A healthy, active lifestyle has been shown to be an important factor in a happy and productive life, and it can help maintain prostate health.
Several scientific investigations indicate that even a few hours of exercise a week can improve prostate health. Regular physical activity may also help keep prostate enlargement from getting worse and even help prevent some prostate disorders from developing.
Exercise and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged, causing repeated urination with a poor urinary stream.
One of the first studies on physical activity and BPH, conducted in 1998, was based on the responses of over 30,000 men to a questionnaire on benign prostatic hyperplasia. The study concluded that men who were more physically active were less likely to have BPH. Even moderate physical activity, like walking regularly at average speed, provided benefits. Walking just three hours per week may provide you with a reduction of 10% in the risk of developing BPH.
The researchers also concluded that men who led sedentary lives – for example, spending 40 hours a week watching television or playing video games – were twice as likely to develop symptoms of BPH as men who spent only 5 hours a week engaged in these passive activities.
Exercise and prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a big issue: Studies suggest that up to one in six men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Scientific evidence shows that men with prostate cancer can also benefit from walking. Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study of 1,455 men with prostate cancer. The researchers found that men who walked at a higher than average speed for three hours a week or more, had a 57% lower rate of their cancer progressing, than men who were considerably less active.
Investigators concluded that these results showed that brisk walking had significant clinical benefits for patients. Raising your heart rate, as you do when walking or engaging in moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise, is highly beneficial in keeping prostate cancer from getting worse.
How much should you walk?
How much exercise do you need when facing prostate problems? What should you do in addition to walking? There is no specific fitness program focused on prostate cancer or BPH, but walking 30 minutes may be the important first step to establish regular, beneficial physical activities and to help keep prostate conditions in check.
Be sure to get in touch with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
At Urologic Surgeons of Arizona, our goal is to provide the best urologic care and treatment to patients with a variety of urological problems ranging from cancer, kidney stones, BPH, and urinary incontinence. Using the latest treatment options, Dr. Kashif Alvi is a Harvard trained urologist with expertise in robotic surgery. To learn more about prostate health, call the office of Urologic Surgeons of Arizona at (480) 409-5060 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.