Exercise and BPH
Improving your fitness through activities such as walking and swimming may help reduce your risk of developing BPH, but may also help to manage symptoms and reduce their severity.
To learn more about this connection, this blog will cover some common questions about exercise and an enlarged prostate, including:
- Is exercise good for an enlarged prostate?
- How does exercise help an enlarged prostate?
- What is the best exercise for an enlarged prostate?
- Are Kegel exercises good for BPH?
- How much should I exercise?
Is exercise good for an enlarged prostate?
Over the years there have been several studies that have shown the positive impact exercise can have on prostate health. One such study involving 582 men found that those who had less sedentary behaviours had a significantly lower risk of BPH than those with more sedentary behaviours.1
Another study carried out by the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, found that men who walked 2-3 hours per week had a 25% lower risk of developing BPH.2
How does exercise help an enlarged prostate?
Research has shown that exercise is a good way to reduce the body's inflammatory response and, in this way, it can help enlarged prostate symptoms.3 You see, the more inflammation present in your body generally, the more likely you are to have inflammation in the prostate. Therefore, finding ways of reducing this inflammation is key to managing your BPH symptoms.
Exercise can also help to maintain a healthy weight, which decreases the body's inflammatory responses further. Obesity is also known to increase the risk of developing BPH, so a healthy weight is vital for the health of your prostate.
What is the best exercise for an enlarged prostate?
Becoming more active doesn't have to be about slogging it out every day in the gym or even running marathons. It's about identifying a fitness plan which suits you, your age and your lifestyle and that will allow you to get moving more.
Here are several exercises that are good for you and your prostate's health:
- Walking – work a leisurely stroll around your usual routine
- Hiking - take your walk to the next level!
- Cycling – try using a prostate-friendly seat. One that is wide with lots of padding or that is gel-filled should do the trick
- Jogging/running - a gentle pace is best as intensive running may become too jarring on your prostate.
|Tip: If you have a garden, get stuck in there. Becoming active in the garden can count towards your weekly activity, so why not rake some leaves, cut the grass and tackle those weeds? Another good tip is to find activities that you enjoy! It’s important to choose something you are enthusiastic about so you are more likely to stick with it.
Are Kegel exercises good for BPH?
As men age, the muscles around the bladder can become weaker and this may contribute to some of the symptoms associated with BPH, such as the need to urinate often. Kegel exercises can be beneficial here. These exercises involve the tightening and clenching of specific pelvic muscles, known as the external sphincter muscles.
Kegel exercises may be especially helpful in men who have had prostate surgery, which can sometimes have an impact on bladder control.
You can practice Kegel exercises discreetly and regularly throughout the day. You can do some of them anywhere and at any time, whether you're sitting or standing at work, relaxing at home or even whilst driving your car.
How much should I exercise?
The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity every week, such as cycling or fast walking. Alongside this, on two or more days a week, adults between the ages of 19 and 64, as well as those older who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should practice muscle-strengthening exercises.
However, over the years many studies have explored the optimum exercise time, with some suggesting that less than one hour of moderate exercise a week or 20 minutes of vigorous activity is enough to keep you healthy.
The key is to consider what's right for you, your lifestyle and your health, as any amount of exercise is better than none.
Exercise some caution
Choosing the right activity for you and your prostate is important. Avoid those that cause excessive jarring or pounding. Some exercises which involve sitting for long periods such as cycling (without a padded saddle), rowing or horseback riding can put pressure on the pelvic area and may also put added pressure on your enlarged prostate.
Ultimately, maintaining a healthy diet and staying active can improve a man's general health, especially as he gets older. An additional benefit is that it may also help reduce the risk of BPH or the severity of its symptoms, so it really is time to start taking care of yourself and improving your fitness.
Improving your fitness through activities such as walking and swimming as well as some simple exercises can not only help reduce your risk of developing BPH but can also help to manage the symptoms and reduce their severity. How do you keep fit and active? Vote below and we'll look at the results soon.
Originally published 20 April 2015 (updated 2 June 2020)