"Nuts to Guts" is just the beginning, why exercise is vital for men with Prostate Cancer.

Have you or someone you love had Prostate Cancer and don’t seem to have the energy and vitality you had before? This article could make a big difference to your life. 

Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men in Australia. Although it does have a high 5-year survival rate if diagnosed early, the ongoing effects from the treatment can have a significant impact on quality of life. 

Depending on the stage of the Prostate Cancer and the particular treatment that has been undertaken, these impacts can range from:

  • Fatigue and decreased energy levels
  • Reduced sexual function and urinary incontinence 
  • Loss of muscular mass and strength
  • Depression

However, there has been a huge amount of research done in this area over the past 5 years and the body of evidence is constantly expanding to show just how effective EXERCISE can be at negating these side effects both during the episode of treatment and into the future after it has finished. 

With the right advice and guidance, individually-tailored exercise during and after the treatment phase can:

  • Improve energy levels and combat treatment-related fatigue
  • Help to maintain and improve muscle strength and mass
  • Improve physical capacity to tolerate stronger treatment doses
  • Reduce depression and anxiety

Despite the mountain of evidence suggesting otherwise, it is frustrating to see many cancer patients STILL being told to rest and avoid exerting themselves during treatment. With the right guidance, exercise can make this uncomfortable time a much better experience for the patient and potentially increase their chances of a successful outcome. 

Now you might be wondering - what are the exercises you should be doing during this time? Read on to find out. 

It is not about a “miracle” or “best” exercise out there which will make everything better overnight,  instead there are particular types of exercise that when combined together, are particularly beneficial in this situation, they are:

  • Strength Training: otherwise known as resistance training, strength training is extremely important for men who have undergone a particular treatment known as ADT (Androgen Deprivation Therapy). This type of treatment limits the amount of testosterone in the body, which is vital to reducing the growth of prostate cancers, however also has a significant effect on overall muscle mass and growth. Strength training helps to maintain and improve muscle mass during this time to prevent complications within the many other bodily systems that require muscle mass to function. 
  • Cardiovascular exercise: is important in the management of side effects from treatment prostate cancer, such as fatigue, nausea and depression. The beauty of cardiovascular exercise is it’s range of intensities, meaning that when patients are feeling particularly unwell during their treatment, they are still able to engage in low intensity exercise such as walking or cycling. 
  • Pelvic Floor exercise: if required, men’s pelvic floor exercises are important both pre and post-surgery to limit the effect of this surgery on continence into the future. “Nuts to Guts” is a common term used to help men exercise this area but seeking expertise of a professional is recommended to ensure the muscles are worked effectively.

Prostate Cancer is often a very uncomfortable and isolating experience for men. However, there is mounting evidence to suggest that pairing with a trained professional, such as an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist, and working through an exercise program utilising the components above, can make a significant difference to quality of life.

One of our Exercise Physiologists, Tim, has recently completed a Professional Development course in prescribing exercise for men who have, or have had, Prostate Cancer.

If you can relate to any of the above information, and would like to know more. Get in touch with Tim through our clinic office on 8682 665 or send him an email tim@epphysioplus.com.

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