Just as we recently found out that coffee may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, a new study reveals that brisk walking may actually help fight the disease in the early stages.
The study, published in the June 1 edition of Cancer Research, involved 1,455 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in its earliest stages, which meant that it had not yet begun to spread. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health followed up the participants over the course of 31 months, and recorded 117 events, including disease recurrence, bone tumors, and deaths caused by prostate cancer.
The study also notes that the type of walking is also important. The walking needed to be brisk, or at a faster-than-usual pace. Typical slow or easy walking had little to no effect on reducing prostate cancer at all. Erin Richman, ScD, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead researcher of the study says that “the important point was the intensity of the activity. The walking had to be brisk for men to experience a benefit.”
The study showed that men who performed brisk walking at a pace of 3 miles an hour for at least 3 hours a week were 57% less likely to experience cancer recurrence or to need a second round of treatment for the disease.
The researchers believe that brisk walking might affect prostate cancer progression by changing blood levels of certain proteins that have been shown in the lab to encourage cancer growth.
Another study, published earlier this year, by June Chan, ScD, of the University of California, San Francisco, along with researchers at Harvard, also suggested that increased physical activity reduced the incidence of death from the disease.
Physical activity is not only excellent if regularly done for one’s health and happiness in general, but is now also being shown to help prostate cancer sufferers as well, so it’s a great idea to get moving and help your body if you’re one of these survivors. Of course, however, just to be on the safe side, before engaging in any type of physical activity, consult with your doctor first to make sure that the exercise will be beneficial for you, and not make anything any worse.