By Marc Braman, MD, MPH

MB (Marc Braman, MD, MPH):

If you want to power up your sex life, you should power up your exercise life.

Good blood flow is what makes the jello a rocket ship. Without it, “you got nothin”. Healthy blood vessels = healthy physical ability to have an erection.

At a very basic level exercise is toning, conditioning, and maintaining your vascular system. It is keeping not only your heart, but also all of your blood vessels in better health and better working order. In addition, exercise improves metabolism, reduces excess weight, improves mood, relieves stress, and on and on — all things that help the sex life and erectile function specifically.

Obesity isn’t just an attractiveness issue. It is a real problem for erectile function for a number of reasons. It indicates major metabolic problems, it can physically get in the way, and excess fat tissue produces hormones that are not at all helpful for good sex for guys, just to mention a few. As weight goes up, all the systems for good sex go down.

But, you are not stuck with a dull, dreary, sexless existence.

Studies have found that “exercise…is highly associated with better erectile/sexual function .…” When lifestyle is used as treatment in obese men, guess what? ED gets better. Probably in proportion to the lifestyle improvements and getting the vascular and other systems healthy again. In obese men, the more weight they lost and the more physical activity they did, the more their erectile function improved. Weight loss and exercise were effective treatment for their ED.

This isn’t rocket science, but…I suppose in another sense it is. If you want your rocket ship to take you up through the stratosphere, all systems need to be working well. The simple rocket science for ED, exercise, and obesity is — as some guys would put it — “You need to lose some, to get some”.

Effect of lifestyle changes on erectile dysfunction in obese men: a randomized controlled trial. Esposito K, Giugliano F, Di Palo C, Giugliano G, Marfella R, D’Andrea F, D’Armiento M, Giugliano D.  JAMA. 2004 Jun 23;291(24):2978-84.

The association of exercise with both erectile and sexual function in black and white men. Simon RM, Howard L, Zapata D, Frank J, Freedland SJ, Vidal AC. J Sex  Med. 2015 May;12(5):1202-10. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12869. Epub 2015 Mar 20.

Erectile dysfunction and hormonal imbalance in morbidly obese male is reversed after gastric bypass surgery: a prospective randomized controlled trial. Reis LO, Favaro WJ, Barreiro GC, de Oliveira LC, Chaim EA, Fregonesi A, Ferreira U. Int J Androl. 2010 Oct 1;33(5):736-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01017.x. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Marc Braman, MD, MPH

Dr. Braman is board certified in preventive medicine/public health and occupational/environmental medicine. He is founding member, second President and first Executive Director of American College of Lifestyle Medicine and founder and current president of the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation which created LifestyleFACTS.org. He provides lifestyle medicine care in a wide variety of settings as well as initiating efforts to establish professional standards for the field of lifestyle medicine and planning and conducting national professional conferences in lifestyle medicine.

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