What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book on the integrative treatment of prostate cancer:
We are simply not made to sit for long periods. We are built to move. Humans need to exercise, plain and simple. It does not matter what exercise you choose as long as you do something. However, the key is to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
You may already be familiar with many of the common benefits of regular exercise—lower stress, weight loss, better sleep, and a plenty of other advantages. However, in terms of prostate cancer, research has shown that fitness can help you reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer, prevent it from returning, or lower the chance of you dying from it.
Also, you can overcome common side effects from treatments, and even lower your risk of dying from other causes. Don’t forget—while prostate cancer can indeed be deadly, many men with prostate cancer pass away from something else, but live the rest of their life in constant worry about their PSA levels.
Remember, it is not only about how many years you live, but also how you live those years. Here is a look at the key reasons exercise is so crucial for fighting prostate cancer.
1. Improve insulin sensitivity
For starters, exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity. When you engage in intense exercise, your muscles gobble up excess sugar in your bloodstream for energy without the need for extra insulin produced by the pancreas. With less insulin, and thus less sugar-‐energy, cancer cells are deprived of the fuel it demands. A big part of creating a hostile cancer environment is to starve cancer cells of their energy .So every time you engage in high-‐intense exercise, you help to kill cancer cells by starving them of sugar.
2. Improves the function of your “sewage” system
Regular exercise also improves the function of your lymphatic system, which is a complex network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that make and move lymph fluid from tissues to the bloodstream. Essentially, your lymphatic is your body’s sewage system where all the junk and toxins get moved into before they eventually get removed from the body. A smooth running lymphatic system, where much of the built-‐up crap is taken out, is yet another means to create the thriving healthy environment that is hostile on cancer cells.
There are two main ways to improve the movement of your lymphatic system: deep breathing and muscle contraction. As you huff and puff and muscles tighten, lymph vessels are squeezed (in a milking type of way) and your body’s “junk” in the lymph fluid is pushed along, filtered through lymph nodes bringing back clean fluid to the veins and the heart. It is important to keep the lymph fluid moving smoothly in order to efficiently move out waste, and working your muscles is the best way to do that.
3. Keep your body weight low
Exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps your body fat low, both of which can reduce your chances of prostate cancer recurrence and lowers your risk of dying from prostate cancer. Increasing evidence suggests that obesity (either before or at the time of diagnosis) is strongly associated with prostate cancer progression and prostate-‐cancer-‐specific mortality. A 2011 study among 2,546 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer found that a one-‐unit increase in body mass index (BMI) was associated with approximately 10 percent increase in the risk of prostate cancer death, and BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 was associated with a nearly two-‐fold increased risk. Keep your weight under control and you can better beat prostate cancer for good.
But at the center of movement is time and effort. You need to devote equally to both to be successful. An easy way to incorporate regular exercise into your life is to schedule it like you do so many other events in your life. I mean be serious about your fitness. Put it into your daily calendar like you would schedule a business lunch or meeting with your most important client. Commit to it like if you have a meeting with your boss who is going to offer you a 20 percent raise. You would not think of blowing off those appointments, would you? Give your training the same respect. If you want to live your best life, you have to respect your body and give it the attention it needs, everyday.