** BANK HOLIDAY SALE ** Get 20% off your order over £40 with the code MAY20 **

Erectile dysfunction (ED) isn’t a natural consequence of getting older, but unfortunately, it is more common in men over the age of 40. This is often because it is related to other factors such as unhealthy lifestyle choices or health problems that tend to come to the fore as the body ages.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to manage your risk of developing ED, or even reversing the condition without resorting to medical treatment. While there are no guarantees and persistent problems with ED should always be referred to a doctor, it’s possible to give yourself a good chance of maintaining sexual function well into old age.

Here are some achievable steps that you can take.

Find a way of including physical activity in your daily life

Taking regular physical exercise is one of the most common pieces of health advice. Yet according to the latest government research, about one in three men aren’t active enough to maintain good health, and levels of physical activity decline with age.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes (two and half hours) of moderate exercise a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Ideally, this should include a mixture of cardio and strength training, and be combined with reduced periods of sitting down.

This may sound a lot, but it amounts to just over 20 minutes of exercise per day. This can help to prevent or manage many serious or chronic health conditions that are closely linked to ED, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

However, it can be easier said than done for some people to start exercising regularly, particularly if they are overweight, short of time, low on energy levels, or just find it a boring chore. In this case, it may be best to start with ways of building physical activity into everyday life, such as walking to work, or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

The key to finding an activity you will stick with in the long term is to discover one that you actually enjoy, or at least can tolerate better than other forms of exercise. For example, if you are a sociable person, you may enjoy group activities such as fitness classes or a running group. This gives you a chance to meet new people or catch up with friends.

If you prefer solitary activities, you may enjoy going for cycle rides. However, be aware that cycling for more than three hours a week can also affect your sexual function by putting pressure on the perineum. This can damage the blood vessels and nerves that supply blood to the penis, making it more difficult to achieve an erection.

It is possible to buy specially shaped bike seats that can help to avoid this problem. Regularly standing up on the pedals as you cycle can also help to alleviate some of the pressure.

If you find the gym an intolerably dull slog, try going for outdoor cross-country runs, and so on. The main point is to find something relatively fun and rewarding to do.

Eating a well-balanced diet

Eating healthily is another important part of ageing well and guarding against conditions such as ED. As with exercise, eating well can take some forward planning and discipline to manage on a regular basis.

The advice to follow a healthy diet is given so frequently because there is a substantial body of evidence to connect it to the prevention of a range of conditions, including heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and various types of cancer. It can also help to manage weight, which in turn lowers the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Many nutrition experts recommend following the Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of fruit and vegetables and whole grains, and contains minimal amounts of saturated fats and sugars. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are particularly beneficial for their nutritional and antioxidant properties, as are dark berries such as blueberries and raspberries.

However, depriving yourself completely of foods that you enjoy can be counterproductive, because it can lead to cravings that will make you feel like a failure if you give in to them. Therefore, allow yourself to have a small treat once a week and try to eat well for the rest of the time.

Finding meaningful social connections

Greater levels of isolation and loneliness among older people have been linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression. These are all known causes of ED, and social isolation can perpetuate the problem for older men by preventing them from seeking new romantic partners.

Men can be particularly prone to loneliness as they get older because they tend to have fewer close friends than women and can be more reluctant to open up and talk about their feelings. Finding activities outside the home that bring a sense of purpose, such as volunteering or mentoring, can help build social connections.

Managing stress

Stress leads to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of adrenaline, which narrow the blood vessels and reduce circulation to the extremities, including the penis. Therefore managing stress is important to help maintain a good sex life at any age.

Avoiding anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are a class C drug in the UK, and should only be used when issued on prescription. They are often used illegally by bodybuilders and now even regular gym goers to increase muscle size and strength. However, they have serious harmful side effects, including low testosterone, mood swings, and loss of sex drive.

Quitting smoking

Smoking has many harmful side effects, including potential damage to the blood vessels that supply the penis. Therefore giving up smoking is an important step to reducing the risk of developing ED or reversing the condition.

If you are experiencing ED despite a well-balanced lifestyle, it may be time to explore medical treatments such as Eroxon Stimgel.