Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Jacki Donaldson is a woman I admire and a survivor.

I could think of no better person to write today’s post and am honored she agreed to do so.


There are several reasons I exercise.

I do it to maintain my weight (and sometimes to lose weight).

I do it for my mental health — I feel so much better after drenching myself in workout sweat.

I do it for my heart, too (just learned I have a resting heart rate of 47 and that makes me happy).

Most important, though, I exercise because I believe it’s keeping cancer away.

You see, I’ve had breast cancer (it got me almost 60 months ago), and research tells me that five vigorous hours of exercise a week can cut my chances of recurrence by something like 50 percent.

The way I see it, if I were to *not* exercise, it would be like taking a doctor’s prescription, crumbling it up and tossing it in the trash.

I didn’t ditch my prescription for chemo, or radiation, or physical therapy, or the anti-depressant that helped me rebound from cancer terror — why would I ignore the fact that fitness can keep me cancer-free?

Now, I don’t claim to be a perfect exerciser. But I do throw on a sports bra and shorts and lace up my running shoes every day, and I do something.

Lately, I’ve been walking a 3.5-mile course right after I drop my kids at school. Then I go home and run a mile on my treadmill, and when I’m really ambitious, I crank out maybe 20 push-ups (knees only), a couple minutes of planks and maybe some squats and lunges.

This will all change when I get bored — I might swim some, bike some hills and on October 24, I’ll run a 5K for breast cancer.

I’ve cycled through all kinds of workout schemes, from gyms (hate ’em) to trainers (can’t afford ’em) to DVDs in the living room (love Hollywood trainer Jeanette Jenkins).

The point is not that I’m a hard body, just that I’m engaging in purposeful movement to the point that it might, just might, save me from another dance with the C-word.

I should also mention that a healthy diet is key here, too. No amount of strenuous exercise is going to rescue me if I’m scarfing down Little Debbie’s and Doritos.

So I don’t.

But, you know,  more on that later if MizFit decides I’m allowed to drop back by (Yes, please!!).

When Jacki isn’t warding off cancer with exercise, the Gainesville, Fla. girl is managing the antics of two little boys, hanging out with her hubby and writing and editing for That’s Fit, Braving Boys, my Breast Cancer blog and PlanetKid.


Never miss a post. Enter your email to get my latest posts delivered to your inbox.


  1. says

    What a great reason to exercise! Love your analogy about the crumpled up doctor’s prescription. Yet so many people do just that!

    Thanks for your inspiration, both here and at That’s Fit!

  2. says

    Fabulous- just fabulous! My Aunt is also a survivor and rocks the same mentality. I think you all are so strong and inspirational. Keep at it.

  3. says

    I am a sloth.

    That’s a totally valid point about not exercising being like throwing away a prescription.

    I admire the fact that you stay strong this far out – and can tell you from the other side of the fence how important that is to the kids to see their survivor parent continue to thrive and rock out life!

  4. says

    This family too has been touched by breast cancer (my wife, just over 3 years ago). You should be commended on your attitude and I’m sure all those little endorphins running around your body are doing all sorts of good things!

    Keep it up.

  5. Miz says

    Andrew I remembered that about your wife.

    As much as I can not imagine battling breast cancer myself I can NOT IMAGINE being a partner to someone struggling w/breast (or any cancer) even more.

    I can’t envision the feelings of frustration anger and helplessness.

  6. says

    It’s so wonderful and inspiring that you are taking control of what you CAN control. You cannot control the fact that you have cancer, but you ARE doing something about it. And you’re not letting it get you down — I see it actually bringing you up in so many ways!

    I admire your openness and courage to take charge of your health and life, and what an amazing role model you are for your children — and for the world!

  7. says

    You are such an inspiration! Amazing! My aunt had breast cancer when she was in her 30’s WAY WAY back when before they knew a lot & survived until her early 70’s. My grandma got it in her 80’s but did not last too long. Cancer in any form, and it has hit our family in other forms is TOUGH! Again, I commend you for all you have done & survived!

  8. says

    This makes me feel bad that I didn’t start an exercise regimen sooner. As a cancer survivor myself, I should have taken better care right after my chemo and surgery 11 years ago. Oh well, you live and learn.

    Go job on taking care of yourself!!!

  9. says

    OMGosh. Thank you for posting this! THIS.IS.ME. I am 31 years old, a wife, mom, runner, and a new breast cancer survivor. I have been a runner for 5 1/2 years and could not imagine how I would have survived a year of breast cancer treatment without it. And to know that it can lessen my risk of recurrence significantly, is even more motivation to keep at it!

    I feel very much like I am doing SOMETHING to keep my cancer from ever returning and maintaining my weight, heart health, and keeping myself sane while I’m at it!

    Thank you so much for this post! I am even more excited to go hop on my treadmill this morning! Yay WE ARE SURVIVORS!!!

    God Bless!

  10. says

    “I didn’t ditch my prescription for chemo, or radiation, or physical therapy, or the anti-depressant that helped me rebound from cancer terror — why would I ignore the fact that fitness can keep me cancer-free?”

    LOVED that. SO TRUE.

    My grandma is a 2x breast cancer survivor (plus 1x colon cancer). The strength of her, and other survivors, is always so amazing and inspirational to me. Thank you for this post!

  11. says

    What a great way to start my day! I’ve had a lot of family members with cancer and for years I figured it was just a matter of time before I got it too – that there was nothing I could do about it. But I too discovered exercise and while it may not be the silver bullet, it definitely helps me feel better inside and out! Keep going Jacki – you’re doing great!

  12. says

    Mega-props to a sister Floridian!! Jacki is a wonderful example of “lighting a candle” to make the world a better place!

    PS My resting pulse is 47 :-)

  13. says

    My grandmother passed away from breast cancer (she found a lump, and the doctors said “benign”. A few months later, they said “malignant & it’s spread to your bones”).

    At my wedding reception, rather than doing traditional favors, BK and I will be making a donation to breast cancer research, and our guests will get a little card explaining what we did.

  14. says

    I did not know that exercise reduces your chances of breast cancer by 50%. An extra motivator. I have a niece who just beat it and a sister in law fighting it now. I will be walking with other ladies on the 17th of this month in our race for the cure. I hope everyone gets involved, there have been too many lost from this disease. God bless, and pray for a cure.

  15. says

    wow, Jacki – thanks so much for sharing! I learned a lot in this post. I’ve always heard that good diet and exercise decrease the odds of C-word.. but didn’t know by 50%! That’s one prescription we should NEVER throw away!

    Mizfit.. thanks so much for introducing me to Jacki – awesome, awesome inspiring post.

    I have a group of friends that just did the 60K W2EBC in Toronto, ON – I’m not there yet, but would love to do one of these walks/fundraisers some day.

  16. says

    Thank you Jacki for this post. This is something I felt intuitively but hadn’t really hear the stats on. My mother passed from BC about 10 years ago (she was 55 and overweight). Right now my regular exercise is wearing my 25lb son on my back while doing laundry, dishes, running upstairs to check email, etc. or taking 1 1/2 hour long walks pushing 2 of my sons in a fairly heavy double stroller. Nice to know there is something we can DO to help.

  17. says

    That’s such a good analogy of the medication prescription- often I feel that people don’t take their diet and exercise seriously enough.

  18. Nikki says

    Inspiring words of wisdom here…practical too! Can it really be that simple?? Sometimes “humans” sure make things harder than they really need to be. Hmm
    Thanks for sharing!!

  19. says

    I love this post. I’ve never been affected by breast cancer but it speaks volumes to a positive outlook on the disease.

    I take the same attitude when it comes to lifting and exercising for my back. I’m healthier now and my doctors say if I keep up my routines I won’t have to have surgery again for at least 10 years versus the max of 5 if I don’t.

    Thanks for the line that its like crumbling up a perscription. That will get me back in the gym instead of self pity because of my hip injury.

  20. says

    What an inspiring, well written post. Breast cancer is pretty prevalent in my family. My grandmother is a two time survivor! I loved your reference to your prescriptions. I didn’t realize that exercise caused a 50% reduction in reoccurrence! That’s amazing. You’ve given me one more terrific reason to stick with my exercise program. Thank you Jacki and Mizfit!

  21. says

    Thank you for this great post! I am going to share it with my cousin who has cancer. I didn’t know about exercise decreasing chances by 50%. Another awesome reason to push ourselves with exercise. Blessings to you Jacki!


  1. […] MizFit ( – October 01, 2009Breast Cancer Awareness Month. By MizFit | October 1, 2009. Jacki Donaldson is a woman I admire and a survivor. I could think of no better person to write today’s post and am honored she agreed to do… […]