Exercise

Is Exercise Good for an Enlarged Prostate?

According to the American Cancer Society, not being active is a crucial factor that can increase a person’s risk of cancer risk.

When you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are making a significant impact on your health in the long run.

Fortunately, regular exercise offers a staggering number of benefits for both your physical and mental health.

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

It also helps to reduce weight and prevent obesity.

All in all, exercise is a vital foundation for health and one that should not be taken for granted.

Can exercise reduce prostate size?

Countless studies have shown that exercise can prevent prostate enlargement and help to manage BPH symptoms.

A meta-analysis involving 43,083 men looked at the relationship between physical activity and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The results suggested that men undertaking moderate or vigorous physical activity were less likely to develop BPH compared with prolonged sedentary time.

This was further examined in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. Italian researchers reviewed occupational and recreational activity levels of 1,369 men with BPH and 1,451 men without it.

The results showed that men who had physically active jobs were 30% to 40% less likely to develop BPH.

It was also determined that men who engaged in five or more hours of exercise a week were 30% to 50% less likely to develop BPH than men who exercised less than two hours a week.

But most impressive of all. The men who had the highest levels of both occupational and recreational physical activity were 60% less likely to develop the condition.

Following this, it is essential to be aware that an enlarged prostate BPH also has a strong association with the metabolic syndrome.

The metabolic syndrome includes abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and hypertension.

Metabolic syndrome increases IGF-1 and inflammation, which may lead to prostate growth.

Obesity is the main component of the metabolic syndrome and is strongly linked with BPH. Making changes to your lifestyle, through diet and exercise, could significantly reduce your risk of developing an enlarged prostate.

For example, in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the male participants underwent prostate examinations and body composition measurements between 1992 and 2002.

There was a correlation between increasing BMI and increasing prostate volume. Elevated fasting blood sugar levels and diabetes were also linked with prostate enlargement.

By maintaining a healthy weight, studies have indicated that weight loss can improve urinary function in obese men.

More clinical trials are required to determine the direct effects of exercise on prostate size. But it is clear that regular exercise reduces the risk of BPH.

Can exercise reduce prostate cancer risk?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, with 1 in 9 men being diagnosed throughout their lifetime.

While it is more common in older men over the age of 65, younger men can also fall victim to it. But, by taking specific steps and making changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk

The link between lifestyle and prostate health has been a somewhat underestimated one.

Instead of prescribing lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, the norm is to prescribe drugs.

These drugs may help the problem for a little while, but the results are not sustainable. The symptoms are hidden rather than treated, and the root of the problem remains.

Yet, emerging studies have highlighted the link between physical activity and prostate health. A large number have indicated that exercise can reduce prostate cancer risk.

A retrospective questionnaire-based study of 988 cancer patients (T2 or higher) and 1,063 controls found that vigorous physical activity and physical activity over the first 18 years of life decreased cancer risk.

There is also evidence that as well as reducing the risk of prostate cancer, exercise can improve the quality of life for men who have prostate cancer.

A study reviewed more than 1,400 men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. It found that men who walked briskly for at least three hours a week were 57% less likely to have their cancer progress.

A recent study published in BMJ Open suggests that men with early prostate cancer may have more prolonged survival the more they exercise.

For these men, regular moderate or vigorous exercise was associated with a 3% to 37% lower likelihood of death compared to modest amounts of activity.

How exercise reduces prostate cancer risk

So, we know that exercise helps to reduce prostate cancer risk…but the big question is, how? Here are five ways exercise reduces your prostate cancer risk.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is one of the significant risk factors for aggressive and advanced prostate cancer. It is estimated that about 20% of all cancers are related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

As discussed, physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body weight, which is very important because excess body weight increases estrogen and inflammation, which contribute to prostate diseases.

Research also shows a correlation between increases in body weight and an increase in prostate size.

A study published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy found that patients who experienced weight loss also underwent decreased prostate volume. It is believed that the evidence indicates that BMI and prostate volume are related.

The study demonstrated that patients with metabolic syndrome after treatment of the prostate volume had been significantly reduced, and after weight loss treatment, the prostate volume has reduced more.

So based on this study, it is thought that obesity plays a role in prostatic hyperplasia.

As we age, it becomes harder to find the motivation to exercise, and so we gradually put on the pounds. But, it is never too late to begin exercising.

Muscle mass

Having a healthy amount of muscle mass will help you in a myriad of ways. First, building muscle will help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.

Since muscle burns more calories than fat, you will burn more calories all the time, even when resting. Hitting the gym will also help keep you from being too sedentary.

Maintaining muscle mass will also keep you stronger and less likely to become frailer as you age. Like losing weight, it is never too late to begin building muscle mass.

Older men can begin doing bodyweight exercises and use resistance bands to help them become stronger and healthier.

Bone health

Exercise is a great way to improve bone health. As you age, your bones deteriorate, becoming more prone to breaks and inflammation.

To prevent this, it’s important to do weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and weight lifting. This will keep your bones strong, dense, and healthy.

Having good bone health is a great way to prevent the spread of cancer. Prostate cancer can spread to your bones, which makes it much more challenging to treat.

If you develop cancer, you will experience fewer side effects from prostate cancer treatment if your bones are healthy and robust.

Inflammation

Inflammation causes cancer and can lead to its progression. Inflammation can be caused by chronic diseases, viruses, and infections. Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for many different types of cancer.

One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is to exercise. When you exercise, you move the blood and tissues in your body. As a result, blood and oxygen are being pumped throughout your body.

Regularly exercising helps to keep your weight in check. This, in turn, keeps your body fat percentage down. Inflammation is much more likely to happen in fat, so having less is better.

Destress

Reducing stress is an integral part of cancer prevention. High levels of stress and anxiety impair the body’s immune system. This prevents it from fighting off disease and illness.

When diagnosed with a prostate problem, it’s normal to experience a range of emotions.

From stress and anxiety, fear, and even anger. This can lead to prostate disease worsening due to the immune system being unable to fight it.

As a result of stress, our bodies release a series of hormones, primarily adrenaline, cortisol, insulin, and many neurotransmitters.

Adrenaline increases anabolic processes, and metabolic stress inside our cells, and cortisol promotes hypertropia and cell multiplication.

They may also have a long-term effect by changing the way our cells use their DNA, which creates cancer cells in the long run.

Similarly, insulin promotes cell multiplication and oxidative stress, which contributes to various health problems in the prostate and other organs.

A research team at Ohio State University found a link between stress and the spread of cancer cells.

This includes prostate cancer. Their research shows that stress triggers a “master switch” gene in the body known as ATF3. This is expressed in all types of cells as a response to stressful conditions.

The gene usually causes normal and benign cells to self-destruct if they have been damaged. But the research suggests that cancer cells coax the immune system to release ATF3 for them to travel around the body and infect other areas.

With stressful conditions being the most likely trigger for the release of this gene, the research shows that stress causes cancer to worsen and spread.

Exercise is one of the best ways to lower stress naturally. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that make you feel happy and calm.

You will also sleep more and feel better when you exercise, eliminating stress.

For more information on how stress affects prostate cancer, click here.

What type of exercise is good for the prostate?

Resistance training

Resistance training, also known as strength training, can play an essential role in maintaining prostate health.

It helps to increase your muscle mass and reduce excess body weight, which, in turn, may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Types of strength training include weight training, push-ups, and pull-ups. However, it should be noted that abdominal crunches (sit-ups) may aggravate leakage that is due to stress incontinence.

Studies have shown that men who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Physical activity is also associated with better survival for men who have prostate cancer, with research highlighting that around three hours of vigorous exercise a week may significantly improve prostate cancer survival.

Furthermore, treatments for prostate cancer, such as hormone therapy, can harm your body, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass.

Resistance training can effectively counteract these side effects of treatment.

Pooled studies reviewing the effect of resistance training in prostate cancer patients showed significant improvements in muscular strength in the upper and lower body.

Furthermore, significant improvements were seen for body composition.

Overall the researchers concluded that RE seems to be a promising approach to counteract the loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance in patients who have prostate cancer and its treatment-related side effects.

For more information on resistance training, click here.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercise is any continuous exercise that gets your heart and lungs working hard, such as cycling, swimming, or even just walking at a brisk pace.

You need to make your heartbeat rise to at least 85% of the maximum. The maximum heart rate goes down as we age, so in the case of a 65-year-old man, this would be around 135 beats a minute or double your resting heart rate.

Doctors recommend that men should follow the Department of Health’s general activity guidelines. These suggest that all adults should aim for at least one of the following:

  • 2 ½ hours of moderate activity every week.

     

  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity spread across the week.

     

  • a combination of both moderate and intensive.

It is recommended that we undertake 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week causes your calorie expenditure to increase during the workout and for a few hours after the workout.

By incorporating aerobic exercises into your regime, your body burns calories at your RMR plus the additional calories needed to fuel the aerobic exercise.

A Cochrane review found that “aerobic exercise can be regarded as beneficial for individuals with cancer-related fatigue during and post-cancer therapy.”

Kegel exercises (Pelvic Floor Exercises)

Kegel Exercises are very popular with women preparing and recovering from childbirth. However, if you think that Kegel exercises are just for women, that’s where you’re wrong.

According to a study, there are plenty of known benefits that these special exercises can provide, especially to men.

But before embarking on Kegel exercises, you should learn about the benefits and know how to do it the right way.

Kegel exercises are specifically designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles. These muscles make sure that the bladder, rectum, as well as the small intestines are all in place.

When these muscles are weak, incontinence from urine and feces may increase.

This is also a non-invasive treatment for men with impotence or erectile dysfunction. Kegel exercises are easy to follow, and you can do them anytime, anywhere!

Why do pelvic muscles become weak?

The pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by:

 

  • Damage to the nerves of your pelvic floor muscles (by disease, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy).

     

     

  • Continual straining to empty the bowels, usually due to constipation.

     

     

  • Persistent heavy lifting.

What are the benefits of Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises host a range of health benefits for men, especially when it comes to prostate health.

The prostate gland can be found under the bladder, surrounding the urethra.

The urethra is a tube that carries urine through the penis out of the body.

During prostate treatment, the muscles surrounding the prostate can become weakened, resulting in urine leakage and even incontinence.

By building up you’re the strength of your prostate and pelvic muscles, you enjoy many benefits including:

  • Improved Prostate Health. During a Kegel exercise, there will be an increase in blood flow to the male sex organ. With these exercises, it can help to build up a healthy prostate while keeping all the sexual organs functioning properly.

  • Prevents Faecal and Urinary Incontinence. This is one of the most important benefits of Kegel exercises for men. Aside from helping to prevent urinary incontinence, it also decreases the urge to urinate Faecal incontinence will also be minimized. This is commonly recommended for men who had just undergone prostate surgery.

  • Improved Sexual Function. With Kegel exercises, it can make men’s erections last longer. This is beneficial to those who have sexual dysfunction. Kegel exercises can improve erectile function, control premature ejaculation, and intensify orgasm in men.

For more information on pelvic floor exercises, click here.

How to do Kegel exercises: Locating the muscles

If this is your first time doing the exercises, it will be best if you are lying down on your back. This will relax your muscles, preventing them from fighting against gravity.

You can start by contracting your muscles while slowly counting up to five. Then release the muscles while slowly counting to five again.

Repeat this ten times. Remember that a set of 10 Kegels can be done three times a day.

Kegel exercises are straightforward to do. Once you determine the correct muscle, you can start doing these exercises.

One of the most effective ways to locate the muscles is while urinating. When you are halfway through urination, stop or slow down the flow of your urine.

Remember not to tense your buttocks or your legs and abdomen. Also, take note to keep breathing calmly. When you have successfully slowed down or stopped your urine, you will be able to hit the target muscle.

Like any other exercise, it takes time. You have to be patient and do not stop your Kegel exercises. The improvements may show in the third or sixth week.

It is best if you keep a record and track your urine leakage daily to help keep track of your improvement.

If one month passes and you don’t see any changes in the results, this means that you may not have located the correct muscles for the Kegel exercises.

If this happens, inform your urologist right away so you can be advised on how to hit the correct muscles successfully.

Make sure that you are consistent. Do the exercises at a scheduled time each day. Once you notice that your urine leakage has improved, then you are on the right track.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises are a type of exercise designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles around your bladder and penis.

They are of great benefit for men suffering from prostate problems, especially for those recovering after prostate surgery.

Sources

Can Exercise Reduce Prostate Size?

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Can Exercise Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk?

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How Exercise Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

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Types of Exercises

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  2. Gardner JR, Livingston PM, Fraser SF. Effects of exercise on treatment-related adverse effects for patients with prostate cancer receiving androgen-deprivation therapy: a systematic review. J Clin Oncol 2014;32:335–46.
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  4. Park J, Yoon DH, Yoo S, et al. Effects of Progressive Resistance Training on Post-Surgery Incontinence in Men with Prostate Cancer. J Clin Med. 2018;7(9):292. Published 2018 Sep 19. doi:10.3390/jcm7090292.

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