Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to maintain an erection and it occurs in many men for several reasons. It is generally caused by physical conditions such as low testosterone, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Additional causes include psychological issues, blood flow issues, hormonal fluctuations, and nerve damage. Treating it with medications is not the only option—there are exercises that can be done.
Exercise has proven to improve sexual satisfaction, as it releases chemicals known as endorphins that are responsible for the “runners high” and stimulate the release of sex hormones. Exercise also improves mood and results in a relaxed feeling as well as a lower heart rate, reduced blood pressure, better digestion, and lower levels of stress hormones.
Men who have a difficult time maintaining their erections may benefit from physical activity and exercise. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction ranges from eight percent among men in their 20s and 30s to 37 percent among men in their early 70s. The sexual disorder can significantly deteriorate quality of life and is often neglected in clinical practices, according to a recent study. The study assessed 292 men who were randomly assigned aerobic exercises, pelvic floor exercises, and other exercises. The other 213 men were told not to include any exercise in their daily routines. The results of the study showed that men who exercised scored higher than those who did not. Researchers concluded that exercise should be used (even if in combination with medication) to treat erectile dysfunction.
The best exercises for erectile dysfunction treatment have proven to help a significant percentage of men. These exercises include pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) and aerobic exercises. A recent study showed that pelvic exercises helped 40 percent of men with a condition regain normal erectile function. It also helped an additional 33.5 percent significantly improve erectile function.
Pelvic floor exercises are designed to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. These are commonly known as Kegels. Women generally perform these exercises to prepare and strengthen their muscles before and after childbirth. Kegels also help with promoting urinary continence and sexual health. These exercises help men strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle, which performs several important functions related to penis health.
Exercising muscles beyond the pelvic floor may also help to combat erectile dysfunction. A recently published study indicates that aerobic exercise can help. Since erectile dysfunction is often caused by circulation problems to the penis, including aerobic exercise can improve your overall health. These exercises include 30 minutes of walking per day three to four times a week at the very least. Other important and useful cardio exercises include running, dancing, using an elliptical machine, rowing, cross-country skiing, speed walking, and swimming. The key to sticking to aerobic exercises is finding something you enjoy—that way you will not quit and keep it a habit and part of your daily routine.
Weight training can also work as an aerobic exercise, as it helps improve the function of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. Cardio and resistance training with weight helps increase muscle mass and bone strength, improves balance and stability, and lowers blood pressure. Another great boost of weight training is improved muscle definition, which can increase self-esteem.
In addition to aerobic exercises, Kegels, and weight training, yoga has proven to be effective at promoting relaxation and blood flow, which can help manage erectile dysfunction. Here are five effective yoga poses that can help manage ED and how you can perform them.
This posture is also known as the seated forward bend. It helps relax the muscles of the pelvis, especially in those who sit for long periods of time. It also promotes blood flow, creates calm feelings, and relieves mild depression. It is performed by sitting on your mat with your legs in front of you. Rock your body gently to the left and use your hand to pull the right sit bone away. Repeat this movement on the other side. Secondly, inhale deeply while keeping your upper body long. Lean forward and lengthen your tailbone as you draw closer to the floor. If you are able, grab your feet with your hands as you fully extend your elbows. This pose should be held for one to three minutes, and you should focus on your breathing to try and release any stress from within your body. With time and practice, you will be able to reach your hands beyond your feet.
This position is also known as the standing forward bend and is a staple in many yoga routines. This intense stretch may help reduce anxiety, which is often a cause for ED. This position may even be able to help with infertility, aid digestion, and stimulate organs in the abdomen. To perform this exercise, you must stand at the head of your mat with your hands placed on your hips. Exhale and bend your torso forward, hinging at the hips. Focus on lengthening your torso forward, instead of simply folding forward. Then, bring your fingers to the floor in front of your feet and try to keep your knees as straight as possible to feel the stretch. Finally, relax into this pose for about 30 seconds to a minute, and as you inhale, try to lift your torso and lengthen your body even more. Relax deeper into the stretch each time you exhale and make sure your head and neck are relaxed.
This exercise is also known as the bound angle pose, or butterfly pose. It stretches the inner thighs and groin, stimulating the prostate gland, bladder, kidneys, and other abdominal organs. To perform this stretch, begin by sitting on your mat with your legs extended in front. Bend your knees as you breathe out, pulling your heels in toward your pelvis one at a time. Drop your knees to either side and press the bottoms of your feet together. Secondly, use your fingers to grab your big toes, or your hands to grab your ankles, or shins. Try staying in this position from one to five minutes, while inhaling and exhaling. While breathing, work on lengthening your torso.
Also known as the plank pose, the kumbhakasana is known to help combat erectile dysfunction, enhance endurance, and increase upper body strength. To perform his pose, begin by lying flat on your stomach with your palms at the side of your face. Bend your feet so your toes are pushing off the ground. Use your hands to push your body and raise your buttocks while making sure your legs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position as long as possible, and then slowly bring your body back to the starting position.
Also known as the raised leg pose, this position is supposed to create an intense effect on the core of your body and assist in strengthening the quads and glutes. It can improve sexual performance and make you last longer. It also increases energy and assists with blood flow to the pelvic area. While lying flat on your back, place your hands on either side of your body with your palms down to the floor. Inhale slowly and lift your legs about 45 to 60 degrees from the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and then slowly relax your posture as you exhale. Repeating this pose three or four times a day will provide you with benefits.
This position, also known as the seated forward bend, is known to improve endurance and strengthen the perineal muscles (found between the anus and the scrotum, or vulva in women). This exercise assists in gaining an erection and helps you last longer during sex. In a sit-up position, put your legs straight in front of you and straighten your spine. Flex your toes toward your body and breathe in while raising both arms over your heart. Stretch up to the sky. Then, while exhaling, bend forward from your hip joints, with your chin moving towards your toes. Keep your spine as straight as possible until you reach your toes. Breathe in again while lifting your head slightly and lengthening your spine. Finally, move your bellybutton toward your knees as you exhale.
Men of all ages are at risk of developing issues with sexual performance and penile functionality, but these issues do not always require medication. Products like Viagra come with side effects like headaches and flashes, so implementing exercise is better for your long-term health, although it requires more work on your part. By including exercise in your routine, you can combat ED and lead a healthier life.