Hitting the gym can make you more of a man — in the bedroom. That's the key conclusion of new research that shows men with erectile dysfunction tied to obesity and cardiovascular problems can reverse the disorder by exercising, which improves circulation to the heart and other areas of the body.
Medical investigators from East Carolina University noted "junk food" diets, and inactivity, can lead to obesity, which in turn can cause erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular issues — two conditions that often go hand in hand.
To test the effects of aerobic exercise on the two health problems, lead researcher Christopher Wingard and his colleagues put laboratory rats on a high-fat, high-sugar "junk food" diet and a regimen of intense physical activity. After three months, they found that exercise markedly improved both erectile dysfunction and the function of vessels that supply blood to the heart.
The study, published online edition in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, also showed that fed a junk food diet and stayed sedentary developed erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular problems. A third finding indicated rates fed a healthy diet were largely able to avoid both erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
"The finding that exercise prevents Western diet-associated erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease progression translates to an intensively active lifestyle throughout the duration of the 'junk food' diet," the authors concluded. "It remains to be seen if a moderately active lifestyle, or an active lifestyle initiated after a prolonged duration of a sedentary lifestyle combined with a 'junk food' diet is effective at reversing functional impairment."
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