Walking has to be one of the simplest yet most beneficial exercises out there. After all, you don’t need a gym membership to walk around in your neighborhood, and even if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still walk around inside to get the health benefits – just as long as you’re not walking to the kitchen to get some snacks, though.
No one can really disregard the health benefits of walking, and a recent study from Northwestern University revealed that walking benefits prostate cancer survivors.
Walk the Extra Mile for Your Health
Researchers analyzed data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which has been collecting data from 51,529 men since 1986. By focusing on prostate cancer survivors who were diagnosed before 2008, they were able to keep track of the average time spent walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or playing other sports and how it impacted their health and self-reported quality of life. For those who walked, their walking pace was rated as easy, average, brisk or very brisk.
At the end of the study, it was revealed that those who walked briskly for three hours a week had better hormone functioning and better control over the damage and side effects caused by prostate cancer treatment, such as depression, body weight and fatigue. Although prostate cancer increases one’s risk of developing other health risks, including cardiovascular disease, walking offsets this risk, which is another reason why walking benefits prostate cancer survivors.
These discoveries are so beneficial for prostate cancer survivors because according to the study’s lead author and kinesiologist Siobhan Phillips, “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.”
Can you spare three hours a week? That’s all it takes to improve your quality of life – and not just for prostate cancer survivors. Staying physically fit, especially as we age, lowers men’s risk of developing lung, colorectal and prostate cancers along with reducing both men and women’s risk of developing colon, endometrial and breast cancers. Another study showed that walking for just 20 minutes a day reduces your risk of premature death by a third.
Fast Facts on Prostate Cancer
Now that you know how walking benefits prostate cancer survivors, you may be curious to learn more about this type of cancer that affects approximately one in seven men according to the American Cancer Society. Keep reading for more key facts and statistics on prostate cancer:
- This is the second most common type of cancer that affects men. Skin cancer is the most common.
- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men. Lung cancer is the first.
- Prostate cancer is rarely seen in men younger than 40 – men aged 65 or older make up about six out of ten diagnoses.
- Some of the risk factors for prostate cancer include: age (noted above), race (African-American men are at a greater risk), and family history (this type of cancer seems to run in families). Although there are certain risk factors, there is no clear cause of prostate cancer.
- We may not know the cause of prostate cancer, but there are things you can do to lower your risk and promote your health: eat a healthy diet (be sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables!), maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
- In the United States, more than 2.9 million men are prostate cancer survivors.
To learn more about prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.