Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst Australian men, each year there is 20,000 new diagnosis’ and 3300 men die from the disease. Prostate cancer involves an abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland and can be detected through a blood test. Common treatments for prostate cancer can include surgery, radiation or hormone therapies all of which can be supplemented by exercise to enhance treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, exercise is an excellent adjunct therapy to reduce symptoms of first-line treatments such as fatigue as well as improve mental health and survival rate. Further, exercise is extremely important in reducing the risk of co-morbidities associated with prostate cancer such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research shows men with prostate cancer are more likely to experience reduced fitness, loss of muscle and bone mass along with weight gain, all of which can be addressed through a well-balanced exercise program. Evidence now suggests that regular exercise for those living with prostate cancer increase survival rates by 50-60%.
So what exercise is best for prostate cancer?
When using exercise as an adjunct therapy for prostate cancer we want to ensure your exercise programs meet all the recommendations for such treatment. Due to the above-mentioned loss of muscle and bone mass, exercise programs should have a strong focus on resistance exercise. Resistance exercise means training with weights, targeting all major muscle groups at least 2 times per week. Further, a balanced program should consist in part or aerobic exercise several times per week. Aerobic exercise can include walking, running or bike riding for example and can be continuous or intermittent. The aerobic segment of an exercise program aims to increase overall fitness and functioning of the heart and lungs and further decreasing the risk of co-morbidities. Finally, integrating flexibility and balance exercises has a significant impact on the effectiveness of an exercise program. Decreasing the risk of falls in older men with prostate cancer is essential in decreasing further harm to those with low bone mineral density.
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is able to discuss with you your options and design an exercise program tailored to your needs after a cancer diagnosis. Not only can an AEP address the commonly associated side effects of prostate cancer, but the exercise program can be adjusted to assist in the management of any other health concerns you may have.
If you’re wanting to start an exercise program and not sure where to start, stop by one of our Optimum Health Solutions locations and ask how we can help you!