Walking could help improve the health of men suffering from prostate cancer, a new study reveals. Even walking a few hours a week was shown to have a positive impact in patients with the disease.

Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine studied how different forms of exercise affect the progress of the disease. They studied health records of 51,529 men in the heath care industry, including data on doctors visits, tobacco use, diet and exercise. Questionnaires were completed by the subjects, which included information on several health-related questions, including the amount of walking and other exercise undertaken by the men.

Data from men who survived a non-advanced form of the disease were examined. Investigators found that men who walked three hours or more each week showed better health-related quality of life than other subjects in the study. These improvements were seen in body weight, fatigue and depression. No change was seen in urinary or bowel functions or in sexual performance.

“Non-vigorous walking for three hours per week seems to improve the fatigue, depression and body weight issues that affect many men post-treatment. If you walk even more briskly, for only 90 minutes a week, you could also see similar benefits in these areas,” said Siobhan Phillips, a kinesiologist at Northwestern Medicine.

This investigation was one of the first to examine the effects of different forms of exercise on the quality of life of men with prostate cancer. Subjects in the study reported on the vigor with which they walked — easy, average, brisk or very brisk — as well as the time they spent on the activity.

Researchers believe those suffering from prostate cancer should be encouraged to start a walking routine as quickly as possible following diagnosis if their bodies are capable of engaging in the practice.

Patients with prostate cancer are also at higher risk for other conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Walking may also help improve these health conditions as well as improve the overall quality of life in these patients.

According to the American Cancer Society, an average of 220,820 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and 27,540 men die of the disease.

“This study shows that you don’t have to engage in high-impact, vigorous activities to improve your quality of life after a prostate cancer diagnosis. Since many prostate cancer survivors might find vigorous activities hard to stick with, the good news is that simply focusing on walking more may be enough to make them feel better,” Phillips said.

Analysis of the role walking can play in improving the quality of life of men with prostate cancer was published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship: Research and Practice.

Source: Tech Times
April 21, 2015
By James Maynard, photo by Beverley Goodwin | Flickr