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Does Exercise Help With Erectile Dysfunction?

November 24, 2023

What if the best thing for your sex life is a new pair of sneakers? It may be the case, with new research showing that aerobic exercise helps with erectile dysfunction (ED) and other erectile problems. But how, exactly? And what should your exercise plan look like? We asked an expert. [insert-cta-small id=52699]

6 ways aerobic exercise helps with ED and erectile disorders.

So, how exactly does time at the gym help with time in the bedroom? The list is long:
  1. Weight management: Being overweight can lead to or worsen ED, and aerobic exercise is one of the best antidotes. “Maintaining a normal body weight is a hallmark of preventing ED,” says urologist Evan Shreck, MD, an ED expert who sees patients at Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute at MidState Medical Center in Meriden.
  2. Helping with related conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure and many other medical conditions can increase your risk for ED. Physical activity helps keep these conditions under control.
  3. Improving blood flow: Aerobic exercise improves your heart health and blood circulation, which equals better blood flow to the penis too. “By increasing blood flow throughout the body, exercise can help with erections,” says Dr. Shreck.
  4. Hormonal balance: Regular aerobic activity can boost testosterone levels and balance other hormones that impact your sexual function.
  5. Stress reduction: Whether or not you realize it, stress may be contributing to your erectile problems. Guess what’s a proven stress reliever? Exercise.
  6. Priming you for intimacy: “Intercourse is exercise. You have to keep your body in shape and your heart healthy enough to engage in it,” says Dr. Shreck.
> Related: 5 Lifestyle Changes That Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Aim for 160 minutes of aerobic exercise (aka cardio) per week.

Wondering how much exercise you should aim for? A 2018 study concluded 40 minutes of aerobic exercise four times per week decreases ED. And the cherry on top - a 2023 review found that physical activity as a treatment for premature ejaculation. “A lot of men just want a quick fix, a pill. But for many men with erectile problems, lifestyle changes like exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are at the crux of the issue,” says Dr. Shreck. Want more health news? Text StartHere to 85209 to sign up for text alerts

The best aerobic exercise for ED is whatever you’ll actually do.

“There’s no type of aerobic exercise in particular that I would recommend over another for ED,” says Dr. Shreck. The point is to find an activity you’ll actually stick with — so try out options until you find something you enjoy. For example:
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Boxing
  • Spin class
By the way, if you’re wondering how hard to push yourself, the sweet spot is what experts dub “moderate to vigorous intensity.” On a scale of 1 to 10 — if 1 is you lounging on the couch and 10 is you leaving it all on the field — that’s somewhere between 5 and 8.

For more help with erectile problems, talk to an expert.

Exercise is one answer to issues like ED, but it’s not the only one. A men’s health expert can guide you, including evaluating you for other conditions that can lead to erectile problems. “ED is very common. You didn’t do anything wrong. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed,” says Dr. Shreck. “This is what we do for a living. It’s our area of expertise, and we can help.”