Can leading a sedentary life cause erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

If you want to stay active in the bedroom, move your legs, and arms, and the rest of your body. Move more every day. A sedentary lifestyle is a proven contributor to erectile dysfunction (ED). Being sedentary makes it harder to control your weight and hurts your heart, both contributors to ED. But moderate physical exercise improves your ability to get and maintain an erection in a very direct way. Exercise, even moderate exercise like a brisk walk, stimulates your body to produce nitric oxide. That’s a short-lived chemical that your body needs to keep replenishing. It keeps your arteries open, including the ones that allow blood to flow into your penis when you get excited. Exercise may protect your sexual function, even if you have other risk factors that work in the opposite direction.

Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical exercise. It’s not just about getting to the gym. It’s about spending less time on the couch. If you want to get it up when you want it up, get up and move around. Buy a dog who will take you for a walk. Rejoin your gym. Take up archery. Go dancing. Walk to work. It doesn’t matter much what you choose, as long as you move every day.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Move it or lose it is great advice for guys who want to maintain a healthy sex life. You need to stay physically active in order to stay sexually active. A sedentary lifestyle, with little to no physical exertion, can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get and maintain an erection during sex. Exercise does wonders for a body, helping you to maintain weight, build muscle, and operate at optimum levels. Running, biking, swimming or your favorite activity brings about another amazing change in the body. It increases production of nitric oxide, a chemical that keeps the arteries open, so blood can flow freely, especially down under. Couch potato-ing not only leads to extra pounds but causes your arteries to clog up with cholesterol and other junk. The end result? Erection-producing blood can't get through. Yet again, another reason to get moving.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.