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Sports for prostate cancer: is it possible or not?

The benefits of exercise for prostate cancer go beyond just keeping your body fit.

Patients with confirmed prostate cancer can and should exercise during and after cancer treatment. According to experts, physical activity will help men live longer, improve their quality of life and alleviate some of the side effects of cancer therapy.

According to Mohamed Allaf, vice president of the urology department of the Medical Center. D. Hopkins in Baltimore, patients with prostate cancer always benefit from a physical activity regimen. The vast majority of men can usually play sports without any problems. The main thing, of course, is not to overdo it.

Why physical activity is so important for prostate cancer

The positive impact of sport on cancer patients is undeniable. According to statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS), today more than 3 million Americans are living with prostate cancer. That's about one in nine people in the United States. This type of disease is sluggish, so many patients prefer not to be actively treated, but to be observed for a long time.

If the disease develops quickly and the patient wants to get rid of the tumor as quickly as possible, oncologists most often prescribe surgery, hormonal therapy (also called androgen deprivation therapy), or radiation therapy. Sometimes a combination of the three above methods is considered optimal.
Exercise, according to the American College of Cardiology, helps protect a patient from cancer treatment relapses such as heart disease, shortness of breath, etc. For example, androgen deprivation therapy (one of the main methods of treating prostate cancer) is implemented by reducing testosterone levels. This allows you to stop tumor growth, but at the same time leads to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Sports activities are also recommended for patients with indolent forms of cancer. Thanks to constant maintenance of good physical shape, a man keeps his body weight level at a stable level, without sudden changes. This stability often helps keep the cancer from rapidly progressing.

Benefits of exercise for prostate cancer

Research shows that exercise is essential for people suffering from prostate cancer. Through physical activity during and after treatment:

1. The number and intensity of side effects after surgery are reduced. Although surgery to remove a prostate tumor is performed using laparoscopy, the formation of a hernia, bedsores, and other postoperative relapses is still possible. Trained people demonstrate faster recovery, better mobility and regeneration.

2. The likelihood of developing urinary incontinence after radiation or prostate surgery is reduced. According to a review published in the November 2019 issue of Clinical Interventions in Aging, athletes have stronger pelvic floor muscles, which has a positive impact on the patient's condition.


How to do Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are an effective way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance recommends doing them as follows:

1. Lie down comfortably or sit in a chair.

2. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles using the same contraction you would use to stop the flow of urine. Try to isolate the muscles without straining your abs or anus.

3. Hold your muscles tense for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat five times.

4. Do this exercise three times a day.

3. Provides improved bone structure. According to a 2006 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, high-intensity resistance exercise may improve bone mass in people undergoing hormone therapy.

4. Improves the overall emotional state of the patient.

According to a review published in January 2012 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, exercise is an excellent way to cope with depression about prostate cancer.

Is it dangerous to exercise if you have prostate cancer?

  1. Dr. Allaf says that careful exercise without overexertion is beneficial in all stages of prostate cancer. And there is almost no reason to stop physical activity. It is important to be reasonable and monitor your condition.
  2. For example, according to Dr. Allaf, men who have just had prostate cancer surgery should not ride a bike for about six to eight weeks to avoid pain and inflammation. But you shouldn’t give up on sports: “Exercise promotes overall resilience, which helps you move forward.”
  3. It is important for both people undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and those in remission to create an exercise plan. Moreover, this plan must correspond to the current physical condition of the patient. According to Chris Dobroselski, a specialist at the American Council on Physical Activity (San Diego, USA), if a patient overdoes it, he may face a number of physiological problems, such as orthopedic injuries. Therefore, the plan developed should be reasonable and include a gradual increase in the volume and intensity of exercise over a set period.
  4. To develop a training routine, you need to work with a physical therapist or other certified trainer, who will coordinate the training plan with your doctor.

The Best Sports for Prostate Cancer Patients

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men with prostate cancer consume:
150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise;

75 to 150 minutes of intense exercise per week.

According to Dr. Allaf, patients who have undergone cancer treatment should begin to walk immediately after treatment. The load should be increased gradually, various types of aerobic exercises should be included in the training program, as well as weight training and stretching exercises.

The following sports are suitable for people with prostate cancer:

1. Aerobics (cardio training).

running or jogging;
a ride on the bicycle;
elliptical training;

2. Strength training.
power training;
weight training;
weight bearing exercises.

3. Stretching exercises.
tai chi;

K. Dobrosielski says stretching exercises can be especially helpful for people undergoing cancer treatment. "When you're sitting in a chair or lying on a couch," he says. “Muscles become tense or shortened, so stretching or yoga can help lengthen muscles, open joints and increase comfort.”

Dobroselsky also recommends that people who have been diagnosed with cancer exercise outdoors. But provided that the attending physician gives the go-ahead. And he notes that if you don’t have enough energy for training, then you shouldn’t strain yourself. You need to strive for the best, not the ideal result.

“There may be days when you can't go for a run or even a short walk. This is normal,” he says. “On days like these, try to just go outside or at least stay away from the TV or mobile phone.”

Precautionary measures

People who are undergoing drug or radiation treatment for prostate cancer need help during exercise from a physical therapist, personal trainer, family member or friend. Because during exercise you may feel dizzy or feel weak and powerless. A training partner can help you overcome these conditions and get you home or to the hospital.

Another reason to hire a trainer or physical therapist is to provide companionship that can help you process the past and focus on your dreams and goals.


Занятия спортом приносят не только физическую пользу, но и помогают справиться с эмоциональной составляющей лечения. В любом случае процесс должен проходить под контролем опытного врача. За профессиональной помощью в лечении онкологических заболеваний contact OncoCare Clinic 308.

Author of the article:

Aleksanyan Aleksan Zavenovich

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