Key finding in study

Lee Giampietro enjoys working out at the ECU Mt Lawley Sports and Recreation Centre. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d419922
Lee Giampietro enjoys working out at the ECU Mt Lawley Sports and Recreation Centre. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d419922

Men with the disease are nearly twice as likely to develop depression as the general population, but a recent study has found regular group exercise can reduce the risk.

The study involved 64 men who were receiving treatment for the cancer. Half were involved in a group-based exercise program involving two sessions a week. The other half maintained their normal care.

After three months, the men in the exercise program reported 40 per cent lower psychological distress than those in the control group. The men in the exercise group also reported a 5 per cent increase in overall mental health and a 4 per cent improvement in social functioning.

‘The exercise program offered a unique group environment for men with prostate cancer to support each other while engaging in a masculine activity,’ ECU Health and Wellness Institute senior research fellow Prue Cormie said.

‘The peer support offered through exercising in a team of men in the casual and positive environment of a gym where humour and friendly competition is rife may be more appealing and encourage more engagement by men than a traditional support group setting more commonly accessed by women.

‘Given that men are notoriously low seekers of health care and in particular of mental health services, a targeted group-based exercise program may be a very effective way of tailoring psychosocial support to men with prostate cancer.’