The evidence is in: exercise can help men with erection problems have better sex. But how much exercise is enough? Will walking home from work do the trick or are we talking pumping iron at the gym five times a week? And what kinds of exercise work?
To shed some light on these questions, a group of US researchers found 295 men willing to share intimate details about their erections, orgasms, and intercourse. They also disclosed whether they were couch potatoes or led active lifestyles. The researchers then studied the data to see if men who work out regularly have healthier sex lives.
How much sweat for a better erection?
Men who exercise more have fewer problems with erectile dysfunction and better sex, the results confirmed. OK, there’s one thing you should know… the average age of the men in this study was 60. But hey, young guys have erection problems too. And other research has found that younger men can also improve their sex lives when they get fit.
So, here comes the crunch… how much exercise are we actually talking about here? Well, it all depends on how hard you’re working out. To boost sexual performance, the guys in the study needed about two hours of intense exercise per week (think going for a run or swim), three and a half hours of moderate exercise (playing a racket sport, for example), or six hours of a light activity (such as walking). If you exercise less than that, it’s not likely to have a major effect on your sex life, the study found.
If you’re not sure what kind of exercise you’ll be into, experimenting with different sports or activities is a good idea. "When it comes to exercise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach," says researcher Dr Stephen Freedland. But it’s definitely worth finding something that works for you, since even a little exercise is better than none, he adds.
Yoga could be a good fit for some men. Research presented at this year’s Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health found that India’s ancient form of physical and mental exercise can help men with erection problems caused by an inactive lifestyle.
A regular, daily yoga practice can boost a man’s sex drive and improve his erections so he can have sex for longer, the Indian study of 60 middle-aged men found.
What’s more, practicing yoga can improve a man’s mood and outlook and lead to less mental tension, the study also reported. All of this bodes well in the bedroom, since science shows that mental health is just as important to a good sex life as physical aspects.
So if your erection is letting you down, why not try firming up your asanas. If nothing else, your buff yoga body will please your partner and boost your confidence. And that extra strength and flexibility could help you work your way through the Kama Sutra!
The Association of Exercise with Both Erectile and Sexual Function in Black and White Men, Simon RM, Howard L, Zapata D, Frank J, Freedland SJ, Vidal AC (2015)
'Yoga for erectile dysfunction', poster at World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) conference 2015, Singapore; Sudhakar Petkar, S. S. T Medical College (Ayur), India
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