Can Pilates Help Prevent Prostate Cancer?

Physical inactivity is a serious concern in cancer patients.

Even though it has well-established therapeutic and preventive effects, not many people are willing to exercise.

About 1 in 4 men don’t do enough exercising to remain healthy. 

This lack of physical activity went up by 5% from 2001 to 2006 in high-income countries.

Different types of exercises, like a pilates practice, have many benefits and can play a crucial role in supporting the maintenance and development of a physically active lifestyle. 

A pilates routine might also become a sound strategy in managing and preventing prostate cancer.

Some experts recommend pilates moves to cancer patients. Especially those who are struggling with prostate cancer or post-surgery. Here is why.

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Pilates, What Is It Exactly? 

A pilates workout is a low-impact physical activity designed to strengthen the muscles, boost flexibility, and better posture.

Each move is targeted at the core muscle while working with other areas of the human body.

You can perform this activity with or without pilates equipment. 

Different pilates classes

A typical pilates session can last anywhere around 45 min to 1 hour. You can also choose different pilates classes.

Reformer classes

These are best for improving back pain, bone density, balance, core strength, injury recovery, etc.

With a pilates reformer, you can obtain adequate muscle engagement and physical performance. 

Mat exercises

This is a practice done on a mat. The movements that come with mat pilates center around planks and building core and muscle strength. It is suitable for ensuring proper alignment. 

With pilates training, you can expect precise and slow movements paired with adequate breath control.

Most people don’t realize pilates is not just a simple stretch but a full-body exercise. It is about setting the foundation for a stronger and better stabilized core body, improved posture, and mobility. 

6 Benefits of Pilates

According to the National Health Service, countless reports can show the benefits of pilates. But, very few were subject to large-scale studies. Therefore, more research is necessary to evaluate its full impact. 

Overall, practitioners experience better muscle tone, joint mobility, and stress reduction. Since the workout can develop whole-body strength, it’s no wonder why so many people want to try it.

Here is a detailed outlook on the benefits of pilates you should know. 

1) Builds Stronger and Longer Muscles

When there is a muscle imbalance, one side of the muscle becomes weaker, stronger, smaller, or bigger than the other. This hinders normal function and movement.

A pilates exercise uses muscle contraction to build strength. The muscle elongates as a result of the tension. 

A 2015 report stated that pilates efficiently strengthens the lower body, upper body, and abdominal muscles, predominantly in postmenopausal women.

Different research published similar reports by also stating that it helped the body maintain postural balance, strength in the lower body, and better quality of life. 

2) Ensures Better Range of Motion

Many young people, particularly adolescents, have poor flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Instead of exercising, they like to spend more time staying cooped up at home. With regular pilates movement, people can work on their body and fitness in more ways than one.

The truth is, it is hard not to notice the impact of increased flexibility. When the body has a poor range of motion, people tend to experience joint discomfort and pain. With a simple pilates movement, they can stretch any muscle and give the joints the boost they need. 

Pilates stretching keeps every muscle healthy, strong, and flexible. As a result, the workout can ease the tension and allow the weak muscles of the body to extend.

Based on a 2015 study, pilates during physical training proved highly beneficial in elderly patients for boosting flexibility.  

3) Provides Better Core Strength and Posture

The core strength comes from the core muscles. These are the deep muscles in the body located in the pelvis, back, and abdomen.

With the help of a pilates teacher, you get to try a workout tailored towards supporting these muscles and providing you with a good posture and movement patterns.

The stronger the core gets, the better the support of the frame of the body. That’s why it makes for a good choice for those struggling with poor posture. 

4) Supplies the Body With Energy

Since you will be focusing on your breathing when exercising in a pilates studio, you will have an easier time stimulating the body to exercise more. Mastering the proper breathing technique helps supply the system with energy and makes the physical activity a lot more bearable. 

Even though pilates is a low-impact exercise, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be saving your energy.

On the contrary, to get the most of the workout program, you should focus on your breathing to amplify your routine.

5) Supports Weight Loss

Better flexibility is not the only benefit when it comes to pilates. There are other physical benefits you will notice by paying attention to pilates.

Just like with any exercise, pilates can help you shed excess pounds. Whether you use yoga or pair it with another technique, you can notice a change in body shape.

After some time, you may also notice that you perfected proper breathing while working on every muscle group. 

6) Relaxes the Mind

Similar to yoga, pilates coordinates the spirit, mind, and body. Those who perfect the main principles of this fitness, such as concentration, centering, flow, breath, precision, and control, can have an easier time relaxing the mind and body. 

Practical Pilates Exercises to Try

When it comes to prostate cancer prevention or physical therapy after prostate surgery, your primary focus would be to work on your pelvic floor. This sits under the bowel and bladder. After the surgery, people can develop various problems, such as leaking and an urgent need to urinate. 

So, to experience some improvement, people would need a pilates method that strengthens the lower body and posture.

Here are a few options that may prove useful. 

Pilates: Scissors 

For this posture, you will need a mat and normal pelvic and shoulder stability. 

Step-by-step guide:

1) Lay down on a mat.

2) Place both hands on the lower back and feel the weight of the shoulders.

3) Bring the knees towards the chest and roll the hips off the mat. 

4) Push the lower body upwards and lift the buttocks and legs off the floor until you achieve a diagonal position. 

5) Scissor the legs by keeping the pelvis stable. 

6) Keep moving the legs a couple of times. 

7) When you finish, bring the legs overhead and carefully roll them down. 

8) Once you regain your control, you can restore your body to the starting position. 

Pilates: Shoulder Bridge

The shoulder bridge is often the easiest position and a staple when it comes to boosting posture.

To begin, lay on the back by placing the soles of the feet on a comfortable mat. Then, bend the knees and lift the pelvis. All you have to do is maintain this posture for a short time to work with the glutes and abs. 

Pilates: Lunge

This is another favorite among pilates enthusiasts. It strengthens the gluteal, quadriceps, and hamstrings muscles.

Start with a regular stand with the legs in a parallel position. Bend the left knee and take a step with the right leg. Bend the right leg at a 90-degree angle. Then move the body to an average starting position and repeat the process with the other leg. 

To know the connection between exercise and prostate cancer prevention, you need to be more aware of your physical fitness and strength training.

According to experts, the more active you are, the easier it is for the body to reduce the risk of many cancers. Such as uterine, colorectal, and breast cancer. 

Although there is no definite link between pilates and prostate cancer prevention, exercising can help you maintain normal body weight and decrease the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.

Pilates is here to regulate body weight since obesity can increase the risk of cancer. 

It can also stabilize hormone levels and quicken digestion. Besides, pilates can strengthen the pelvis and tighten the muscles. Therefore, it can come in handy for those who recently had prostate surgery. 

How Useful Are Pilates Exercises in Prostate Cancer Prevention?

It isn’t easy to say. There is no exact estimate, but activating the deep muscles of the pelvis could decrease the possibility of prostate cancer. As well as prevent urinary leakage and poor urinary function in patients who recently had prostate surgery. 

What Experts Have to Say

Scientists have only evaluated the benefits of exercise as a whole, not just pilates or yoga.

Based on their limited reports, any such activity could reduce the risk factor associated with mortality, morbidity, and incidence due to prostate cancer.

They identified 17 different studies that evaluated the effect of physical activity on the development of prostate carcinoma. 

Other Ways to Avoid Prostate Cancer

No guaranteed method will help people avoid the disease. However, some strategies can work to reduce the likelihood of experiencing this cancer. The main factors that can help are changing the lifestyle and diet.

Altering your eating habits will provide the body with proper nutrient intake. You should focus on eating more veggies, fruits, less fat, and charred meat. 

Limiting the alcohol intake can keep the body in excellent shape. Don’t forget to cut back on salt and sugar intake to get the desired result. All of these lifestyle changes have an essential role to play in reducing the risk of prostate carcinoma. 

Conclusion

Overall, physical activity can be helpful in cancer patients or survivors.

Light movements, like pilates, have many benefits and can restore energy, function, quality of life and ease fatigue.

Despite the limited research, it seems that doing the exercise with a pilates instructor has enough benefits to help those who need to work on their body awareness and muscular imbalances.  

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Sources

  1. Hao Luo. (2019). Sport Medicine in the Prevention and Management of Cancer. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913064/
  2. S A Oliveria. (1997). Is exercise beneficial in the prevention of prostate cancer?. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9181665/
  3. Ballon-Landa E, Parsons JK. (2018) Nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle factors in prostate cancer prevention. Curr Opin Urol. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29049045/
  4. Biró K, Géczi L. (2019) A mozgás szerepe a prosztatarák megelõzésében és kezelésében [The role of exercise in prostate cancer prevention and treatment]. Magy Onkol. 2019 Mar 19;63(1):60-64. Hungarian. Epub. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30889622/
  5. Matsushita M, Fujita K, Nonomura N. (2020) Influence of Diet and Nutrition on Prostate Cancer. Int J Mol Sci. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32093338/

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