Washington: Brisk walking for about three hours a week is enough to help prostate cancer survivors reduce damaging side effects of their treatment, according to a promising study.
"Non-vigorous walking for three hours per week seems to improve the fatigue, depression and body weight issues that affect many men post-treatment," said Siobhan Phillips, lead author from the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
"If you walk even more briskly, for only 90 minutes a week, you could also see similar benefits in these areas," he added.
Phillips used data from the health professionals follow-up Study. She focused on prostate cancer survivors who were diagnosed with non-advanced disease prior to 2008 and responded to a health-related quality of life (HRQOL) questionnaire.
Common HRQOL symptoms included urinary and bowel problems, sexual function issues, fatigue, depression, increased body weight and erectile dysfunction.
The men reported the average time spent during a week walking to work or for exercise as well as time spent jogging, running, cycling, swimming and playing sports.
They also reported their usual outdoor walking pace as easy, average, brisk or very brisk.
The findings indicate that higher duration of brisk walking were associated with better hormone/vitality functioning (affecting fatigue, depression and body weight).
"Those who are able to walk should be encouraged to start an easy walking routine or engage in other non-vigorous activities soon after a prostate cancer diagnosis," Phillips noted.
The benefits could help manage symptoms such as fatigue, depression and body weight - and improve overall health.
Walking may also potentially increase survival and impact their quality of life by preventing the onset of those other conditions.
The paper was published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship: Research and Practice.