New research suggests that for men, the benefit of exercise goes beyond improving cardiovascular health and controlling weight.
In the study, investigators found that regardless of race, men who exercise more have better erectile and sexual function.
While past studies have highlighted the relationship between better erectile function and exercise, African-American men have been underrepresented in this literature.
“The study is the first to link the benefits of exercise in relation to improved erectile and sexual function in a racially diverse group of patients,” said Adriana Vidal, Ph.D., senior author of the study and investigator in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Department of Surgery in Los Angeles.
The research has been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
During the study, nearly 300 individuals self-reported their activity levels which researchers then categorized as sedentary, mildly active, moderately active, or highly active.
The subjects also self-reported their sexual function, including the ability to have erections, orgasms, the quality and frequency of erections, and overall sexual function.
Investigators discovered that men who reported more frequent exercise — a total of 18 metabolic equivalents, or METS, per week — had higher sexual function scores, regardless of race.
MET hours reflect both the total time of exercise and the intensity of exercise.
A total of 18 METS can be achieved by combining exercises with different intensities, but is the equivalent of two hours of strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming, 3.5 hours of moderate exercise, or six hours of light exercise.
Researchers found that men of any ethnicity who exercised less than 18 METS per week, reported lower levels of sexual function. Additional contributors to low sexual function included diabetes, older age, past or current smoking, and coronary artery disease.
Stephen Freedland, M.D., co-author of the study, cautioned that exercise should be tailored for each individual.
“When it comes to exercise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” said Freedland, who also serves as co-director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program at Cedars-Sinai.
“However, we are confident that even some degree of exercise, even if less intense, is better than no exercise at all.”
Source: Cedars Sinai-EurekAlert!