Men who want to avoid prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostatitis must engage in regular exercise to keep the prostate healthy. Exercise helps prevent possible diseases and reduce the risks associated with the current medical condition an individual already has. So, what are the healthy prostate exercises a man should engage in?
What is the Prostate?
Before jumping straight into the exercises, it is essential to understand what the prostate is and its function. It is a gland that is the size of a walnut found between the penis and the bladder. The prostate lies just in front of a man’s rectum, and the urethra passes through the prostate’s center.
The fluid is discharged from the prostate which protects and nourishes the sperm. When a man ejaculates, the prostate releases the fluid to the urethra where it is expelled with the sperm that is contained within the semen.
Tests for Prostate Health
With regards to prostate health, there are tests conducted to evaluate its condition. Such tests include the following.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
A protein made exclusively by the prostate is called PSA, and it is measured via a blood test. A high level of PSA likely indicates prostate cancer, but it could also mean that the prostate is enlarged.
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
In this examination, the physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the man’s rectum to manually feel the prostate. This method detects if there is an enlargement of the prostate, tenderness due to prostatitis, and the presence of nodules or lumps indicative of prostate cancer.
This method is also called transrectal ultrasound where a probe is placed inside the rectum, which is the area closest to the prostate. An ultrasound is done along with a biopsy to assess the possibility of prostate cancer.
The tissue is taken from the prostate via a needle inserted through the rectum. The tissue is then checked for prostate cancer. As mentioned above, a biopsy is done with an ultrasound when prostate cancer is suspected by a physician.
How Does Exercise Help?
Eating healthy and well-balanced meals are not the only method of keeping the prostate healthy. One other way to boost an individual’s prostate health is through regular exercise, especially if overweight. Shedding the extra weight helps reverse and minimize symptoms of lower urinary tract infections that heighten the risk for enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
In fact, recent studies showed that men who engaged in physically demanding work are at a lower risk of developing BPH than men who sit behind their desks all day. Moreover, the study showed that regular exercise of five hours a week showed a 30 to 50 percent chance of developing BPH. The amount is lower compared to the percent of men who exercise less than two hours in a week.
According to a study done by Harvard-based healthcare professionals, men who engage in low to moderate physical activity are less likely to develop an enlargement of the prostate or BPH. Such activities include brisk walking or jogging.
In research conducted by Italians, men suffering from chronic prostatitis suffered from less pain, depression, and anxiety when they performed aerobic exercises three times a week for 18 weeks. The result was better compared to men who engaged in non-aerobic activities.
Slows Progression of Prostate Cancer
Men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer that brisk walk for at least three hours daily a week are likely to have their disease progress. A study claimed it slowed the cancer progression by up to 57 percent. In a follow-up study done by the Health Professionals, vigorous activity for three hours in a week lowers the chance of men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from dying due to the illness.
3 Healthy Prostate Exercises
After learning about the benefits of exercise for a healthy prostate, here are some of the activities to incorporate into the workout regimen. They’re ideally pairred with a healthy diet.
While some may think that this exercise is mainly for women, it can also help strengthen men’s muscles in the pelvic region. Moreover, Kegel exercises assist men in achieving better sexual arousal, enjoying better orgasms, controlling ejaculation, and controlling urine flow. Take note, however, that this kind of exercise is not recommended for men with chronic pelvic pain syndrome and chronic prostatitis. Try other activities that strengthen the pelvic region. As for a Kegel exercise, it is performed by clenching the bladder as if you are trying to inhibit the flow of urine. Hold this stance for at least five seconds. Do at least three sets of 20 Kegels in a day.
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of aerobic exercises on prostate health. Such practices prevent prostatitis, BPH, or prostate cancer, improves the quality of life right after prostate surgery, and maintains a healthy prostate. Aerobic exercises include rowing, jumping rope, tennis, biking, running or jogging, and brisk walking.
For such exercises, the main goal is to work the muscles against a force that pushes or pulls them. A few examples of these exercises include swimming, weight lifting, and push-ups. Resistance exercises have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body as well as improve muscle tone and strength.
While the exercises mentioned above help boost a man’s prostate health, some activities might not be recommended for other conditions, such as prostatitis or BPH. Thus, it is always advisable to consult with your primary physician regarding exercises to keep your prostate healthy and prevent further aggravation of any current prostate disease.
For example, men who engage in cycling might worsen current prostate conditions. Cycling places undue pressure on the groin, especially for men who have prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, or BPH. If possible, then opt for another sport or exercise. You may also choose to purchase a prostate-friendly saddle. This kind of seat features a gap that removes the pressure placed on the perineum which is the space found between the scrotum and the opening of the rectum.