Beating the track. Hitting the weights. How it helps with ED.

Medically reviewed by Mr Craig Marsh
Written by Sonya Neville
Last reviewed 17/11/2021
4 minute read
Medically reviewed by Mr Craig Marsh
Written by David Parker
Last reviewed 17/11/2021
4 minute read

So there are lots of reasons why you should exercise regularly and keep fit.

The fitter you are, the less likely you are to have severe erection problems. In this article, we’ll explain why.

Erections are all about blood flow.

To get one, blood needs to be able to flow into the spongy tissue in the penis.

The corpus cavernosum. For this to happen, blood vessels at the base of the penis need to be dilated.


Once blood flows in, some vessels around the base of the penis close to keep it there. This is what helps men to keep an erection once they’ve got one.

It’s when these blood vessels stay tight, and circulation to the penis is interrupted, that we get erection problems.

 

But it can also happen when the signals our brain sends to these vessels, telling them to open up, become scrambled. Lots of things can cause this. For example, being anxious or nervous about sex, feeling stressed, drinking too much alcohol or taking recreational drugs.

Exercise helps to make blood flow better.

And that’s why it’s good. Not just for ED but for your overall health.

There are lots of reasons why.

For a start,

regular exercise helps to lower blood pressure. Granted, your blood pressure might go up when you’re actually doing exercise, be it running or swimming or lifting, because your heart’s working harder.

But exercising regularly helps to keep your overall or resting blood pressure low. This makes it easier for blood to flow into your penis when you’re aroused.

Exercise also keeps your weight down.

The leaner you are, the better your circulation will be, meaning firmer and longer-lasting erections.

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You’re less likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you exercise regularly.

Diabetes can interfere with blood flow, but can also damage nerve endings, some of which deal with arousal signals that tell your penis to get hard.

Exercise sorts your head out.

So you know how it goes.
You’ve experienced it for yourself.

It’s been a long day.
You’re stressed or distracted.

You go for a run or a swim. Or hit the weights in the gym. And when you finish, suddenly your head’s clear. You feel much better. There’s a chemical reason behind this.

You feel good after physical activity because it releases hormones in the brain, called endorphins. The actual point of these is to desensitise you to pain. Because when you exercise, you’re putting your body through the wringer, endorphins are released to disguise feelings of discomfort. The effect of these is to lift your mood.

And the less stressed you are, and the better you feel in your head, the less likely you are to get ED or have severe ED.

Exercise boosts confidence.

It follows doesn’t it?

When you exercise, you feel better about yourself.

About your overall health, and sometimes even how you look. Self-esteem.

And that knocks on to the bedroom. If you feel like you’re in decent shape, you probably aren’t going to feel as self-conscious or nervous when the clothes are coming off.

The less self-conscious you feel, the less anxious you’ll be, and the less susceptible to ED you’ll be.

Some types of exercise are said to be particularly beneficial for ED.

For example, studies have suggested that kegel or pelvic floor exercises can help men get over ED.

These are the kind of exercises that work the muscles you use when you go to the toilet.

You can do these by sitting or lying down, and tensing the muscles in the pelvis and releasing 10 times.

Pilates movements can help with pelvic floor muscles too.

So for example, a pelvic curl is where you lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent. You then push your buttocks upwards, so your torso and thighs are in a straight line, and hold for three breaths before lowering.

Starting off with three or four reps at a time, and building up slowly is a good way to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Another good one is the foot raise. For this one, you lie down on your back with one leg outstretched and the other bent at the knee.

You then lift the foot of the outstretched leg slowly, keeping your leg straight, hold for five seconds, then lower again slowly. After you’ve done three to five reps with one foot, switch legs and do it with the other foot.

You should go easy on cycling if you have ED.

Don’t get us wrong. We like cycling.

It’s a great, low impact exercise, and you don’t have to cut it out completely. But you should avoid doing more than three hours a week if you have erection problems, and it’s worth thinking about the saddle you’re sitting on too.

This is because the saddle you often get on bicycles and exercise bikes can be hard, and put pressure on and injure the nerves and arteries near the penis – especially if you sit on them for a long time. The can then have a knock-on effect on erections, preventing nerve signals and blood flow.

If you do ride a bike or go spinning at the gym, and want to limit the risk of ED, you should go for a seat-type saddle that more evenly spreads your weight (without the protrusion that would cause all of your weight to rest on your perineum, which is the space between your testicles and your rear).

Try using one with a seat that’s built more for comfort than aerodynamics. You can also get gel-cushioned seats, which can ease pressure on the perineum.

If you can find a bike that allows you to sit back as well, that can help to relieve some of this pressure.

It’s generally better to have a bit of variety.

A mixture of cardio and strength training is ideal.

So that might be a bit of running, and a bit of lifting weights.

It’s recommended that adults between 19 and 65 do either:

> two and a half hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, and strength training on two or more days

or

> one and a quarter hours a week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, and strength training on two or more days.

So for moderate aerobic activities, think fast walking, swimming or dancing.

For vigorous, think jogging or running, or playing a team sport like football or basketball.

A good way to do it is to aim for 30 min- utes of fast walking a day. Or you could go for a half-hour run twice a week. When you think about it, it’s really not that much.

It can be helpful to switch things up too, and alternate between moderate and vigorous exercise. So you might head out for a run one day a week, and go swimming on another day.

Strength training can be lifting weights, or it can be bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups. So you don’t necessarily need to be a regular at the gym. There’s plenty you can do at home.

Aiming to hit these exercise times every week might not cure your ED. But it can help to make symptoms less severe. And if you only get occasional ED now and you don’t exercise much, you might find if you exercise that you get erection problems less.

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