There’s no time like the present to try pelvic floor exercises, basic cardio, beginning weight training, yoga, or salsa dancing to improve both overall health and erection health!
Having a satisfying sex life generally goes along with having a healthy lifestyle.
Controlling stress, having a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep to create a good foundation for sexual satisfaction. But sometimes the basics aren’t quite enough. Millions of men experience erectile dysfunction (ED), but ED can usually be successfully treated with prescription medications like Viagra, Levitra, Staxyn, and Cialis. These drugs have helped men understand that ED isn’t all in their mind, have opened up the topic to a more honest discussion, and have transformed many men’s sex lives.
However, for most men who experience erectile dysfunction, their overall experience can be improved even further through regular exercise. There are many reasons why exercise improves sexual satisfaction. For one thing, regular, sustained exercise can lead to the release of chemicals called endorphins that are responsible for the so-called runner’s high, and which stimulate the release of sex hormones. Exercise also generally improves mood and imparts a sense of calm afterward, with lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, better digestion, and lower levels of stress hormones.
Exercise and Erectile Dysfunction
One Harvard study linked 30 minutes of walking per day with a 41% reduction in risk for erectile dysfunction, while a 2004 randomized clinical study reported that moderate exercise helped restore sexual function in middle-aged, overweight men with ED.
A study from 1990 (eight years before Viagra was introduced) found that sedentary but otherwise healthy middle-aged men who started an intense aerobic exercise program reported higher levels of sexual intimacy, and more reliable sexual function. Men in the study who started a walking program also experienced improvements, though not as dramatic. But the bottom line is, improved physical fitness often improves sexual functioning and satisfaction. Here are 5 exercises that can help with erectile dysfunction.
1. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Long prescribed for women who want to restore muscle tone after childbirth, pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can benefit men significantly too. A study by researchers at the University of West of England in Bristol showed that pelvic floor exercises can help men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Furthermore, experts think these exercises can make orgasms stronger. Once learned, pelvic floor exercises can be done any time, even while doing other things.
To locate the muscles these exercises engage, try to stop and restart the flow of urine mid-stream. Just do this once, because if you do it too much it can affect the passage of urine. Once you’ve located these muscles, you can tighten and draw the muscles in, feeling them lift upward. Hold for a count of five, then release. It’s recommended that men do 8 to 10 repetitions, resting in between. Ideally, each series of 8 to 10 should be followed by 5 to 10 quick squeezes and releases, and men should work up to doing the whole process four or five times per day for best results.
2. Regular Cardio
Regular cardiovascular exercise can not only improve erectile function, it can boost energy levels, lower blood pressure, and improve muscle tone. Furthermore, by reducing body fat and stress, regular cardio can improve a person’s self-image, improve sleep, and result in a more rested overall feeling. For maximum benefit, 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise four or five times a week is ideal, and it may take time to work up to this. It’s smart to discuss this with your doctor if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle or haven’t had a physical in a while. The key to sticking with cardio is choosing an activity you enjoy so it won’t feel like a chore. Great choices in the cardiovascular exercise include:
- Using an elliptical trainer
- Cross country skiing
- Speed walking
Biking is great too, but you should be aware that narrow bike seats can shift weight onto the part of the pelvis supplying blood and nerves to your sex organs. Cycling for more than three hours a week can increase risk of erectile problems, unless you invest in a wider seat that distributes weight so blood supply to the penis isn’t compromised.
3. Weight Training
One of the keys to addressing erectile dysfunction is improving the functioning of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. Wayne Hellstrom, MD, urology professor at Tulane University School of Medicine says keeping endothelium healthy can help you improve erectile functioning. Cardio training helps with this, as does resistance training. Adding weight training to cardio training increases muscle mass and bone strength helps your balance and stability (which can help prevent injuries) and can help lower blood pressure as well. Improved muscle definition can also be great for self-esteem, and that can’t hurt.
The mind and body are intricately connected, and exploring this connection can help you combat stress and fatigue, both of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Adding mind-body exercise to your life helps lower stress, improve breathing, and reduce general tension. Yoga can also be terrific for improving your sense of well-being, and it’s great for helping keep you limber so you reduce the risk of sports-related injuries. Partnered yoga classes and routines let men engage in relaxing and beneficial exercise with their partners, and there are even specific yoga postures designed to improve blood circulation to the pelvic region.
5. Salsa Dancing
If other options sound boring, maybe you should consider a fun, revved-up option like salsa dancing. You and your partner can lose yourself in the music, and it’s an intense exercise that engages the senses, combining cardio, balance, and coordination. Plus salsa dancing is great for keeping weight under control because it burns a lot of calories. Furthermore, it’s an activity that can build self-confidence, and if you’re single, the classes can be terrific for meeting new people. Regular exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery, and there are many types of dance classes that can seriously improve fitness and help you address erectile dysfunction.
Overcoming erectile dysfunction is much more straightforward than it was in the pre-Viagra era. You can help ensure the best possible results in treating ED if you take good care of your body. Regular exercise improves just about every aspect of life, including your sex life.
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