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Most of us are well aware of the benefits of regular exercise: it strengthens our bodies and bones, keeps our joints flexible, and manages weight. It also helps to protect us against serious diseases and improves our mental health. 

Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) are often advised to take more exercise, yet certain myths around the topic persist. Here are the facts about exercise and ED.

There’s no point exercising if you are overweight

A study from 2006 by Harvard Health Professionals found that men who did at least three hours of vigorous exercise per week were 20% less likely to develop ED than men who did little or no exercise. However, men who were overweight and obese who exercised regularly did not reduce their chances of developing ED.

This might be discouraging for overweight men, but because exercise is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and guard against future health problems, it should still be a part of a healthy lifestyle programme. When combined with a low-fat and low-sugar diet almost everyone can use exercise to help them manage their weight. 

Too much exercise can cause ED

This is an extremely damaging ED myth. Lots of exercise can make you temporarily tired, but this will lead to a better night’s sleep and boosted energy levels the next day. There is no evidence at all that too much exercise can lead to ED: in fact, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the benefits of exercise.

Obviously it is important to follow common sense advice such as staying well hydrated and not pushing yourself to exercise when you are ill or injured. Exercising when you are not sufficiently warmed up can increase your risk of injuries because the blood is slowing less efficiently to the muscles, and they may be less flexible. 

Exercise helps to boost the immune system, meaning that your overall sense of wellbeing and therefore libido will be stronger. Depression, stress and anxiety are among the most common causes of ED, and exercise helps to boost mood and improve mental health. 

Cycling makes you impotent

There is some truth in this, because there is some evidence that pressure from the bicycle seat can damage the nerves in the penis, and compress the arteries so that it makes it more difficult to achieve an erection. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a wide padded seat or a gel-filled seat that causes less pressure on the penile area. 

The bike should be comfortably adjusted and cyclists are advised to stand up on the pedals at intervals to reduce the contact time with the seat. If any numbness or tingling of the penis occurs, it is best to take a break.

Going to the gym crashes the libido

Regular gym goers will reap all the benefits of exercise previously discussed. This myth has arisen because some gym goers abuse anabolic steroids to enhance their performance. Over time, misuse of these drugs can lead to a hormone imbalance and loss of libido. They also increase the risk of high blood pressure and damaged arteries.

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