Exercise has many benefits for men with prostate cancer who are taking hormone therapy. But what happens when their supervised exercise program is over, and the men are ‘kicked out into the real world’?
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says it’s important to find out how men experience the transition from the hospital exercise program to the community.
A new Danish study has been published that specifically asks how these men experienced the transition from the hospital exercise program to exercising in the ‘real world’.
The study involved 29 men who had previously completed the 12-week exercise program. 25 of the men continued to exercise after the program, and four didn’t.
"Having sustained peer support and continual monitoring were also helpful, and the improvements to health and well-being were an important motivator.Wendy Winnall PCFA
Researchers were keen to know the answers to these questions:
• What do you think worked well in the transition from supervised to non-supervised exercise?
• What challenged you in the transition from supervised to non-supervised exercise?
• What happens during an exercise session when you exercise in the fitness centre?
• How do you feel that your physique is influenced by exercise?
• What does it mean to you to exercise with each other? Are any of you exercising alone?
The study uncovered a number of important issues:
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1. A structured transition was important
The last two sessions of the supervised hospital-based program were conducted in a community-based gym. The physiotherapists running the hospital program introduced the men to the exercise machines in the gym, providing them with confidence to exercise independently. Many of the men brought their exercise charts from the hospital program and continued the same process of keeping records of their progress in the community gym.
2. Social relationships were very important
Establishing and maintaining social relationships was highlighted as the most important factor in the transition. The men who continued to exercise in the community gyms usually did so in groups or pairs, with men who they met at the hospital program. They emphasised the importance of having a talk with peers after the training session.
3. Men were motivated by improvements to their well-being
Most of the men felt that exercise had a really good effect on their health and the way they felt. Exercise also gave them improved physical strength and this made some daily activities easier for them. They also felt better about their bodies, leading to increased daily energy and enjoyment of life. These positive experiences became a motivating factor to continue exercising.
The Danish researchers concluded that a hospital-based exercise program provided a safe learning environment, and that transition to community-based exercise could be confronting. This transition could be eased by a structured transition, such as supervised sessions in a community gym. Having sustained peer support and continual monitoring were also helpful, and the improvements to health and well-being were an important motivator for these men.
This type of study is referred to as translational research. The aim is to turn research results, such as the benefits of exercise, into programs that make a difference in the real world. Just as men are “kicked out into the real world” when the 12-week program finishes, research is useless unless it helps people in the real world. Translational research is very important for improving the lives of men with prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is a broad-based community organisation and the peak national body for prostate cancer in Australia. We are dedicated to reducing the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men and all who care for them. Your donation to
PCFA, via this link, will go to providing support, increasing awareness and funding much-needed research for prostate cancer in Australia