Prostate Cancer Survival and Exercise: How Much is Enough?

exercise and prostate cancer Photo Club

It goes without saying that preventing prostate cancer in the first place is the better idea. But there are clearly times when the cat is out of the bag and you need to do whatever you can to increase your odds of prostate cancer survival.

Increasing your odds of surviving prostate cancer as well as avoiding prostate cancer recurrence are a topics I have written about in previous blog posts.  Some simple tips can include:

  1. Checking specific hormones to tell if you are at risk of your cancer becoming aggressive.
  2. Making sure you are living an anti-diabetic lifestyle, since this greatly contributes to the likelihood of prostate cancer coming back.
  3. Cutting all dairy out of your life since it has been linked time and time again to prostate cancer.
  4. Androgen deprivation therapy has been shown to worsen your outcome.

This particular article adds another tool to your list of ways to make sure that you don’t become another prostate cancer statistic.  And, given just how important #2 is above when it comes to preventing ANY chronic disease, it should come as no surprise what tool was able to drastically increase prostate cancer survival.

Exercise.  Big shocker there.

But what this study looked into in more detail was just how much exercise was able to make a difference.  Overall, they looked at 4,623 men who had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and followed up with them to find out how much exercise had an impact on their overall survival.  Recreational exercise was measured in MET-h/day, or the number of exercise hours in a day.  As an example, one MET-h/day is about the equivalent of sitting on your duff.

With that in mind, here’s what they found:

  • Men who engaged in at least 5 recreational MET-h/d were 37% less likely to die of any cause.
  • Walking/bicycling more than 20 min/day led to a 30% lower risk of dying.
  • Performing household work for more than an hour/day led to a 29% lower risk.
  • Exercising for at least an hour per week led to a 26% lower risk.
  • When the cause of death was narrowed to prostate cancer related deaths, those men who walked/bicycled more than 20 min/day had a respectable 39% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer, while those who were exercising at least an hour per week had a 32% lower risk.

Either way you look at it, exercise saved the day.  But what was really surprising was just how little exercise it took.  One hour per week.

That’s like 8.57 minutes per day to greatly increase your chance of survival.

But let’s change the perspective on this.  You’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and your life potentially hangs in the balance of the choices you make.  If you are looking at the 8.57 minutes per day thinking that you MIGHT be able to pull that off, you’ve got the wrong attitude.

If you can’t dedicate yourself to exercise (you can pull off a good strength-training routine and aerobic routine in 45 minutes 3 times per week) to save your life, and would instead rather resort to hope and the best medicine has to offer, then you should just hang it up now and go back to sitting on the couch.


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.