How Much Physical Activity Can Help Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
There’s a lot of information on how useful physical exercises are and how they help to kip fit, prolong life and prevent many health problems, including serious diseases. But what about specific male problems such as erectile dysfunction? There’s good news for men concerned about their sexual abilities. Sports really can be helpful, but only if the reasons of impotence are of physical origin. If they are caused by psychological factors, it makes sense to learn to cope with stress, anxiety, improve relations with one’s sexual partner, and so on. However, chronic problems with physical health are more likely to cause and accompany erectile dysfunction (in particular in older men): high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes. And since healthy lifestyle and physical activity are often quite effective in fighting such diseases, they can be equally effective in case of impotence.
Why Are Physical Exercises Helpful?
First of all, regular physical activity improves general health, blood pressure, cardio, boosts energy and alertness; it improves blood flow, which is vital for men’s sexual abilities.
There’s a range of risk factors that shouldn’t be overlooked by men who take care of their sexual power.
According to statistics, men with obesity are in the risk group and are more likely to have erection troubles. So taking sports is a good way to prevent obesity and to maintain/achieve a healthy weight.
Another risk factor, diabetes, involves abnormal sugar levels, which damages the blood vessels, thus leading to erection problems in the long run. Diabetes of the 2nd type, in its turn, is largely a consequence of sedentary way of life and unhealthy diet.
Blood vessel deterioration is one of the main causes of impotence due to impaired blood flow. Sports and healthy food are effective ways to keep the blood vessels strong and elastic.
Physical exercises done on the regular basis are able to prevent prostate disorders, thus neutralizing another risk factor which can impair erectile function.
They also help to reduce stress due to exercise-induced endorphins, which is quite important for successful sexual activity. It’s not a secret that stress and anxiety are among the most popular causes of erection problems.
Not so many studies were held to find out the association between impotence and physical exercises (or other lifestyle factors). One of such researches took place in Harvard involving more than 22 000 men in the age between 40 and 75. They were asked to complete questionnaires and describe their health issues during the 14-year period. Then a report was made on the basis of the gathered and analyzed information. It was discovered that men who devoted time to running for at least 1.5 hours per week suffered from erectile dysfunction 20% less compared to their physically inactive counterparts. Those running for 2.5 hours a week experienced erection problems 30% less than men leading a sedentary way of life. However, an interesting fact is that men with optimal body mass index had better sexual health than men with excess weight or obesity, regardless of intensity of their training.
Gym, Running or Jogging – What Is the Best Option?
Now you probably want to hear what type of physical activity will be right and most effective for you so that you don’t have to worry about erections issue.
In fact there’s no one universal solution for everyone and no specific exercise program. Whatever exercises you prefer, they have to be regular – at least several days a week or on an everyday basis. It is recommended to devote at least 30 minutes a day to physical activity. If you haven’t got the opportunity to practice sports or fitness, even walking will be useful. But if your physical condition and time allows more intensive exercises, don’t ignore them. Anyway, even a few hours of physical activity a week reduces the risk of impotence.
If you want you can break your training into several (10-minute or 15-minute) segments and spread them over the day. Your trainings shouldn’t be too intense, especially in the beginning – it’s not good to run to extremes, so train at a moderate pace. You shouldn’t be exhausted, because your motivation may sputter out too soon. Excessive load is as unhealthy as absence of load. It will be ideal if you invent a well-rounded exercise program; if you’ve never taken sports and lack knowledge in this area – consult a professional instructor/coach.
Here is the list of some ways to kip fit:
- swimming – has positive effect on posture/back and on cardiovascular system, relieves stress, improves blood chemistry, normalizes blood pressure/cholesterol levels, strengthens muscles
- yoga – involves deep muscles, improves functioning of all body systems, brings cholesterol and blood pressure to norm, improves blood circulation, reduces anxiety and stress levels
- gym – improves cardiovascular health, allows to tone muscles, forms the desired body shape, boosts energy, improves blood circulation and metabolism, increases self-esteem and confidence
- walking – safe and accessible for people of different ages and levels of training; one can listen to music or audiobooks on the portable player at the same time
Today there’re so many ways to kip fit that every man can find what suits him best, depending on his health condition, the amount of free time, abilities and preferences. One may play football or tennis, do workout or gymnastics, train with its own weight or with dumbbells/barbell.
Are All Kinds of Sports Equally Useful?
It should be noted that some kinds of physical activity are not recommended for maintaining sexual health. It was discovered that long hours of cycling is hazardous for male erection, due to damaging the pelvic area’s nerves. It mostly concerns outdoors cycling; indoors cycling has less negative consequences because of the wide seat.
It’s also better to avoid too intensive trainings with high weights and long hours in the gym – exhaustion is not what you want.
Specific Approach: Pelvic Floor Exercises
Besides ordinary sports, a man can improve his erections by regular pelvic floor exercises, which involve clenching pelvic floor muscles – the ones used for urination control. These exercises are also recommended to patients with incontinence. They are often called Kegel exercises.
Scientists from the Bristol University of the West of England conducted a study, in which patients with sufficient ED experience (6 months or more) participated. 40% of those who regularly did Kegel exercises reported about regaining erectile function within 3-6 months; and 35% reported about significant improvement in their erectile function. Such results are due to strengthening of the muscles that surround penis and improved blood flow. This allowed the Bristol scientists to recommend Kegel exercises for preventing ED and to compare their effectiveness with that of Viagra.
Is Physical Activity Enough?
It’s important to understand that complex approach to maintaining good health is effective. This means that if you work hard in the gym or run for hours every day, and keep smoking of drinking alcohol, you will prevent yourself from getting serious results – it’s like taking one step forward and one step backward. So if you’ve decided to achieve better health and to become more confident of yourself as a man – keep to your goal. Perhaps an opportunity to save money on future treatment and medications will be a serious motivation for you.
Smoking has negative impact on your ability to reach and maintain erections because, among other unwanted consequences, it affects blood flow into the penis and neuro-signals ensuring it.
It will be ideal if you add a balanced diet to physical exercises. Reduce the amount of refined products and sugar, fatty food, drink less coffee and caffeine tea. Add more fresh fruit and vegetables to your daily ration; drink enough of pure water without gas. This will improve your overall health, help to control cholesterol levels, blood pressure and to not gain extra weight, which will provide correct functioning of cardiovascular system and contribute to strong erections.
Make sure that you get enough sleep, as it is vital for health. Persistent lack of sleep may lead to low energy level, depression and impair functioning of different body systems.