Can exercise help to manage erectile dysfunction?

It’s not a myth that doing exercise releases endorphins – otherwise known as ‘feel-good’ hormones. In fact, exercise is often recommended as part of a treatment plan for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, both of which also happen to be common causes of erectile dysfunction.

With 50% of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 likely to experience it to some degree, we look at how exercise can help to manage this condition.

For men who do find themselves suffering from ED, the knee-jerk reaction can be to reach for the Viagra but – while ED tablets are an excellent solution in the short term – there are other treatment options to consider incorporating into your lifestyle on a long-term basis, one of the most straightforward being exercise. Below you’ll find four great ways that exercise may help to treat erectile dysfunction.

Exercise increases blood flow to the penis

An erection happens when blood flows into the penis and makes it hard. This is why ED tablets – which temporarily promote blood flow to the genitals – work so well. Exercise is great for boosting circulation and promoting heart health, and improve circulation and blood flow to the penis. This makes getting an erection much easier.

Exercise improves general health

In simple terms, the better your general health, the less likely you are to suffer from erectile dysfunction. This is because ED is a common symptom of many different types of diseases, some of which are caused by poor health and many of which can be improved (at least in part) by an exercise routine.

Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are three conditions which can cause ED. They are commonly brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle, and a manageable exercise routine is often recommended as part of the management plan.

Exercise helps to combat ED caused by these diseases by:

  • Strengthening the heart, allowing it to pump blood more effectively around the body, including the penis
  • Lowering high blood pressure, a condition which can damage and harden the arteries diminishing blood flow to the penis
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (obese men are more likely to suffer from ED)

Exercise can build strength in the muscles associated with erections

The hardness of an erection is partially determined by the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that you use to stop yourself urinating; they are located underneath the pubic bone and support the pelvic organs.

Studies have shown that strengthening these muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises can improve the hardness and duration of your erections. You can find a guide to pelvic floor exercises written by the UK’s National Health Service here.

Motivating yourself to exercise

If your inability to get an erection is stemming from an underlying psychological condition, it can be really hard to find the focus and motivation to start exercising – but with the help of counselling, relaxation techniques and open communication with loved ones, many people find that getting fit does wonders for their mood and sex life.

It’s also worth noting that exercise can make you feel better about your body and appearance, which boosts your self-esteem and makes you feel more confident in the bedroom.

The HSE recommends that adults should complete 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking or gentle cycling at least five days a week. If you’re new to exercising this is a good place to start – particularly if you are in poor health or are overweight. The longer you keep up your exercise plan, the more activity you can add to it; just remember not to put too much strain on yourself too early. For more help, here’s our guide to starting out.

Lastly, remember that the best way to tackle erectile dysfunction is often to combine several treatments and techniques. In the short term, taking ED tablets such as Viagra and Cialis can be a great way of boosting your confidence and happiness in the bedroom.

Want more information about ED and its treatments?

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