Looking after your physical wellbeing is not only important for your physical health. It can also have a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Regular physical activity is a good way to look after your physical and mental health. Physical activity can help you stay a healthy weight, which may be important for men with prostate cancer. And there are also lots of benefits for your mental health.
- Improve your sleep. For some people, being more physically active improves their overall quality of sleep. This means reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, and the number of times they wake up during the night. This can make you feel more alert during the day and improve your emotional wellbeing.
- Boost your mood. Prostate cancer can leave you feeling low. Being more active can help you feel a sense of achievement and improve your overall mood.
- Relieve stress. Stress can have a negative effect on your mental and physical wellbeing. Getting active is a great way to relieve stress and tension in your body. Taking a break from stressful thoughts and getting out into nature for a walk can help to clear your mind.
- Help to manage side effects. Being more physically active can help manage some of the side effects of prostate cancer or treatment. Exercise can help manage fatigue. Some studies have found that exercise may enhance a man’s sexual wellbeing by improving how they feel about themselves (self-esteem).
- Help you cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression. People who exercise regularly may have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise increases the hormone serotonin – this helps your brain to regulate mood, sleep and appetite. Suffering from anxiety and depression can leave you feeling low in energy. Exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do. But exercise can make a big different to your mood and help take your mind off any worries you may have.
Types of physical activity
There are lots of different ways you can be more active – you don’t need to do hours of exercise a day or run miles to feel the benefits of physical activity. Speak to your GP or hospital doctor before starting any new physically demanding activities.
Walking is a gentle way to get active, particularly if you’re experiencing fatigue because of your prostate cancer or its treatment. You may wish to start with short walks and build them up when you feel well enough.
If you find walking difficult there are gentle sitting exercises you can do at home to help improve your physical and mental health. You can find out more about sitting exercises on the NHS website.
Getting active can also be a great way to be more social. You may want to try group activities or classes. For more tips on how to get active, read our information on physical activity for men with prostate cancer.
Think about your diet
A healthy diet isn’t only important for general health, it can also have a positive affect your emotional and mental wellbeing. A healthy diet provides you with energy you need to get through your day and keep active. Having a regular and healthy eating pattern can also help you to feel more in control. For some people, having a routine and feeling more in control helps them to manage feelings of stress and anxiety.
You may want to limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine can cause sleeping problems, which may affect your mood. Some people find that it can make them feel anxious and irritable.
To find out more about managing your mood with food, visit the Mind charity website.
Read our information on diet and living with prostate cancer for tips on how you can eat more healthily. You can also download or order our free fact sheet Diet and physical activity for men with prostate cancer.
I have added more fruit, veggies and plant-based meals to my diet. I’m surprised how much better I feel for it.
Updated November 2021 | Due for review November 2023
- World Health Organisation. WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. 2020.
- Cormie P, Zopf EM. Exercise medicine for the management of androgen deprivation therapyrelated side effects in prostate cancer. Urol Oncol Semin Orig Investig. 2020;62–70.
- Forbes CC, Swan F, Greenley SL, Lind M, Johnson MJ. Physical activity and nutrition interventions for older adults with cancer: a systematic review. J Cancer Surviv. 2020;14(5):689–711.