A study recommends a particular exercise for men with prostate cancer undergoing radiation treatment.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, recommend yoga.
Men, especially those who are undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer, should not think of this physical discipline as something just for women.
The features of prostate cancer treatment that benefited from yoga, in Dr. Neha Vapiwala’s study, were those of urinary incontinence, sexual health and fatigue. These features remained stable throughout the radiation therapy in men who were dong the yoga.
Without structured exercise during a radiation course for prostate cancer patients, Dr. Vapiwala points out that fatigue, urinary control and sexual health decline. Dr. Vapiwala states that “the stable scores seen with our yoga program are really good news.”
One can deduce that there are other forms of exercise that would benefit men undergoing prostate cancer treatment with radiation. But yoga seems ideal in that it doesn’t require jarring, impacting motions that tax the joints and cardiorespiratory system.
Fatigue is a common symptom of cancer treatment (or just the disease itself) and cannot be relieved with a nap or sleep like normal fatigue can. Erectile dysfunction is another common outcome, while urinary incontinence occurs in about one-quarter of men with the malignancy.
So how does this exercise actually work to improve the quality of life for men with prostate cancer?
It appears that yoga reduces the fatigue, strengthens pelvic floor muscles and also increases blood flow. Secondary benefits may be the group class environment and meditation.
The study had the men doing yoga twice a week, and despite what you may have seen in yoga magazines, TV commercials or what-have-you, this physical discipline can be modified to suit the older practitioner’s fitness and flexibility levels.