It’s time to get physical! If you want better “physical fun” in the bedroom, you need to improve your daily physical activity outside the bedroom as well.
Are you one of the 30 million men suffering from ED? If so, you may be feeling trapped or suffocated in your sex life. You can’t get or maintain an erection like you used to, which can hurt your confidence, your intimacy, and even your relationships. You might be feeling unfulfilled or unsatisfied. There may be a loss of intimacy between you and your partner. You may be falling into anxiety or depression, or you may have trouble getting your partner pregnant.
Many men think popping a blue pill will do the trick. In reality, these only mask the symptoms without getting to the root causes of your ED or related complications. Plus, they often have more side effects than benefits!
But thankfully, you can overcome ED in a natural and effective way… with exercise!
Why exercise for ED?
Exercise can help treat almost all causes of ED. This makes it the ideal addition to any ED treatment. I like to call this solution: “sexercise.”
ED has 8 main causes. Physical activity actually addresses each cause in some way or another.
1. Stress and anxiety
Stress and psychological problems is one of the most common causes of ED. Working out has been shown to lower stress, reduce cortisol levels, improve mood, and increase endorphins (the “happy” chemical in your brain). According to the American Psychological Association, exercise betters our body’s communication system between all of our organ processes and functions. The more sedentary we are, the less efficient our bodies are at communicating and responding to stress. In this way, exercise is crucial to both the body’s physical and mental reaction to stress.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction. The only treatment that works to overcome obesity-related ED is weight loss. Exercise is crucial to any diet and weight loss plan. You need to stay active to burn calories, shed fat, build muscle, and maintain a normal body weight.
3. Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
Exercise improves heart health and improves oxygenated blood flow throughout the body. Benefits of regular exercise on cardiovascular risk factors include: increase in insulin sensitivity, increase in good cholesterol, reduction in bad cholesterol, reduction in blood pressure, and reduction in body weight. Exercising regularly is the best way to take care of your heart and blood.
4. Relationship concerns
Communication problems in your relationship can cause erectile dysfunction. But research suggests that working out together can actually improve your overall relationship by increasing your happiness, boosting romantic attraction, enhancing support, and increasing emotional bond. Exercise also helps better overall health, which makes for a healthy relationship in tandem.
5. Confidence concerns
Men suffering from ED due to “performance anxiety” often have low self-confidence or a negative view of their body. Studies have shown that exercise can enhance attractiveness and increase energy levels, where participants rate themselves as higher on positive perception of self. Those men who were working out consistently considered themselves more desirable and were thus able to perform better sexually.
6. Sleep deprivation
A lack of sleep—with regards to both quantity and quality— has been linked to erectile dysfunction. In fact, a 2016 survey found that 65% of men who came in with sleep apnea (a sleep disorder) also had symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Working out regularly can improve your quality of sleep and help you fall asleep faster. In fact, exercise is the most effective natural cure for insomnia.
7. Hormonal imbalance
There is a link between low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, though it still calls for further exploration. Nevertheless, we know that a severe imbalance of hormones—like too much cortisol and estrogen with low testosterone—can negatively impact sexual performance. Exercise has been shown to help balance out hormone production, raise testosterone, and lower cortisol and estrogen. Basically, exercise can help put your hormones in a sex-friendly state.
8. Nitric oxide
It’s also important to note the link between nitric oxide and exercise. Nitric oxide (NO) is the chemical that opens up the blood vessels (vasodilation) in the penis and relaxes the muscles in the pelvis. After an erection, your nitric oxide levels will naturally decrease to signal to your body that it’s time to stop having an erection. NO basically controls your erections; you need an appropriate amount of nitric oxide in order to have and maintain an erection for any period of time.
Almost every type of exercise is proven to increase the production of nitric oxide. This is because exercise forces the blood to pump harder, so the blood vessels must dilate to handle the pumping blood; this exercised-induced vasodilation then helps produce more nitric oxide. The reverse is true as well; nitric oxide can help improve physical endurance and performance. This helps create a positive cycle to quell erectile dysfunction symptoms.
Overall, exercise increases energy, tones muscle, and burns fat. This improvement in overall health can help combat the typical causes of erectile dysfunction. Study after study has proved that physical activity is linked to sexual vigor. Not only does it improve your erectile dysfunction, but it can also improve your flexibility, endurance, and performance in the bedroom…
So what are you waiting for?
Below you’ll find the 9 easiest exercises that will improve your ED symptoms and sexual health—and you can do them today! No equipment and no experience needed.
Kegels aren’t just for women. These exercises are actually one of the best ways to regain your overall sexual health since they target the pelvic muscles. The pelvic muscles contract around the testes and base of the penis during sex, contributing to the “hardness” of the erection. Kegel exercises can strengthen two key muscles: the pubococcygeus (PC), which is the muscle that stops the flow of urine, and the perineal muscles, which is the muscle that supports erectile rigidity and ejaculation. Overall, the strength of these muscles impacts erections, sexual experience, ejaculation, and bladder.
Like all of our muscles—these pelvic muscles tend to get weaker with age. This weakness means the muscles can’t contract enough to help the penis “stand up” and have an erection, thus contributing to erectile dysfunction.
But all muscles strengthen when you use them. Think of lifting: the more often you curl a dumbbell, the more your bicep grows. The same is true of the pelvic muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they’ll bebe. Kegel exercises are like lifting but for your penis. The stronger your sex muscles, the better you can control your erections and sexual endurance.
Note: This also means that the more you have sex, the stronger your pelvic muscles; the stronger your pelvic muscles, the better your erections and sexual health. So, if you have just mild ED and can still have sex, this doctor says to do it… and do it often.
So how do you use Kegels to strengthen the pelvic muscles and get back in the game?
- You shouldn’t stop the flow of urine while peeing. This can cause infection and bladder problems. But stopping mid-flow onvr can help you get used to the feel of these muscles.
- You want to try to squeeze and tighten these pelvic muscles.
- Try not to tighten the surrounding muscles. Focus on the PC muscles. Be aware not to tighten your abs, butt, or thigh.
- Start with 5-second squeezes. Squeeze for five seconds, then relax.
- Do 10 to 20 reps of 5-second squeezes.
- As you get more comfortable, increase the length of the squeezing and number of reps.
- Be sure to breathe as normal. Don’t hold your breath.
- Do a set of reps two to three times per day.
The best part about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere at any time. You can do them while on the floor, in bed, during a commercial break, or even sitting at your desk at work.
Try it right now as you read the rest of this article!
2. Aerobic Exercise
A number of studies and reviews have concluded that aerobic exercise can help improve ED by boosting blood flow. When working out, your heart is pumping faster. This “clears out” your veins from buildup and blockages caused by obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease (which all contribute to by ED).
Furthermore, research presented in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that aerobic exercise of moderate intensity for 5 to 7 sessions per week for 12 weeks increased nitric oxide levels by 32%. Remember that nitric oxide is what pushes blood flow into the penis for an erection and relaxes the penile muscles to allow for stiffness.
A 1990 study reported that aerobic exercise overall:
- Increases levels of sexual intimacy
- Improves sexual function
- Creates more satisfying orgasms
- Boosts energy levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone
- Reduces body fat
- Improves self-image
- Betters sleep
What kind of aerobic exercise should you be doing? Anything that gets your heart rate up! This could be running, using the elliptical, rowing, swimming, or dancing. Even good, old-fashioned walking has significant health benefits. In fact, a Harvard study found that brisk walking 30 minutes per day had a 41% reduction in the risk for erectile dysfunction. I usually recommend avoiding biking, as that can bring with it other concerns for male sexual health.
Whatever aerobic exercise you choose—get sweaty and get your heart rate up!
3. Lifting & Squats
Aerobic exercise can help burn fat and improve ED symptoms, but you shouldn’t neglect your weight training as well. If you are also suffering from symptoms of low testosterone levels, I always recommend men with low T stick to high-intensity interval training. This is because HIIT weight lifting can drastically spike your testosterone levels in the short- and long-term. This, in turn, improves workout performance, burns fat, builds muscle, and heightens the libido.
Although low testosterone and erectile dysfunction are not the same, data suggests they are linked in some way. If you have low testosterone, you won’t have interest in sex; and not having sex means your penis goes unused, which can eventually weaken the pelvic muscles and cause ED. Furthermore, low libido can often cause psychological or relationship concerns that can exacerbate erectile dysfunction. ED is just one part of the equation of men’s sexual health.
Thus, it’s time to get lifting! Not only will it boost your testosterone, but HIIT weight training will also get your heart pumping (like aerobic exercise). Lifting can regulate your hormones, boost your metabolism, and improve weight loss efforts—all of which are vital to erectile function.
My favorite move is the squat. Squats are one of the best exercises because they work a number of large muscle groups at once. The more you’re working, the more benefits you’re getting. Squats are resistance exercises, performed in intervals, with high intensity—the perfect combo for boosting testosterone levels. Plus, squats improve blood flow to the pelvic region. The more blood flow near the penis, the easier it is to gain an erection.
Yoga is one of my favorite cures for ED and sexual health. A study of a 12-week yoga program found “significant improvement” in sexual scores for men with an average age of 40. They had improvement in: erections, desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance, confidence, ejaculatory control, partner synchronization, and orgasm.
Countless studies prove yoga has benefits relating back to a number underlying causes of ED. Overall, yoga can increase quality of life by enhancing muscular strength, improving cardiovascular function, improving sleep patterns, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and more. Relaxation is the key here; the intense relaxation that comes from yoga actually helps improve blood flow and oxygen circulation in the blood, which in turn improves organ function (like the sex organs and muscles).
Moreover, certain yoga poses boost blood flow to the penis and work those pelvic muscles. I like to think of these yoga poses as a “wake up call” to your penis, by stimulating the vessels and muscles around it.
Below you’ll find my favorite yoga poses for improved sexual health.
5. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
The “seated forward bend” is easy and comfortable, relaxing the pelvic muscles and promoting blood flow to the hips and penis. It’s also great for reducing stress in a pinch.
How to do:
- Sit on a yoga mat or blanket with your legs in front of you.
- Keep your upper body long and straight.
- Lean forward from the hips, moving your chest towards your knees.
- Lengthen your tailbone as you reach down towards your feet.
- Reach as far as you can. Extend and grab your feet if possible. If not, go as far as you can for a comfortable stretch. You can also use a yoga strap around your feet for a deeper stretch.
- Hold the post for 1 to 3 minutes and then release.
6. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
The “standing forward bend” or “intense forward-bending pose” helps with anxiety and stress, while also stimulating organs in the abdomen (including the sex organs). Tradition even says that this pose is so beneficial for sexual health that it can actually help with male and female infertility.
How to do:
- Stand with your hands on your hips.
- As you exhale, bend forward from the hips.
- Keep your back straight as you bend forward. Lengthen the torso as you bend.
- Keep your knees straight. A soft bend is okay for newbies.
- Bring your fingers down towards the floor.
- If you can’t reach your feet with your hands, cross your forearms and hold your elbows. You can swing gently.
- Relax into the pose for 1 to 3 minutes.
- As you inhale, focus on lengthening and straightening your spine. As you exhale, relax deeper and fuller into the stretch, letting gravity pull you down.
- Avoid straining your neck or back. You should be able to nod your head yes and no while in the pose.
7. Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
The “butterfly pose” or “bound angle pose” stretches the inner thighs and groin. It opens up the hips and pelvis in a way that stimulates the prostate gland, bladder, kidneys, and abdomen.
How to do:
- Sit upright with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend one knee at a time while you exhale, pulling your heel inward towards your pelvis.
- Drop both knees to either side. Press the bottoms of your feet together.
- Use your first and second fingers to grab your big toes. You can also grab your ankles with your hands.
- As you breathe, focus on straightening your torso. Imagine someone is pulling up a string that’s attached to your spine.
- Stay in the pose for 1 to 5 minutes.
8. Janu Sirsana (Head-To-Knee Pose)
The head-to-knee pose helps with flexibility in the lower body while also relieving stress and improving blood flow in the groin.
How to do:
- Sit on your mat or blanket with legs extended in front of you.
- Bend in one knee, bringing the heel towards your pelvis.
- Rest the sole of that foot against your other thigh.
- Release your knee towards the floor. Support with a blanket if you need to.
- As you inhale, raise both of your hands towards the sky.
- As you exhale, hinge from the hips and bend towards your extended foot.
- Try to bring your chin to your knee. If you can, clasp your hand around your foot. If you can’t, bend as far as you can and hold on to your shins.
- Stay in this position for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Inhale and raise your arms overhead to return to sitting.
- Repeat with the other leg folded in for balance.
9. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
The “bow pose” stretches your muscles in the groin and thighs while energizing the reproductive areas. Plus, it’ll boost your flexibility—and may make an interesting sex position in the bedroom.
How to do:
- Lay face down on your mat on your stomach. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees in towards your back, grabbing the front of your feet with your hands.
- Raise your upper body and pull up on your legs at the same time. Your chest and knees should both be lifted off the floor, while your pelvis stays grounded.
- Stay in the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. While posing, take a few deep breaths. The deeper the breath, the more it will stimulate your pelvis.
- Exhale as you release from the pose.
- Repeat two or three more times.
Bonus: Work out with your partner.
Getting your heart rate up together can help bring you closer to one another. Partners that work out together find that they have an improved sex life in the bedroom as well. This is likely due to improved self-confidence, regulated hormones, endorphin release, and all those great benefits from working out. But, more than that, couples that work out together connect on a physical level outside of the bedroom. This connection translates back into the bedroom nicely. This is especially true for yoga. One study found that “partner yoga may help couples who are struggling with sexual dysfunction.”
You can naturally overcome your erectile dysfunction and improve your sexual health… and it costs you nothing but your time and willingness! The above 9 exercises and poses will put you on a track of sexual health that will make you looking, feeling, and being the most vigorous you in years. Say goodbye to ED (and hello to exercise).