Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sex problem that men report to their doctors. It is defined as trouble getting or keeping an erection that's firm enough for sex. It's not rare for a man to have some problem with erections from time to time. On average, erectile dysfunction affects one third of all men and its prevalence increases with age. By age 60 nearly half of all men will have had at least one brush with it. A good rule of thumb is the 25% rule. If you experience erection problems more than once out of every four times, you may have erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur for many reasons. But for roughly 75% of men, the cause is more complex. Stress or emotional reasons quite often contribute to its occurrence. Sometimes it can occur as the side effect of a particular medication.
Erectile dysfunction can occur most often when blood flow in the penis is limited or nerves are harmed. It may be an early warning of a more serious illness like atherosclerosis (hardening or blocked arteries), heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
According to researchers, sexual activity can stay strong for years by living a healthy lifestyle. And, therefore, erectile dysfunction doesn't have to be a normal part of aging.
How Does Erection Take Place? -
During sexual arousal, nerves release chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis. Blood flows into two erection chambers in the penis, made of spongy muscle tissue called the corpus cavernosum, which relax and trap blood. The blood pressure in the chambers makes the penis firm, causing an erection. When a man has an orgasm, a second set of nerve signals reach the penis and cause the muscular tissues in the penis to contract and blood is released back into a man's circulation and the erection comes down.
Role of Exercise in Erectile Dysfunction -
Physical activity has been identified as the lifestyle factor most strongly correlated with erectile function and the most important promoter of vascular health.
The research shows that men who are physically active reported better erections - the fitter the man, the better the erection. Vigorous exercise, the equivalent of running at least three hours a week or playing singles tennis five hours per week, can lower the risk of erectile dysfunction by a whopping 30 %.
It has been found that men less than 60 years old benefit most from exercise. But bad lifestyle habits such as being overweight, watching more than 20 hours of television a week, and smoking offset the benefits of being young.
A regular schedule of physical exercise helps improve erectile dysfunction in the following ways:
- It makes the blood vessels more elastic, allowing more blood to flow to the sex organs.
- It stimulates the body’s production of nitrogen oxide, making the blood vessels to expand. This is essentially just what the popular medicine, Viagra, does.
We see clearly that regular exercise could also be a form of treatment. This makes sense because when you create a better flow through the blood vessels, you are actually treating the very cause of erectile dysfunction.
Besides, it is important to remember that exercise can improve erectile dysfunction as long as you maintain the exercise regime. Falling back into old habits will erase any of the benefits established by regular exercise, thereby developing again the risks of erectile dysfunction.
Exercise Recommendations -
Many studies recommend that the exercise to decrease erectile dysfunction should include 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity 4 times per week. Overall, weekly exercise of 160 minutes for 6 months contributes to decreasing erectile problems in men.
These recommendations are slightly more than those of WHO, which include at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
The outcome will be better if the aerobic activity can be further combined with resistance training at least three times a week and Kegel exercises, which should be performed with perfect technique, aiming for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day in order to get real benefits.
As a matter of fact, the more exercise one does, the greater the effect it has on erectile dysfunction. And it becomes more effective, the harder one pushes oneself.
The Bottom Line –
On average, erectile dysfunction affects one third of all men, its prevalence increasing with age. By age 60, nearly half of all men will have had at least one brush with it. If you experience erection problems more than once out of every four times, you may have erectile dysfunction. But, in reality, it can be effectively managed by incorporating a schedule of regular exercise in your daily life. Furthermore, a daily schedule of regular exercise will favorably affect atherosclerosis, diabetes, and stress and anxiety, which greatly contribute to its causation.
Dr Pran Rangan (author) from Kanpur (UP), India on June 04, 2021:
Thanks Ciarana for your enlightening comments. I endorse your views about sex .
Dr Pran Rangan (author) from Kanpur (UP), India on June 06, 2019:
Thanks for liking my hub.
Hacicu Bogdan from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on June 06, 2019:
So glad I love sports! Thank you for this valuable information!