It’s no secret that exercise is well-known for improving the health and well-being of our bodies. This list of bodily benefits from consistent physical activity is lengthy. For example, a few of these benefits include a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, an improved body composition, more restful sleep, enhanced resistance to colds and other infections, a lower incidence and severity of anxiety and depression, as well as a longer and higher quality of life.
One more important benefit from exercise specific to men is a healthy prostate
That’s because exercise is a turbo boost for improving prostate health. Numerous scientific evidence has shown that regular physical activity helps prevent prostate issues such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), erectile dysfunction (ED), prostatitis, and prostate cancer.
Here is a look at several studies in recent years encouraging men to become more physically active for the sake of their prostate:
- Harvard-led Health Professionals Follow-up Study found that physically active men were less likely to suffer from BPH and were 20% less likely to have erectile dysfunction.
- Men with belly fat have an increased risk for prostate cancer. However, men who follow a healthy dietary plan along with regular exercise, this cuts the risk in half.
- Physical activity is considered a natural antioxidant for the body, helping reduce free radical formation. Free radicals are associated with the formation of cancer cells, including prostate cancer.
- A study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men under age 40 who exercised regularly were less likely to experience sexual dysfunction than men under 40 who did not exercise.
- Vigorous exercise has been found critical for men with early-stage prostate cancer. Men who exercised vigorously for at least three hours a week activated more tumor-suppressing genes and more genes involved in repairing DNA than men who exercised less.
The trick to making exercise work for enhancing prostate health is knowing how much and what kind of physical activities are best. While research is still ongoing searching for the right kind and amount for the best prostate health, here is what is known so far:
- Aerobic exercise
Any aerobic exercise that gets a resting heart rate above normal for a sustained length of time – brisk walking, jogging, biking, and swimming – is good for both prostate and sexual health. The American Heart Association recommends ideally 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Strength training can also raise heart rate and is ideal for maintaining muscle mass, endurance, and strength.
- Interval training
Belly fat is one of the most stubborn forms of fat for men to reduce. Nestled deep within the abdominal area, belly fat is associated with increasing the risk of BPH and prostate cancer. Interval training helps bust-up belly fat by boosting the body’s metabolism and keeping it in a fat-burning mode.
Unlike walking or running for long lengths of time, interval training is different. Walking or running usually involves the same movement repeated over and over with little to no variation. Our body gets used to this same motion, which, in time, reduces metabolism or the rate at which a person burns calories.
But, interval training helps break up the monotony. Interval training is doing short bursts of different exercises, preventing the body from getting used to one type of motion. For example, a person could walk briskly for 2 minutes, sprint for about a minute, and keep switching back and forth. Therefore, the body’s metabolic rate doesn’t drop but remains in the optimal fat-burning range. This type of exercise even increases a person’s resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercising.
- Kegel exercises
A specific type of exercise for men and prostate health is called a Kegel exercise. Especially helpful for BPH symptoms and possibly even for men with ED, performing a Kegel can be done anywhere, any time of day, and no one will know you are doing them. To perform a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you would use to hold your urine. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds and then release. Try doing three sets of 10 Kegel exercises every day for better bladder control.
The most important thing for men to remember regarding exercise is to choose an exercise they enjoy and will stick with long-term. It’s also advisable, especially for men who have been inactive for a while or have physical limitations, to check with their doctor to ensure the exercise level is safe.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.