To avoid ED problems before they start, regular exercise is essential. Find out what you need to add to your routine.
Exercise may be the ticket to a more active sex life, but we’re talking about regular cardio and strength workouts, not targeted “penis exercises.” Research shows that even a little bit of physical activity — the equivalent of walking 30 minutes a day a few times a week — may lower the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Why is exercise such an effective remedy for preventing erectile dysfunction?
“For men who have failing erections, the penis is a barometer of what’s happening in the rest of the body,” explains urologist Wayne Hellstrom, MD, professor of urology at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
The key to all of this is the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels that helps blood flow smoothly. Regular exercise has been shown to improve the way the endothelium works. The endothelium lines the blood vessels in the heart and the penis, explains Dr. Hellstrom, but the blood vessels in the penis are about one-third the size of those in the heart. So if you fail to have erections due to vascular problems, that indicates that you’re at risk for heart problems as well.
The bottom line is that taking steps to keep your endothelium healthy will help you prevent or reduce your erectile dysfunction risk. Being more physically active is important to the health of your endothelium and, therefore, to the health of your heart and your penis.
Building Your Exercise Program
The benefits of exercise for your blood vessels last only as long as you keep exercising on a regular basis. Experts recommend that men who want to prevent impotence make a long-term commitment to exercise. Here are some tips to remember:
- Choose activities you enjoy. Your exercise program doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, studies have shown that just walking briskly every day for at least three months significantly improves the health of your blood vessels. Aim to be active most days of the week. If you prefer basketball, that’s fine — just keep up the full-court press.
- Spice it up with weight training. Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, and jogging, is good for your blood vessels, but resistance training has been shown to improve endothelial function as well. A mix of both can help improve your overall health and keep you interested in your workout routine.
- Don’t let your age stop you. Erectile dysfunction is more common as men get older, but at the same time, habitual exercise has been shown to fight the effects of age on blood vessels.
- Check in with your doctor if you haven’t been physically active in a while. It’s a good idea to get your doctor’s approval — and maybe some additional exercise tips — if you’re starting an exercise program from scratch.
The Dubious Claims of So-Called Penis Exercise
As you seek solutions to impotence, you will undoubtedly run into male enhancement recommendations, possibly suggesting penis exercise to improve your erections.
Penis exercise “may sound good,” says Hellstrom, “but I don’t think there are data to support it.”
The phrase “penis exercise” actually refers to exercises known as pelvic floor or Kegel exercises, in which a man focuses on strengthening the muscles that control the flow of urine and ejaculation. These exercises are often recommended to men who are recovering from prostate cancer treatment, have problems with ejaculation, or have a hard time holding their urine, but they do not appear to help erectile dysfunction.SOURCE