In our new brochure, Cancer Survivors’ 8 Ways to Stay Healthy After Cancer, we really push the importance of exercise as a way to boost mood, improve overall health, and possibly cut the risk of cancer recurrence.
Backing up this latter benefit is a new prostate cancer study that found that regular brisk walking could cut the risk of cancer progression after initial diagnosis (study). Researchers out of the University of California San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Heath followed close to 1,500 men with localized prostate cancer (cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate), noted their activity levels, and kept track of whose cancer progressed to more advanced, serious states.
What they found was that regular brisk walking (3 mph or faster) – regardless of how long a man walked – cut the risk of progression nearly in half compared to men who walked at a leisurely pace (less than 2 mph). Longer walking was linked to an even lower risk. Compared to men who walked fewer than 3 hours a week at a less-brisk pace, those who walked 3 or more hours a week at a brisk pace had a 57 percent lower risk of cancer progression.
For many people who have gone through cancer diagnosis and treatment, the last thing they want to do is fight off the mental and physical fatigue from the whole experience and head out the door for a brisk walk. But more and more evidence backs the benefits of doing just that. In addition to possibly lowering the risk of recurrence and providing a great mental boost it also helps lower the risk of other chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, which remain important concerns for most cancer survivors.
It’s a win-win-win for survivors, who can start to collect the benefits by lacing up and taking some quick steps around the block.