Exercise is paramount when it comes to combatting erectile dysfunction. According to several studies, regular exercise helps to get your blood pumping and improve endothelium function. Endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels and endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction.
The blood vessels in the penis are about one-third the size of those in the heart. If you experience erectile dysfunction because of vascular issues, it’s possible that you’re at risk for heart problems as well. Taking steps to keep your endothelium healthy may help you reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. Being more physically active is necessary for optimal circulation, but there are also other exercises that encourage sexual health.
Kegel exercises are some of the most beneficial movements for erectile dysfunction. In order to fight the effects of ED, you must strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor. Kegel exercises, when performed correctly, do that in an efficient way. For men, the goal is to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle. This muscle allows the penis to fill with blood during an erection, pump semen during ejaculation, and empty the urethra after urination. When you target this muscle, you should be able to experience longer-lasting erections and better penile function.
Ideally, you should practice Kegel exercises every day to experience noticeable improvements. You can practice Kegels anywhere and you can do them lying down, sitting, or standing. Should you have problems such as urinary incontinence or other bladder issues, Kegels may positively impact these areas of your health as well.
How To Perform Kegel Exercises
Before you begin, it’s best to locate the bulbocavernosus muscle for your own knowledge. The easiest way to do this is by stopping your stream multiple times during urination. The muscle you use to do that is the one you want to target. Be sure that you aren’t clenching muscles in the stomach, buttocks, or legs when you engage in Kegels. Otherwise, you won’t experience the same results.
To begin, lie down, sit down, or stand up. Engage the bulbocavernosus muscle and hold it for three seconds. Release and repeat three to five more times. Repeat this process at least three times per day for the best results. Once your muscle gets stronger, you can increase the time from three to five seconds. The ultimate goal is to hold it for longer periods of time, with the ultimate hold amounting to 10 seconds, five separate times, thrice daily. The more you strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle, the better chances you have at improving your condition.
This is a Pilates movement that helps activate the right group of muscles and challenges you to maintain pelvic floor strength while moving. It’s a beginner exercise that focuses on small movements. To being the exercise, lie down with your knees bent, keeping the feet flat on the floor. Allow your arms to rest by your sides. Keeping the spine in a neutral position, exhale and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and slowly lower one knee to the floor, as if it is a controlled fall to the outside. You should only lower it as far as you can while maintaining activation of the pelvic floor muscles. Keep the pelvic stable, inhale, and release the muscles as you bend the knee again. Repeat on the other side and complete four or five repetitions per side. The goal is to build up to 10 reps per side.
Yet another common exercise in Pilates, this helps to activate the pelvic floor just like knee fallouts. Begin in the same lying down position as the previous exercise. Keep the spine in a neutral position, allowing a small space between your middle back and the floor. Exhale and engage your pelvic floor muscles, tilting the pelvis up toward the belly button. Your back should be pressed flat against the floor while doing this. Slowly lift the buttocks and drive your heels into the floor to push up into a bridge position. Make sure to squeeze your buttocks the entire time, resting your weight on the shoulders. Take three breaths before lowering the buttocks and back down to the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Repeat three to four times and build up to 10 repetitions.
Supine Foot Raises
This is an exercise that actually builds on the movements involved with knee fallouts. The goal for this exercise is small, controlled movements executed to perfection. Begin in the same lying down position as the two previous exercises. Exhale and engage your pelvic floor muscles, slowly lifting your right foot off the floor. Make sure that the pelvis and spine are stable and not wavering as you bring your right leg to a full extension. Inhale and then slowly lower your foot back to the ground. Alternate sides, repeating three to four times on each leg.
In addition to exercising the pelvic floor muscles, it’s beneficial to engage in other types of exercise, especially aerobic exercise. According to one study, aerobic exercise may help improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Often times, ED results from blood flow problems to the penis. Diabetes, high cholesterol, vascular disease, and obesity affect blood flow and your ability to become erect. Incorporating aerobic exercise to your workout routine not only works to improve cardiovascular health, but may also lead to improvements in ED. A simple 30-minute walk, three to four times a week, may be enough to improve cardiovascular health. Other forms of aerobic exercise include:
- Spin classes
Keep in mind that it may take between four to six weeks to notice the effects of practicing these exercises. Don’t expect instantaneous results because, much like strength training, building muscle strength takes time.