Updated Exercise Advice for Men with Prostate Cancer

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Not so long ago, some doctors discouraged men with prostate cancer from exercising. But that thinking has changed. In general, all men living with cancer who can exercise should be encouraged to do so, in a way that feels safe and comfortable for them.

Research has clearly demonstrated that regular exercise prevents premature death from all causes, and even light forms of exercise, like walking, may be helpful. A novel finding, originally reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2011, was that regular, vigorous exercise-that is, an activity that increases your heart rate, such as brisk walking or jogging-appears to be beneficial in terms of preventing death from prostate cancer. For this study, the investigators followed 2,705 men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer between 1990 and 2008 and found that those who engaged in vigorous exercise for at least three hours a week had a 61 percent lower risk of dying of prostate cancer compared with men who had less than one hour per week of vigorous physical activity.

In a separate study published in Cancer Research, the same researchers reported a similar benefit from brisk walking in preventing progression of prostate cancer in men with localized disease.

Subsequently, several other large epidemiologic studies reported similar benefits of exercise in men with prostate cancer.