The Top 6 Exercises to Combat Erectile Dysfunction

written by Carrie Borzillo - May 2, 2022

We all know that cardio workouts are great for your heart. Pilates does wonders for your core. Weightlifting helps with your strength. Yoga is good for your mental health. But, did you know that there are exercises (several, in fact) that can help you with erectile dysfunction, and improve your sex life in general?

It should be no surprise as erectile dysfunction is usually a physical or medical issue, so why wouldn't some exercises help with that? Of course, this does not mean to throw out your prescriptions to PRZ-Tadalafil (the generic for Cialis) or PRZ-Sildenafil (the generic for Viagra) right now. (If you’ve been prescribed these pills by a doctor, consult your doctor before making any change). But what this does mean is that there is much more you can do for the health of your erection than you might have originally thought.

Top 6 Exercises to Combat Erectile Dysfunction Infographic

That’s good news as the number of cases of men with erectile dysfunction continues to grow. A recent study shows that 30 million men in America alone suffer from erectile dysfunction, and a reported 322 million men worldwide will experience ED by the year 2025. Twenty-five percent of men under the age of 40 are among these cases. This makes ED one of the top men’s health issues.

Here are sex exercises you can do to help combat erectile dysfunction…

Kegels

Kegels are not just for women anymore. Pelvic exercises are helpful to both sexes because they help strengthen those muscles. For men, Kegels can even be an effective exercise in addressing erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. A U.K. study from the University of the West showed that 40 percent of men with erectile dysfunction who participated in this study regained normal erectile function after just six months of doing Kegel exercises.

“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,” explains Dr. Tracy Gapin, MD, who is board certified by the American Board of Urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Here are Dr. Gapin’s instructions on how to properly perform Kegels:

1. You shouldn’t stop the flow of urine while peeing. This can cause infection and bladder problems. But stopping mid-flow once can help you get used to the feel of these muscles.

2. You want to try to squeeze and tighten these pelvic muscles.

3. Try not to tighten the surrounding muscles. Focus on the PC muscles. Be aware not to tighten your abs, butt, or thigh.

4. Start with 5-second squeezes. Squeeze for five seconds, then relax.

5. Do 10 to 20 reps of 5-second squeezes.

6. As you get more comfortable, increase the length of the squeezing and number of reps.

7. Be sure to breathe as normal. Don’t hold your breath.

8. Do a set of reps two to three times per day.

Yoga

According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, yoga was found to improve all aspects of the sexual response cycle from desire to arousal to orgasm. The study found that found that after the completion of yoga sessions, the sexual functions scores were significantly improved in these areas: desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance, confidence, partner synchronization, erection, ejaculatory control, and orgasm). According to Healthline, five yoga poses that especially help with erectile dysfunction by promoting relaxation and blood flow are Paschimottanasana, Uttanasana, Baddha Konasana, Janu Sirsasana, and Dhanurasana. Here is how to do them…

Paschimottanasana (a.k.a., Seated Forward Bend): This pose helps relax the pelvic muscles and promotes better blood flow. Sit on your yoga mat or just the floor with your legs out in front of you. If this is too uncomfortable, you can put a folded blanket under your butt for support. Bring your arms up straight to the sides over your head and inhale to draw your spine up and longer. As you exhale, slowly bend forward reaching for your feet. If you can, grab your feet and hold for a minute. If you’re not that flexible, shoot for your toes or ankles and hold.

Uttanasana (a.k.a., Standing Forward Bend): This stretch helps with anxiety, and some say it helps with infertility. Stand on your mat or the floor with your hands on your hips, feet hip distance apart. Inhale before you start, as you exhale, bend your torso forward hinging at the hips and then touch your fingers or hands to the floor in front of your feet. Keep your knees straight if you can. If you can't reach the floor, you can cross your forearms and hold onto your elbows. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

Baddha Konasana (a.k.a., Butterfly Pose or Bound Angle Pose): This move helps stretch the groin and stimulates the prostate gland. To get in position, sit on your mat and bring your knees and the soles of your feet together with your feet as close to your body as is comfortable. Press the outer edges of your feet together and sit up tall. Hold for a minute.

Janu Sirsasana (a.k.a., Head-to-Knee Pose): This one also helps with blood flow to the lower abdomen and groin. Sit on your mat with both legs stretched out in front of you. Adjust the flesh under your butt so that your sit-bones are firmly on the floor. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left food into your right inner thigh. Square your torso over the extended right leg and then bend forward toward your right foot. Hold for a minute. Do the same for the other side.

Dhanurasana (a.k.a., Bow Pose): This move helps to stimulate the reproductive organs, increases blood flow to the groin area, and stretches the muscles between the thighs and groin. Lay on your stomach, face down on your mat with your feet hip distance apart and your arms at your side. Raise your upper body and your legs off the mat as you grasp each ankle with your hands, and then full up. Hold for 10-30 seconds, release, and do it again a few more times.

Swimming

Most know that swimming is a great low-impact workout for stamina, cardiovascular health, stress and anxiety relief. The stamina and endurance you can build during swimming can transfer to stamina and endurance needed in bed. Likewise, swimming is good for weight loss and being fit can also improve their erectile functioning.

But studies have also shown that it’s also a good workout to help tone the pelvic floor muscles, which are key to good sexual health. A Harvard study showed that swimmers in their 60s reported having sex lives comparable to those twenty years younger. “Swimming for at least 30 minutes three times a week will increase sexual endurance,” Pete McCall, MS, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise, told Everyday Health.

Aerobic

Aerobic exercises, such as walking and running regularly, are especially helpful to men suffering from erectile dysfunction due to health conditions like obesity, heart disease, hypertension, or vascular disease. This kind of aerobic exercise helps to increase blood flow and encourage weight loss, both of which help with sexual performance. When you work out like this, your heart pumps 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),” according to Dr. Gapin.

One study showed that men who took a 30-minute walk every day were 41% less likely to develop erectile dysfunction. Another study reports that men who ran 90 minutes each week or did approximately three hours of vigorous outdoor labor per week were less likely to have issues with ED.

Weightlifting & Squats

Weightlifting and squats are known to increase testosterone levels. Low levels are one of the many causes of erectile dysfunction. “If you are also suffering from symptoms of low testosterone levels, I always recommend men with low T stick to high-intensity interval training.

While low testosterone and erectile dysfunction are not the same, research shows that they are indeed linked. “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,” explains Dr. Gapin.

This is why for men suffering from the symptoms of low testosterone levels, he recommends high-intensity interval training with weights. “This is because HIIT [high intensity interval training] weightlifting 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,” he adds.

Pilates

The muscles that are important in maintaining an erection can lose tone and strength over time and that loss can contribute to erectile dysfunction. So, strengthening and toning those pelvic floor and groin muscles can lead to stronger erections. Studies show that some Pilates exercises can help with this. Medical News Today shows you how to do them…

Knee Fallouts:

• Lie down with the knees bent, the feet flat on the floor, and the arms by the sides.

• Keep the spine in a neutral position, with a small space between the middle of the back and the floor.

• Exhale, squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, and slowly lower one knee to the floor. Only lower it as far as possible while maintaining activation of the pelvic floor muscles. Keep the pelvis stable.

• Inhale, release the muscles, and bend the knee again.

• Repeat on the other side.

• Start with four or five repetitions on each side and build up to 10.

Supine Foot Raises:

• Lie down with the knees bent, the feet flat on the floor, and the arms by the sides.

• Exhale, engage the pelvic floor muscles, and slowly raise one foot off the floor. Keep the pelvis and the spine still.

• Inhale, lower the foot back to the ground.

• Alternate sides.

Pelvic Curls:

• Lie down with the knees bent, the feet flat on the floor, and the arms by the sides.

• Keep the spine in a neutral position, with a small space between the middle of the back and the floor.

• Exhale and engage the pelvic floor muscles.

• Tilt the pelvis upward toward the belly button, while pressing the back flat against the floor.

• Slowly lift the buttocks and push the heels into the floor.

• Squeeze the buttocks while lifting it and the lower and middle back.

• The body’s weight should be resting on the shoulders.

• Take three breaths and squeeze the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles.

• Slowly lower the buttocks and back, vertebra by vertebra, to the floor.

• Repeat three to four times initially and build up to 10 repetitions.

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DISCLAIMER

While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The article was written for information and educational purposes only. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.