Your prostate is a walnut-sized gland that surrounds the neck of the bladder and sits in front of the rectum. As we age, we face the possibility of a number of prostate conditions that can be painful, inconvenient, and even deadly.
Taking care of your prostate can help prevent problems that can reduce your quality of life--including your sex life. As it turns out, exercising is one of the best things you can do for good prostate health. Here are three ways exercise improves the health of your prostate gland.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is an enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH is very common in older men, often starting around age 40. BPH can block the flow of urine from the bladder, produce a weak urine stream, and impede the ability to completely empty the bladder. As if that's not bad enough, BPH can cause urinary tract, bladder, and kidney problems.
A 1998 study of 30,364 men found that men who exercised were less likely to suffer from BPH--even those who simply walked at a moderate pace on a regular basis. The researchers found that men who walked three hours each week--a half hour most days--enjoyed a 10 percent reduction in BPH risk. Conversely, men who spent 41 or more hours a week in front of the telly were twice as likely to suffer from symptoms of BPH than those who watched TV for five hours or less.
Prostatitis is a prostate condition marked by the swelling and inflammation of the prostate. Prostatitis symptoms include painful urination; pain in the groin, genitals, or pelvic area; and flulike symptoms.
Prostatitis can come on quickly or gradually, and it can improve on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis can become chronic, lasting as long as several months or recurring after a period of recovery. Unfortunately, since only five to 10 percent of cases of chronic prostatitis are caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics don't work for most men with this painful condition.
But exercise can help. Italian researchers randomly assigned 231 non-exercising men with chronic prostatitis to participate in either an aerobic exercise regimen or a non-aerobic regimen. The aerobic group engaged in brisk walking and strengthening exercises, while the non-aerobic group did leg lifts, sit-ups, and stretching exercises. Both groups exercised three times a week. After 18 weeks, the aerobic group experienced significant improvements in their prostatitis symptoms. They also reported improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms and a higher overall quality of life.
Prostate cancer claims around 30,000 lives every year, and around 230,000 men are diagnosed with it annually. It most commonly occurs in older men, and preventing it is largely a matter of developing a healthy lifestyle that includes a mostly plant-based diet and plenty of exercise.
Exercise can help prevent prostate and other cancers. For men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, exercise can slow the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of dying from the cancer. A study of 1,400 men with early-stage prostate cancer found that those who walked briskly for at least three hours a week were 57 percent less likely to experience a progression of the cancer.
Another study found that men who exercise vigorously for at least three hours a week had a 61 percent lower risk of dying from the cancer compared to those who exercised vigorously for less than one hour per week.
For the best protection against prostate problems, strive to get a half hour of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. It doesn't matter what activity you perform. You can walk, jog, run, swim, bike, hike, dance, row, ski, or go out and mow the lawn, rake the leaves, or shovel the snow.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that you should be able to speak in short sentences while you exercise. If you can easily carry on a spirited conversation, step up the activity a bit. If you can't talk at all while you're exercising, back off a little. If you have trouble finding 30 minutes for exercising, remember that you can break it up into three 10-minute increments and still reap the full benefits, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Yours is the only prostate you have and taking good care of it as you grow older is important for your comfort, health, and sex life. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and a prostate-focused supplement like Prostavol can improve your overall prostate health and help prevent prostate problems as you grow older.
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