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A prostate enlarged from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can really affect a man’s quality of life and urinary habits.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with BPH can affect your sleep and lifestyle, but you don’t have to take this sitting down. In fact, it is best if you don’t, as one of the best natural ways to prevent and manage BPH is to get more exercise.
While all exercise is beneficial, studies have found that some types of exercise are better for prostate health and preventing BPH than others. In order to get a better understanding of the relationship between BPH, LUTS, and exercise, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine analyzed the data from 11 studies that involved a total of 43,083 men.
What they found was that moderate or vigorous exercise significantly reduced a man’s risk for BPH and LUTS. The investigators found that compared to a sedentary lifestyle, moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce the risk for BPH or LUTS by up to 25 percent. Exercise also helps general with your prostate health.
Best exercises for improved prostate health
Exercise is not just good for BPH, it has been found to help prevent prostate cancer and to help prevent and manage prostatitis as well. The top exercises for better prostate health include aerobic and resistance exercises.
Aerobic exercises include the following:
- Riding a bike (with a prostate-friendly seat)
- Playing tennis
- Jumping rope
Resistance exercises are effective in improving strength, muscle tone, and reducing inflammation. Types of resistance exercise include:
- Doing push-ups
- Lifting weights
Exercise can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, which is ideal for prostate health. Obesity increases risk for BPH and other prostate problems. A study found that men who got five or more hours of exercise in per week were 30-50 percent less likely to develop BPH compared to men who got fewer than two hours of exercise in each week.
Kegel exercises—not for every man
Another type of exercise that is good for some men but not for all is Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises involve repetitively squeezing your pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which reaches from your pubic bone to your tailbone. Strengthening this muscle can help you control your urine flow and achieve better sexual health too. Most men with BPH can benefit from doing Kegels each day. Kegels can be beneficial for strengthening muscles before undergoing certain prostate surgeries such as radical prostatectomy, and may help rebuild muscle strength after you have had surgery (once your doctor gives you the okay).
Kegels are not recommended for certain men who suffer from chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). These men should avoid Kegel exercises. Kegels tighten the PC muscle and create tension in the pelvic region, which can worsen prostatitis symptoms and pain. Many men with CP/CPPS need to instead learn to relax their pelvic muscles and release tension. Doing Kegels could increase pelvic tension for certain men with CP/CPPS.
Other exercise precautions for men include avoiding any exercises that involve excessive jarring or pounding, or any activity that puts pressure on the pelvic area like horseback riding. Riding a bike is great exercise, but you should cycle with caution.
Can bike rising cause prostatitis? Not if you are smart about it. Wear padded bicycle shorts, and look for a soft saddle that is comfortable for your prostate area. They make split seats and noseless saddles.
Exercise is part of a prostate-friendly lifestyle. Getting regular moderate to vigorous exercise, staying well hydrated, eating a prostate-friendly diet, and taking supplements will all contribute to better prostate and urinary health.
Briley, John. What can you do to keep your prostate healthy? Fitness is key. Web MD
Mina DS et al. Physical activity and quality of life after radical prostatectomy. Can Urol Assoc J 2010 Jun; 4(3): 180-86
Parsons JK, Kashefi C. Physical activity, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and lower urinary tract symptoms. Eur Urol 2008; 53: 1228-35