Men, if you don't work out for your own sake, how about for the sake of your sex life? It’s seems like there’s no health problem that can’t be relieved with exercise, and now a new study has added erectile dysfunction to that list. According to the research, exercise may be nearly as effective as medication in help men who have difficulty maintaining erections.

The report found that men who exercised were able to significantly improve their erectile function compared with men who did not exercise at all, Reuters reported, regardless of the men’s preexisting health concerns. According the researchers, the findings suggest that exercise should be included in erectile function treatment.

The study is based on data 505 men taken from seven studies on ED and exercise published between 2004 and 2013. Some of the men in the research were asked to complete either aerobic or pelvic floor exercises (or a combination of both), while others were not asked to exercise at all. Erectile function was measured using the International Index of Erectile Function.

ED, also known as impotence occurs when a man has trouble maintaining an erection long enough for sexual activity. Along with trouble getting or keeping an erection, ED may also be associated with reduced sexual desires, the Mayo Clinic reported.

There are a number of contributing causes behind ED, including muscle and nerve problems, to hormone imbalances. The problems is also often a side effect of other underlying health conditions, such as obesity, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, the Mayo Clinic reported.

Currently, the main treatment for ED is medication, with Viagra being the best known among ED medications. These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis, allowing men to maintain a strong erection. According to Dr. Landon Trost, who is head of andrology and male infertility at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved with this study, the results suggest that exercise may work as well, if not a little less effectively than medical treatment options, Reuters reported.

Source: Silva AB, Sousa N, Azevedo LF, Martins C. Physical activity and exercise for erectile dysfunction: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine . 2016

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