Exercise pre-treatment, during and in the recovery of prostate cancer is hugely important. As well as lowering your risk of recurrence, exercise can help manage and gain control of any treatment and cancer related side effects.
Exercise can help you manage negative treatment related side effects including weight gain, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, hot flushes, incontinence and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
It improves your cardiovascular capacity meaning you don’t get out of breath so easily.
It can reduce blood pressure, consequently reducing your risk of co-morbidities such as heart disease and type two diabetes.
Keeps bones strong and builds muscle mass.
Reduces body fat.
Maintains immune functioning. Protecting you from infection and chemical toxins.
Improves mood and lowers anxiety.
This blog goes over some exercise recommendations for people with prostate cancer and a few of our best tips to help you #bounceback!
Resistance exercise/ strengthening exercises
Resistance training commonly known as strength or weight training refers to any exercise that involves you lifting or pulling against a resistance. This includes exercises with dumbbells, resistance bands, machine weights or your body weight.
Resistance training has been found to be beneficial in combating treatment related side effects including loss of muscle mass and strength, fatigue and declining physical function.
When practicing strengthening exercises take part in exercises that involve the seven different functional movements. This will ensure you are working all body parts: Push, pull, hinge, rotate, squat, lunge and gait.
Pelvic floor exercises
Prostate cancer treatment such as surgery, often results in the side effect of leaking urine or incontinence. Exercising your pelvic muscles can strengthen them which can help with urinary problems such as leaking or having a sudden urge to go as well as in in managing other side effects of prostate cancer including problems getting an erection and in bowel control.
How to do them:
Start by performing these on your back as it can be easier in this position as the pelvic floor muslces wont be acting against gravity.
If you need help finding your pelvic floor muscles, think about there they are actually positioned. They run from your pubic bone, at the front of your body to the your tail bone at the bottom of your spine, acting as a sort of sling or hammock, supporting your bladder and bowel and helping you control when you urinate or empty your bowels.
Now imagine you are stopping the flow of urine, getting a sense of a lift and squeeze. Or alternatively, stopping passing wind, can also act as a cue to activate those muscles.
Tighten the muscles around your back passage as if you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind. And at the same time, extend the feeling of tightening further forward as if you are also stopping yourself from passing urine.
The movement should feel like a ‘squeeze and lift’
Lift and hold, lift and squeeze, lift and breathe.
And slowly let them go back down again.
Do this for 5 repetitions.
Slowly tighten the muscles as hard as as you can so you feel a lifting sensation.
Try to hold this lift for ten seconds. Breathe normally.
Slowly relax the muscles and rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat the lift and rest up to 10 times.
Repeat the same action, but this time try tightening the muscles as quickly as possible.
Hold the lift for one second and then let go.
Try to do up to ten of these short, fast lifts.
A few more #bounceback tips for increasing your general activity:
Take the stairs instead of the lift.
Buy a pedometer. Increase your number of steps each day.
Take frequent breaks throughout the day to stand, stretch, take short walks or challenge yourself trying out new exercises.
Make use of what you have at home e.g lifting cans, bottles or anything heavy can help build muscle. Do three sets of 10 lifts or until you feel your muscles tiring.
Get into a routine. For example, doing 15 minutes of exercise when you wake up. It will eventually become habit and you will miss it when you don’t do it.