High Activity and Erectile Function Improvement
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is very common in men and the reasons vary significantly according to the demographic profile and general health status. For example, according to the latest statistics, the prevalence of ED in males over the age of 40 years is approximately 40% (1). Physical conditions that may contribute to ED include; low testosterone levels (as part of a disease process or due to physiological aging) as well as other metabolic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Other causes of ED include; nerve damage, hormonal fluctuations, problems associated with blood flow or general circulation and psychological problems.
It is imperative to mention that medications or pharmacological intervention is not the only option to deal with ED. According to the results of a new study conducted by University of the West, UK, 40% men were able to regain normal erectile function after incorporating moderate physical activity in their lifestyle. Additionally, several research studies have suggested that some pelvic exercises can also help in restoring the normal sexual functions in males as well as females.
What are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises are pelvic floor exercises that strengthen the muscles of pelvic floor; thereby improving the endurance of pelvic muscles. In females, Kegels helps in restoring the muscle tone after child birth in addition to promoting sexual health and urinary continence. In men, these manoeuvres helps in:
- Strengthening the bulbocavernosus muscle that are helpful in engorging the penis with blood at the time of erection.
- Improves the pumping of blood in sinuses at the time of ejaculation.
- Assists in emptying of urethra after peeing; thereby improving the overall urinary functions.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises?
To locate the pelvic floor muscle, stop the urine stream several times during urination. The muscles clenched to do so, must be exercised gently several times a day. Squeeze the muscles tightly and relax after 5 seconds. Repeat the exercise at least 10-20 times each day. This can be done when standing, sitting on a chair or lying with the knees pulled up.
Some tips to improve the quality of results are:
- In the beginning, start with a set of 10 complete series of Kegels and gradually increase to 10-20 Kegels thrice daily.
- Avoid holding the breath or pushing with the thigh muscle, buttocks or stomach.
- On every count of 5, try relaxing a bit.
- To challenge yourself and take things a little further, alternate between long and short squeezes.
- You can also try to squeeze the anal muscles as if you are resisting the bowel movements. Hold it for 5-10 seconds before relaxing and continue to breathe in the process.
Aerobic Exercises to Improve ED Symptoms
Research and clinical data indicates that aerobic exercises are also helpful in restoring the normal quality of sexual relationships. For example, according to a new research reported in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (4), aerobic exercises can enhance the overall health as well as sexual functions in both males and females. Incorporating aerobic exercises can help in boosting sexual stamina and vigor. Experts believe that walking briskly up to 30 minutes each day, 3-4 times every week may serve as a game changer by boosting the cardiovascular health; thereby improving the ED.
What Else do You Need to Consider?
Don’t buy the hype that every other bogus website advertising shouts at you. ED can be embarrassing and stressful for some, but it can surely be helped with rather scientifically proven safe methods. With regular pelvic floor muscle and aerobic exercises, most individuals report fruitful results without really being on medications.
In moderate to severe cases of ED, over-the-counter drugs like Sildenafil can also be used to restore normal sexual functions. It is imperative to mention that ED can be an early clinical sign of heart problem (or cardiovascular issues). In all such cases, it is contraindicated to use sildenafil or any other phosphodiesterase inhibitors. If your symptoms are unprovoked and worsening with time, it is highly recommended to see a primary care provider to identify and manage the core cause. In advanced cases of ED that are refractory to medications, other interventions can also be employed such as blood vessel surgery, implants or penile pumps.
You don’t really have to say goodbye to your sex life because it isn’t over yet. Maybe it’s time you stop seeking that magic pill and start working on your pelvic floor muscle to deal with ED. There’s a catch to it as well, you can perform the aerobic exercise or the Kegels anywhere or at anytime. Discuss with your doctor about the suitable treatment methods for you in order to regain your happy healthy sexual life.
- Lakin, M., & Wood, H. (2005). Erectile dysfunction. The Cleveland Clinic Medicine Index, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/erectile/erectile.Htm
- Lavoisier, P., Roy, P., Dantony, E., Watrelot, A., Ruggeri, J., & Dumoulin, S. (2014). Pelvic-Floor Muscle Rehabilitation in Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation. Physical therapy, 94(12), 1731-1743.
- Tibaek, S., Gard, G., Dehlendorff, C., Iversen, H. K., Erdal, J., Biering-Sørensen, F., … & Jensen, R. (2015). The effect of pelvic floor muscle training on sexual function in men with lower urinary tract symptoms after stroke. Topics in stroke rehabilitation, 1074935714Z-0000000019.
- Khoo, J., Tian, H. H., Tan, B., Chew, K., Ng, C. S., Leong, D., … & Chen, R. Y. T. (2013). Comparing Effects of Low‐and High‐Volume Moderate‐Intensity Exercise on Sexual Function and Testosterone in Obese Men. The journal of sexual medicine, 10(7), 1823-1832.