it!
This article is about breast health awareness, not breast cancer awareness. I just hijacked the name.
Zoom in on the picture below and you will notice that many of the lymph nodes are concentrated around the armpits. The lymphatic system is our major line of defense against invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Lymph can be obstructed by compression of organs, tight muscles, and tight clothing (bras). Restriction of lymph flow allows debris to accumulate, and tissues become acidic and burdened with toxic wastes. The breasts have a high concentration of lymph nodes. For the health of the breasts and the rest of the body, it is important to keep the lymphatic system flowing. Muscle movement plays a huge role in optimal lymph flow as it “milks” the lymph through the system.
As we enter into the colder months, many of us tend to walk with our hands stuffed in our pockets. So buy some super cute gloves and let your arms swing naturally (unless you’re carrying something in your arms in a way that doesn’t allow your arms to swing of course). It’s ok if you have to carry stuff in your arms, keep switching it up; hold your groceries in one arm (see how many ways you can do this), then the other, use a backpack, carry stuff on your head, or shoulders. The point is to not stay rigid in one position and to make sure you get some arm swing in your day. No need to pump your arms like the power walkers do. Keep it reflex driven. Your arm swing will change depending on if you’re walking uphill, downhill, on level ground, walking fast or slow. It’s all good. The arm-swing helps to pump the lymphatic fluid around the breast. I have heard women say that they don’t feel lady-like when they swing their arms. I say, get over it. Those are outdated ways of thinking. Personally, I think a natural arm swing makes you appear more confident. I took a self-defense class years ago, and before the instructor taught us how to gouge out eyes, break knee caps and crush “acorns”, she taught us how to walk with confidence to deter undesirable attention. Women who walk around looking at the ground, shoulders slumped, shuffling along in high heels and purses dangling from their arms appear to be easy targets.
So now that you’re sporting that “don’t mess with me” attitude (Just kidding. Walking is fun!), notice if your elbow pits forward. When your elbow pits are forward your humerus (upper arm) is in a neutral position, and your triceps are where they are supposed to be (behind you). Flabby arms are hard to tone if the muscles are not in the correct plane of motion. Triceps are supposed to be on the back of the arms while walking, not on the side. Forearms should be able to rotate independently of your upper arms, so keep your thumbs forward, not your knuckles. It’s not lady-like to walk around like a gorilla. And of course, your palms shouldn’t be facing forward. That would just be weird and not very aerodynamic.
Remember, this is a natural movement, not a military march. So get out there and let your arms swing naturally. Have fun, smile pretty and watch your back.
Check out the links below for more breast health information.
Breast Health Project Lots of information on breast health and self-breast massage
Keeping you all abreast… Nutritious Movement™ for breast health
(TED Video) Deborah Rhodes: A tool that finds 3x more breast tumors, and why it’s not available to you (Important: know your breast density)
Breast Balm by MoonMaid Botanicals