Men - Move It or Lose It

Exercise prevents erectile dysfunction

Men Walking
Men Walking. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Good news for men who exercise, and good reason to get moving now if you don't. Men who exercise 3-5 hours a week have 30% less risk of having erectile dysfunction (impotence). The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) published this finding in the "Annals of Internal Medicine" August 5, 2003.

Heart Health Shows in Erectile Function

The cardiovascular system is responsible for erectile function, so problems with circulation and heart disease often show up early as erectile dysfunction.
Exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running, biking, reduces the risk of heart disease and maintains circulation.

Most Men at Risk for Erectile Dysfunction

The large study included over 31,000 men who did not have prostate cancer, aged 53-90. One third of the men reported having erectile dysfunction in the previous three months. The risk goes up 5% for each year after age 50. The study showed that regular exercise can mean 10 more years free of erectile dysfunction for the average man. Previous studies have found exercise reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Treatment of prostate cancer can result in erectile dysfunction, so preventing prostate cancer could reduce the incidence of impotence.

Other Risk Factors You Can Change

Besides inactivity, other risk factors that men can change include obesity and smoking. Men can greatly reduce their risk of erectile dysfunction by regular cardiovascular exercise, losing weight, and not smoking.

A Way to Get Moving

30 Day Quick Start Guide to Walking: Get up and get moving with this easy guide.

Walk of Life 10-Week Program: Join our free 10-week program of daily walking, exercise, nutrition tips, and motivation to get moving, achieve a healthy body weight, and enjoy life more.

Constance G. Bacon, ScD; Murray A. Mittleman, MD, ScD; Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD; Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD; Dale B. Glasser, PhD; and Eric B. Rimm, ScD. "Sexual Function in Men Older Than 50 Years of Age: Results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study." Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(3):161-168. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-3-200308050-00005.

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