Is Swimming Good for the Prostate?

1 in 4 American adults spends over 8 hours a day sitting. A sedentary lifestyle is such a predominant factor that can have multiple consequences on prostate health. 

According to experts, men who sit for too long have a 27% higher risk of prostate cancer. Swimming, on the other hand, has numerous merits to offer for the prostate gland. 

This low-impact exercise simultaneously builds cardio health and muscle strength. 

If you want to know more about the impact of swimming benefits on prostate health, then you’ve come to the right place. We compiled the most useful data that will answer all your queries. 

1 in 4 American adults spends over 8 hours a day sitting. A sedentary lifestyle is such a predominant factor that can have multiple consequences on prostate health. 

According to experts, men who sit for too long have a 27% higher risk of prostate cancer. Swimming, on the other hand, has numerous merits to offer for the prostate gland. 

This low-impact exercise simultaneously builds cardio health and muscle strength. If you want to know more about the impact of swimming benefits on prostate health, then you’ve come to the right place. 

We compiled the most useful data that will answer all your queries. 

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Is Swimming Good for the Prostate?

Incontinence is a known problem for men who’ve undergone prostatectomy. From 87% to 88% of patients develop incontinence for 6 months post-surgery. Whereas 44% to 45% have it for one year. 

As a prostate cancer survivor, it is normal to experience side effects from prostate cancer treatment. Hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and prostate surgery can result in physical and psychosocial adverse reactions. 

Typical negative physical problems include bowel dysfunction, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, muscle atrophy, and more. While psychosocial side effects include poor self-esteem, vitality, and sexual confidence. So, for many cancer survivors, reduced quality of life is a common problem. That’s where physical activity can help. According to experts, any aerobic exercise, whether it is swimming, jogging, or walking can prove helpful for patients with prostate cancer. 

Exercise can help them burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, thus, decreasing their risk of obesity and aggressiveness of cancer. Strength training is equally beneficial for the pelvic floor muscles. The enlarged prostate benefits from a strengthened pelvic floor. 

Working on these muscles can help support the sexual organ, bladder, and bowel function, each of which affects prostate cancer. Kegel exercise reduces urinary incontinence and enhances the quality of life. It is a highly valued non-pharmacological approach for patients. Those who need to train their pelvic floor muscle ultimately lead to better self-esteem and urine management. 

How Often Should Men Swim to Reap the Benefits?

It’s best to exercise at least 2.5 hours a week with five 30-min sessions. Swimming provides a moderate level of exercise, which is a great option for burning calories and engaging multiple muscles of the human body. 

Although many aerobic exercises can be helpful, men with this kind of cancer are advised to avoid prolonged bicycling. The exercise is known to add pressure on the perineal area, which is right between the anus and scrotum. Since the pelvic floor muscles need training after prostate cancer, avoiding putting pressure on that area can be very beneficial. 

The most practical routine is the one that emphasizes strength training. Any prostate exercise that focuses on pelvic floor muscle training is a viable alternative. It will boost bone density, muscle mass and reduce body fat. Strength training (also known as resistance exercise) relies on machines, weights, and bands. This physical activity makes use of resistance training for muscular contraction to build skeletal muscles. 

Doing a balance exercise can also prove useful. This includes:

  • standing on one foot, 

  • doing a pelvic floor tilt, 

  • bridge, etc. 

It can amplify coordination, which will become a key factor when training the pelvic muscles. 

Other Benefits of Swimming for the Prostate

Exercise becomes a key strategy for keeping health in check when dealing with benign prostatic hyperplasia or advanced prostate cancer. Physical activity may help patients cope with the side effects of prostate cancer treatment. It can also reduce the possibility of developing new cancer in the future. 

But, sitting too long can lead to loss of body function, change in body composition, poor range of motion, and muscle weakness. Although there isn’t enough research on whether swimming can halt disease progression, it can provide other benefits. 

These swimming benefits include:

  • Better brain and body function

  • Improved range of motion

  • Amplified bone health

  • Decreased prostate cancer mortality rate

It’s no secret that aerobic exercise has many merits. Swimming may provide a unique boost in brain health. When paired with a regular pelvic floor exercise, it can improve mood, immune response, and cognition. For some people, it can alleviate stress and keep the central nervous system in great shape. 

While swimming won’t stretch the body as much as pilates or yoga, it lengthens the muscles that stimulate the joints and boost recovery. In the pool, you should remain straight so that you will be stretching the entire body. 

Based on a randomized controlled trial, swimming increases bone density and strengthens muscles. Protecting and managing bone health is vital for all prostate cancer stages. Androgen deprivation therapy leads to quickened bone resorption, which can compromise bone mass. Androgen deprivation can affect any prostate cancer patient. So, androgen suppression is here to suppress the male androgen hormones and stop them from fueling the cancer cells. 

What the research says

According to a 2020 clinical trial, exercise training proved beneficial during active radiotherapy treatment in cancer patients. It seems to be an efficient and key component in counteracting the side effects of cancer treatment. 

Exercise intervention after cancer treatment can help with nocturia. Research shows that men who were active over 1 hour a week were 13% less likely to experience nocturia. This makes prostate exercise a great option for a BPH patient. 

Another study talked about swimming benefits after a prostate cancer diagnosis. This aerobic exercise reduced the overall mortality rate in patients with prostate cancer. Swimming for 3 hours or more a week could significantly boost the cancer-specific survival rate after a cancer diagnosis. 

The pelvic floor will go through many changes after receiving cancer treatment, whether to manage localized prostate cancer or halt cancer progression. Prostate cancer treatment causes complications. It disrupts urinary function, bowels, and erectile function. 

For instance, radical prostatectomy can damage the nerves and blood vessels that control erections. In prostatectomy, although rare, men can experience a change in bowel function. 

With metastatic prostate cancer, people can have abdominal swelling. As well as shortness of breath and susceptibility to bone fractures. To counteract these effects, patients can pick an exercise they like to work on their pelvic floor. After getting the prostate in check, prostate exercise, like swimming, becomes a critical component in their day-to-day lives. 

According to experts, commencing a supervised exercise like resistance or aerobic training when starting androgen deprivation therapy can drastically reduce treatment toxicity. Exercise can also improve mental health and social functioning. These are all fundamental components in cancer management. 

Conclusion

The value of aerobic physical activities and pelvic floor training is crucial for prostate health. Men who have to treat their prostate cancer often have to face numerous challenges after treating their prostate. 

Swimming is here to give the prostate a boost in the right direction. It can help burn calories and manage weight gain. When excess weight no longer puts pressure on the prostate or pelvic floor, it is easier to control the urinary problems. 

Besides, swimming has a lot to offer after dealing with cancer. It keeps the brain and body working properly. It also amplifies the range of motion and bone health. These are all very important for the pelvic floor after cancer. 

Another thing to remember is that swimming can calm nocturia and decrease the mortality rate from this type of cancer. 

Given its wide range of uses, it’s no wonder why it makes for a practical choice. But, to give the pelvic floor a good boost, it is best to focus on resistance training. After treating cancer, the pelvic floor often needs some extra help. 

Talk to your doctor about what exercises to use to train the pelvic floor. They can provide you with some practical options for managing pelvic floor problems.

Next Up

Exercises for Men with Prostate Problems

Find out The Best Exercises For Men With Prostate Problems.

Sources

  1. Lynch BM, Friedenreich CM, Kopciuk KA, Hollenbeck AR, Moore SC, Matthews CE. Sedentary behavior and prostate cancer risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012010/
  2. Jalalinia SF, Raei M, Naseri-Salahshour V, Varaei S. The Effect of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strengthening Exercise on Urinary Incontinence and Quality of Life in Patients after Prostatectomy: a Randomized Clinical Trial. J Caring Sci. 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146723/
  3. Piraux E, Caty G, Aboubakar Nana F, Reychler G. Effects of exercise therapy in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment: a narrative review. SAGE Open Med. 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7301662/
  4. Wolin KY, Grubb RL 3rd, Pakpahan R, et al. Physical activity and benign prostatic hyperplasia-related outcomes and nocturia. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4342314/
  5. Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, Chan JM. Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professionals follow-up study. J Clin Oncol. 2011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21205749/
  6. Cormie P, Galvão DA, Spry N, Joseph D, Chee R, Taaffe DR, Chambers SK, Newton RU. Can supervised exercise prevent treatment toxicity in patients with prostate cancer initiating androgen-deprivation therapy: a randomised controlled trial. BJU Int. 2015. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24467669/
Alternative Text

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Founder of ZayedMD, Dr. Ahmed believes in making the knowledge as accessible as possible to patients. He had his work featured in reputable publications such as The Huffington Post. Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends​ his time outside the hospital at the gym or with a good book.

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