Impact of a brief exercise program on the physical and psychosocial health of prostate cancer survivors: A pilot study
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Place of Publication
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Aim: It is well established that exercise is beneficial for prostate cancer survivors. The challenge for health professionals is to create effective strategies to encourage survivors to exercise in the community. Many community exercise programs are brief in duration (e.g.sessions); whilst evidence for the efficacy of exercise within the literature are derived from exercise programs ≥8 weeks in duration, it is unknown if health benefits can be obtained from a shorter program. This study examined the effect of a four-session individualized and supervised exercise program on the physical and psychosocial health of prostate cancer survivors. Methods: Fifty-one prostate cancer survivors (mean age 69±7 years) were prescribed 1 h, individualized, supervised exercise sessions once weekly for 4 weeks. Participants were encouraged to increase their physical activity levels outside of the exercise sessions. Objective measures of muscular strength, exercise capacity, physical function and flexibility; and self-reported general, disease-specific and psychosocial health were assessed at baseline and following the intervention. Results: Improvements were observed in muscle strength (leg press 17.6 percent; P < 0.001), exercise capacity (400-m walk 9.3 percent; P < 0.001), physical function (repeated chair stands 20.1 percent, usual gait speed 19.3 percent, timed up-and-go 15.0 percent; P < 0.001), flexibility (chair sit and reach +2.9 cm; P < 0.001) and positive well-being (P = 0.014) following the exercise program. Conclusion: A four-session exercise program significantly improved the muscular strength, exercise capacity, physical function and positive well-being of prostate cancer survivors. This short-duration exercise program is safe and feasible for prostate cancer survivors and a randomized controlled trial is now required to determine whether a similar individualized exercise regimen improves physical health and mental well-being over the short, medium and long term.