I don't think anything strikes a man harder than the inability to have sex. Sadly, unless you take action now to prevent it, the odds are that it will happen to you. A research team recently questioned 31,742 men about their sexual performance. The study found that erectile dysfunction (ED) was reported by less than 2% of men under 40 and 4% of men between 40-50.
But after that, the numbers skyrocket. Nearly 40% of men between the ages of 50-69 reported ED. Worse still, 61% of men over 70 reported suffering from ED.
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It should come as no surprise that smoking and obesity were strongly associated with ED. But the biggest warning came to those who watch a lot of TV. Men who watched more than 20 hours per week significantly increased their risk of ED.
The good news is that men who remained physically active reported ED 30% less often than men who didn't exercise at all.
If this doesn't convince you to turn off the tube and get active, I don't know what will!
The study defined being physically active as the equivalent of running three or more hours or playing five hours of tennis each week.
But there's an even better way to use exercise to banish erectile dysfunction. Ride a bike!
That's right. That old wives' tale about bike seats making men impotent is bunk. And the science proves it.
A group of researchers at the Lancisi Heart Institute in Italy assessed the impact of regular cycling on the sexual activity of men who suffered from impotence.
The men were divided into two groups. One group rode stationary bikes for 40 minutes, three times a week. The other group didn't exercise at all.
The researchers followed sexual improvement using questionnaires completed by patients and their partners. After eight weeks, the scores were tallied. Participants reported a 76.8% increase in their sexual activity. Even better, their partners reported a whopping 97.2% increase. The wives reported better scores than the men! How's that for evidence?
The researchers noted that there were no side effects "whatsoever." You can't say that about Viagra.
Listen, my male patients who exercise consistently report the most satisfying sex lives. Expensive and dangerous Viagra should take a back seat to free exercise.
It appears that biking may even be more specific to help men with impotence. By exercising the upper leg and pelvic muscles, you can achieve better blood flow to the penis, enabling more functional erections.
The good news is that you don't need an expensive mountain bike or even need to get outside. You can pick up a used stationary bike at a yard sale and ride it for 30-40 minutes a day (or however much you can safely tolerate). You'll not only improve your sex life, but all of your circulation as well. Go for it!
Ref: "Prevalence of Erectile Dysfunction Increases With Age," Release from the Harvard School of Public Health, August 5, 2003; Annals of Internal Medicine, August 5, 2003
American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2001
Conference, November 14, 2001.