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Erectile Dysfunction: Two Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Make A Big Difference

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If you're struggling with impotence, you're likely taking medications or supplements to help improve your sexual performance. However, there are non-medical methods you can do on a daily basis that will drastically improve your ability to have and sustain an erection. Making some simple lifestyle changes can work in tandem with the directions from your doctor to make sure you're experiencing optimal sexual health.

1. Increase your cardio.

Exercise is always good for your health, but it is especially important for the health of your penis. The blood vessels in your heart and in your penis have an inner lining that help blood to flow more effectively. This lining is called the endothelium. Cardio-vascular workouts improve the health and and function of the endothelium. Because the penis is such a vascular area (it has a large number of small and large blood vessels), making improvements in your exercise can actually improve the blood flow to and from the penis, which directly combats erectile dysfunction. Of course, there's also the bonus that regular exercise combats disease, strengthens the heart, and helps prevent weight gain.  

Total body workouts will be more effective for men than doing pelvic floor exercises or workouts to target the groin--these generally, while good for the muscles in the area being worked, do not seem to have an effect on erectile function, even though they are good to restore strength and health to sex organs after surgery or when recovery from prostate cancer. For better prostate health, plan on at least 2 hours of heavy cardio, like high intensity interval training, or 3.5 hours of more moderate workouts, like hiking or medium speed cycling, each week. For those who lead less active lifestyles, start with 6 hours light exercise, like walking, and gradually build up intensity as your fitness levels improve. 

2. Manage your stress.

Chronic stress can be one of the reasons why men experience erectile dysfunction. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are great for your body when you need to run from an attacker or do well when delivering a speech. However, the presence of stress hormones affects the cardiovascular system of the body--it draws blood away from non-vital places, like the penis and digestive tract, to give more blood to the brain and extremities to produce a "fight or flight response." Therefore, when these stress hormones are constantly present, your ability to perform sexually will decrease, simply because your brain and body are under constant stress.

Managing your stress, or finding ways to relax, is then one of the most important things you can do. Exercise can actually help with stress management, because it raises your stress hormone threshold. Meditating is also an effective way to reduce stress, especially mindful meditation, which helps you to become more aware of how your own thinking affects stress levels. Consider spending some time each day in silence or listening to peaceful music. 

Also, remember that erectile dysfunction can add to your stress--when you are anxious about your sex life, the added pressure will only increase your worries. Try to relax before engaging in intercourse by spending some time to yourself, going on a quick jog, or writing down your stressful thoughts in a journal. Taking time to de-stress before sex could help you to sustain an erection.

In conclusion

When you are looking for answers about how to diagnose the cause behind erectile dysfunction, keep in mind that lifestyle changes may only be one part of the puzzle. Your doctor will likely advise dietary changes and medications. Also, keep in mind that erectile problems are often a symptom of another problem, like diabetes or heart disease. Managing those conditions properly can also be a factor in managing your sexual health.