London – Scientists have uncovered the key to men’s sexual success – more exercise.
Those who are fit and active have better erectile and sexual function, new research has revealed.
And the more strenuous the exercise, the better.
Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found men who reported more frequent exercise, a total of 18 metabolic equivalents, known as METS, per week, had higher sexual function scores, regardless of race.
MET hours reflect both the total time of exercise and the intensity of exercise.
A total of 18 METS can be achieved by combining exercises with different intensities.
However it is the equivalent of two hours of strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming, 3.5 hours of moderate exercise, or six hours of light exercise, say the scientists.
‘This study is the first to link the benefits of exercise in relation to improved erectile and sexual function in a racially diverse group of patients,’ said senior author Adriana Vidal.
Researchers collected and analysed data from nearly 300 people.
The participants self-reported their activity levels, which researchers then categorised as sedentary, mildly active, moderately active, or highly active.
The subjects also self-reported their sexual function, including the ability to have erections, orgasms, the quality and frequency of erections, and overall sexual function.
Ultimately, they discovered men who exercised less reported lower levels of sexual function.
There are other contributors to low sexual function, such as diabetes, older age, past or current smoking, and coronary artery disease.
‘When it comes to exercise, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach,’ cautioned Stephen Freedland, co-author on the study.
‘However, we are confident that even some degree of exercise, even if less intense, is better than no exercise at all.’
Indeed, doctors are increasingly warning that erectile dysfunction is can often be an early warning sign of heart disease.
‘The body needs a good blood supply for an erection - and erectile problems are actually a very clear barometer of cardiovascular health,’ said Raj Persad, a urologist at Bristol Royal Infirmary.
‘That’s because the penile arteries are smaller than coronary ones, so become furred up faster.’
Cardiologist Graham Jackson, of the Sexual Advice Association, adds: ‘A man in his 40s with erectile dysfunction has a 50-fold greater risk of having a heart attack over the next ten years.
‘It’s actually a predictor of death rather than simply heart disease.’
Meanwhile Australian research showed that even in apparently healthy men, slight or moderate erection problems could signal trouble ahead.
The condition increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and arterial disease in men aged 45 and over with no previous history of heart conditions.
Experts say men experiencing any degree of erectile dysfunction should seek medical help.