Physical activity under specialists' supervision

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Italian research recommended which sports are best suited to elderly patients with prostate cancer. Resistance and cardiovascular exercises should be undertaken.

Researchers at the Italian Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan conducted a systematic review of previous randomized controlled studies on the influence of lifestyle in patients with prostate cancer. The study objective was to understand how certain habits, such as diet and exercise, can affect the quality of life of oncological patients.

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Stock photo. Posed by model.

Among the habits under consideration, physical activity was found to be the most effective: they monitored clinical data of patients who exercised regularly, under the supervision of specialists. The study group was quite heterogeneous as it included men who had undertaken sporting activities for at least one month up to a maximum of eight years. Furthermore, patients were subjected to very different types of treatment.

Once more, the researchers pointed out the importance of healthy nutrition: reducing the intake of calories helps to balance the body mass index (BMI Body Mass Index) and, consequently, to improve the patient's quality of life.
However, it would appear that physical activity has a significantly greater impact on the living conditions; resistance exercises such as lifting weights, practiced for at least six months, can generate positive effects on the mood, fatigue, physical and sexual functions.

According to certain studies analyzed in this study, there should be a preference for resistance exercises compared to aerobic activities such as walking, bicycling or jogging, since the benefits would be extended over time.
Another type of training that would have positive effects on cardiac and circulatory functions, flexibility and muscle strength, as well as on fatigue, are cardiovascular exercises continued for at least two months.

The real challenge for those who approach physical exercise in old age is mainly represented by motivational factors. The scientific literature emphasizes the importance of practicing sports on a regular basis, which is why it is advisable to consult specialists able to direct you to the physical exercise that is the most appropriate for the patient's specific characteristics and, above all, able to track individual progress in relation to treatment for prostate cancer.

  • References

    1. Menichetti J et al., Lifestyle interventions to improve the quality of life of men with prostate cancer: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials, Onc Hema 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2016.10.007
    2. Persaud N, Exercise Training Improves Quality of Life for PCa Patients, Renal & Urology News, 26 October 2016
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