No matter what we are watching on TV, there always seems to be a commercial for medications such as Viagra, that helps to treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Do you ever wish that you did not have to take a pill, or be able to do something to help the pill work? I have an answer for you, and that answer is exercise.
Exercise has been well known to be good for our bodies, but why? Most of us would rather be catching up on our shows on Netflix or spending time with friends. Exercise has numerous benefits for our circulatory system, which helps with getting the blood flowing to our body. Adequate blood flow is especially important for achieving and maintaining an erection, as erection is caused by increased blood flow from sexual arousal. If a man does not have good blood flow, that can cause erection to be weak or to not occur at all.
Other things to consider with ED is other medical conditions that could be factors in care. Many times, poor blood flow to the penis is due to the hardening of the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is largely caused by a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and smoking. ED can also be an early sign of diabetes or heart disease, so it is a good idea to always check in with your doctor.
Now that I have convinced you how important good blood flow is, let’s talk about the benefits of exercise for erectile dysfunction. Exercise is the easiest way to improve our vascular health. There have been numerous studies trying to determine the optimal amount of exercise to improve blood flow. The consensus seems to be performing exercise for 30 minutes all or most days of the week. Exercise intensity should be moderate – that is, if talking to a friend while exercising, you should not feel out of breath to talk.
What type of exercise is best? Honestly, whatever exercise will motivate you the most. It is easiest to stick to an exercise routine that you find fun or enjoyable. Some examples (though not all), can include: walking, hiking, bicycling, dancing, swimming, jogging, running, golfing, tennis, rowing, skiing, and yard work. Exercise also does not have to be performed for 30 minutes in a row; breaking it up can be easier to fit into a busy work or weekend day. Exercise can also help to improve mood and body image, making sexual intercourse more desirable.
Another exercise that is usually thought of more for women, but can help ED is actually kegels. Kegels can help contract the pelvic floor muscles (which men have too!) and can get the blood flowing to the region as well. The best way to perform Kegels is to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles like you are trying to stop gas from coming out. However, these exercises are very difficult to perform correctly, and correct form is key for improvement.
Visiting a local pelvic floor PT can help give you tips on how to perform a proper kegel, as well as any other exercise guidance that you may need.
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