February 22, 2024

From BS&W: Tips for Women Runners and Breast Health

Hello, Cowtown friends and runners!

My name is Jamie Erwin, MD, and I am the Medical Director of Andrews Women’s Hospital, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth. I am also a lifelong athlete and a current Cowtown Trailblazer. A key component of physical health is practicing a healthy lifestyle, which is why establishing an exercise regimen can be so impactful for health and wellbeing. Similar to many of you, running is one of my favorite exercise plans, but it’s important to remember there are many ways to implement a healthy lifestyle. Below, I share my tips for women who want to learn more about exercise, specifically running, and the ways to care for your body along this health journey.

Tip 1: Running can be for everyone

There is not a “one-size fits all” type of body for runners. Anyone can be a runner. If it’s a goal you have, there’s no time like the present to start. Your body doesn’t have to look like the elite runners we see on the Olympics or TV to be a runner. It’s important to trust your body, and make your goals come true.

Tip 2: Listen to your body

Once you have established a training regimen, it is important to listen to your body. Pain is a signal telling you to back off or change your training style. It’s important that you are properly fitted for the appropriate running gear. For women, this includes a properly fitting sports bra. This can help you avoid a lot of the breast and back pain that some runners experience. Pain during running can be caused from lack of support or chafing, and a good-fitting bra can diminish these problems.

It’s important that you have three dimensions of breast support in a bra, including from below and from both sides. You may have to go to several different shops and try on different styles and sizes, but don’t give up. A good fitting bra is really worth it.  

Tip 3: Running benefits your long-term health

Running can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Studies have shown that primary prevention as well as secondary prevention – preventing a recurrence – of breast cancer is increased in runners and physically active people. Even on those hard miles when you feel like giving up, stay with it and keep running. In the end, you may reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Hopefully these tips keep you motivated and healthy so you can keep doing what you love. If you have unusual breast pain from running, please see a physician near you. I hope to see you on the trails!