Gynecomastia is when men develop extra breast tissue. It isn't caused by excess fat on the chest due to being overweight. However, a related condition called pseudo-gynecomastia can occur when fat accumulates on the chest due to being overweight. Medical News says exercise won't help you get rid of gynecomastia. However, exercise may help you minimize pseudo-gynecomastia and combat some of the underlying causes of gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is caused by various factors. Excessive levels of estrogen may cause growth of extra breast tissue. This is common during puberty between the ages of 10 and 17. However, the breast tissue disappears after puberty, as estrogen levels drop and proper balance with testosterone is restored. Excess estrogen may become a problem again as testosterone levels drop in middle age. According to New Health Guide, excess estrogen causes fat and weight gain. Excess fat and weight, in turn, may induce higher levels of estrogen.
Health and Lifestyle Factors
Gynecomastia, sometimes known as man boobs, can also be caused by alcohol abuse, kidney and liver diseases, thyroid disorders, radiation treatment and use of illegal drugs, such as cannabis, says Medical News Today. Excess breast tissue growth induced by these factors won't respond to exercise. However, a regular exercise program might encourage you to lead a healthier lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of alcohol abuse or illegal drug use.
Controlling Your Weight
Being overweight may cause fat deposits on your chest. You can't spot reduce chest fat, but exercise helps you reduce overall body fat. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories and, in conjunction with a low-calorie diet, helps you lose weight and fat. If you are new to exercise, choose activities such as brisk walking or bicycling. According to Harvard Health Publications, if you weigh 185 pounds, you will burn 222 calories walking at 4.5 miles-per-hour for 30 minutes. Bicycling at approximately 15 miles per hour for 30 minutes will burn 444 calories.
Upping the Ante
As you get stronger, do more intense activities, such as running, or include high- intensity interval training (HIIT) in your routine. For example, after a five-minute warm-up on your bicycle, sprint for one minute, then rest by bicycling at a leisurely pace for two minutes. Repeat the sprint and rest sequence five times for an intense 15-minute cardio workout. The American College of Sports Medicine says HIIT boosts your metabolism post-exercise, helping you burn fat for up to 24 hours after exercise. Do cardiovascular exercise three times a week.
The Beauty of Lean Muscle
Increase your lean muscle mass with a strength-training program. Muscle elevates your metabolism and ability to burn fat at rest. Focus on exercises that target your major muscle groups. Do the seated chest press and dumbbell flyes for your chest, and the seated shoulder press for your anterior deltoids and upper chest. These exercises won't reduce chest fat, but tone and tighten your pectoral muscles, making them look and feel firmer. Do seated rows and lat pulldowns for your upper back. Work your lower back and trapezius with barbell or dumbbell deadlifts and your legs with leg presses or barbell squats. Do a full-body workout twice a week, comprising two or three sets per exercise.
- Medical News Today: What Is Gynecomastia?
- New Health Guide: High Estrogen in Men
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American College of Sports Medicine: For All-Day Metabolism Boost, Try Interval Training
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: Increased Estrogen Production in Obese Men
- American Family Physician: Gynecomastia
- Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images