Exercise and Prostate Cancer: what you need to know

Postate cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed male cancers.  Like all the other cancers it’s caused by an uncontrollable growth of mis-shaped cells that have the potential to spread to the rest of the body.  Over the recent years research has shown that a healthy lifestyle including and lots of activity and proper nutrition can both lower the chances of prostate cancer and assist in both treatment and remission.  A review of 40 studies over the past 30 years  showed that higher activity levels have a small but significant on the reduction of development of prostate cancer.  Another study looked at activities like swimming, jogging, tennis, or high intensity exercise and weight lifting for a minimum of three hours a week reduced the rates of mortality of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Vigorous physical activity has been shown to modify approximately 180 prostate cancer related genes!

The biggest question people ask is what type of exercise is the best when looking at the reduction, treatment, and remission of prostate cancer and all other cancers?  Ultimately the research shows that any activity that allows a person to maintain a pace where you are breathing rapidly and can only talk in short sentences for upwards of 20 minutes at a time.  At Blitz, we always talk in relative exertion levels like pace of breath and and exertion between 1 and 10 because it’s easier for people to measure instead of heart rate and other numeric measurements.  Our bodies also change over time and the relative perceived exertion also changes with it since we adapt and get stronger.  There has been some recent evidence showing that group exercise is better than exercising by yourself because of better accountability and the ability to push harder.  The ultimate goal is to adopt a healthy lifestyle with a lot of activity and proper nutrition.

The issue in most studies is that they simply look at one variable alone like exercise or nutrition and not at lifestyle.  For instance, the research articles that were quote above don’t look at what lifestyle the more active people have adopted compared to the rest.  The people who exercise more are most likely to eat more healthier and probably spend more time moving during the day.  Whereas the people who don’t exercise are most likely to be eating more fatty foods and also moving far less.  Recently it’s been found that our lifestyles as a whole are less active.  We move less during the day because most of our jobs are at desks, and our social activities and rest times are spent sitting or not moving.  We need to move more.  We need to spend less of our free time in front of TV’s,at restaurants or bars and more time participating in active communities.  We may not be able to control your activity levels while at work (aside from going for a walk during coffee breaks and lunch breaks) but you can certainly control what you do before and after work.  Make it a discipline to be active with your family and friends and your body will thank you!

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About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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