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While October is officially breast cancer awareness month, breast health is something that needs year-round attention. Although most people focus on the cure, which is vital for the 1 in 8 women who face an invasive breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, not enough attention goes to the role of breast cancer prevention.

That’s where the pioneering non-profit Keep a Breast Foundation™ comes into play. KAB’s mission is to educate and empower people about breast health, and the role prevention has in living a healthy, cancer-free life.

It’s a philosophy that aligns perfectly with Touchstone Essentials’ commitment to clean ingredients, organic practices, and superfood goodness. So, this year, Touchstone Essentials and Keep A Breast (KAB) teamed up to fight breast cancer with a focus on fitness and wellness.

Each year, the KAB hosts their #Fit4Prevention campaign, working with hundreds of studios, gyms and individuals across the nation to raise funds through donation-based workout classes. Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Touchstone Essentials challenged its Visionary Business Owners (VBOs) to raise money hosting their own events with a pledge to match their efforts up to $100 per class—and the VBOs did not disappoint.

This year, through the combined efforts of VBOs and Touchstone Essentials, over $13,000 was raised for Keep-A-Breast!

Alan Newell fundraises for Keep A Breast

During the month of October, Touchstone Essentials’ VBOs got creative with their events, going beyond hosting workout classes. Dozens of events and fundraising activities took place across the country, with a shared common goal.

VBO and Licensed Massage Therapist, Sabrina Wright pledged to donate a percentage of every massage booked and every gift certificate purchased through her business, The Wright Balance. She said, “I wanted to partner with them (KAB) because their message is prevention and that comes from awareness and making better lifestyle choices.”

Top leader Alan Newell collaborated with Planet Fitness to donate $1 for every mile someone walked on the treadmill during his events. He shared, “Keep-A-Breast is working to empower young people with education about breast cancer prevention and I’m grateful to Planet Fitness for offering up not one, but two treadmills, one in each of their Wilmington, NC locations, for this worthy cause. They made it a point to choose the most-used treadmills, and in the month of October we logged nearly 1,000 miles.”

Planet Fitness franchise owner, Shelly Choquette explained, “We wanted to be part of something that was important to our members, and Alan was chosen to receive the benefits of this Planet Fitness donation. We’re grateful we were able to donate to this cause.”

These events also had great meaning to VBO leader, Denise Longtin. She combined two fundraisers with two existing networking events and even held one virtual event via Facebook Live. “I love this organization because prevention is the key, and this cause is especially personal to me as I’m coming up on my 2-year anniversary of being cancer-free.”

An estimated 1 in 8 women will receive a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, and prevention efforts are vital to help reduce that number. Research shows that one of the best ways to reduce the risk for breast cancer is with exercise.

How Fitness Fights Breast Cancer

Just 30 minutes of physical activity performed 3 to 4 times per week can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 30-50% (1). There are numerous ways exercise benefits the body and helps to prevent breast cancer.

One critical factor is that exercise can lower hormone levels (2). Higher estrogen levels are a risk factor for breast cancer. One study of post-menopausal women, for example, showed that the group who exercised regularly had a 9% drop in levels of free estradiol (a type of estrogen) (3).

Physical activity also shrinks body mass index, reducing body fat percentage (4). This is important because fat cells in the body can produce estrogen, so the leaner you are, the better.

Exercise also strengthens immunity (5). Creating a hostile environment for tumor cells is one of the most effective ways to prevent cancer. Your immune system is your first line of defense.

And exercise is a natural stress reducer, which can lift your mood, alleviate anxiety, and strengthen your immunity (6). This is vital because according to Dr.  Anil Sood at MD Anderson, “Chronic stress also can help cancer grow and spread in a number of ways.” (7)

What’s important here is not the type of exercise, but that you simply get moving.

Fitness + Wellness Work Better Together

According to the American Cancer Society, up to 90% of breast cancer cases are likely caused by a combination of lifestyle and environmental factors (8). While every factor can’t be controlled, taking even small steps toward reducing your risk can make a difference.

This includes reducing your exposure to environmental toxins, such as the heavy metals commonly found in homes. Avoid bad air days when possible since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified outdoor air pollution as a cancer-causing agent (9).

Good nutrition isanother vital factor for your well-being. New research shows that switching to organic foods can reduce the risk of certain cancers by up to 25%. Further research shows that having adequate vitamin D can reduce the risk of breast cancer and increase the odds of survival.

Another essential factor for survival is performing monthly self-exams. Since 40% of breast cancers are self-detected, a monthly self-check is a must. The KAB has a convenient self-check app that reminds you regularly. You can download it here.

The point is there are so many things people can do to reduce their risk. That’s why it’s critical to get the word out far, wide, and fast. The more you exercise, the more you can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Even the smallest changes make a difference, like parking farther away, taking the stairs, walking at lunchtime and even doing squats while brushing your teeth. What matters is to get moving and keep moving.