Trouble performing in the bedroom? You're not alone. It's estimated that 1 in 10 men worldwide suffers from erectile dysfunction (ED), which is an inability to get or maintain an erection. If this sounds like you, check your middle. Belly fat doesn't just spell trouble for your heart and blood vessels. Having a spare tire is horrible for your love life, too.
How does belly fat affect you below the belt? Deep abdominal fat, known as omentum fat, takes up residence around your liver and other vital organs. When fat is released from the omentum, some of it goes straight to your liver and then on to your arteries. And omentum fat can do serious damage to your blood vessels. Clogged arteries and blood vessels reduce blood flow not just to your heart but also to other critical organs, including your genitals. Without good circulation down there, men can have trouble getting or maintaining an erection. And both men and women need increased blood flow in sensitive areas to maximize sexual pleasure. (Related: Here's a simple no-pill solution for erectile dysfunction.)
Did you know? Carrying as little as 9 extra pounds increases your risk of blood vessel damage (and heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers). The good news? It doesn't take much to turn up your fat-burning furnace and get your energy levels, self-esteem, and sex life back on track. Here are four easy steps to lose belly fat fast:
1. Walk more. Walking is one of the best exercises for minimizing that gut. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps keep your fat cells from expanding. Burn even more belly fat by adding 10 minutes of weight training twice a week; increasing muscle mass will whittle your middle even faster. (Related: See how exercise can curb your hunger, too.)
2. Grab a tape measure. Waist size may be a better indicator of health than the numbers on your bathroom scale. Your waist should be a little less than half the number of inches in your height. And as a general rule, anytime a man's waist size reaches 40 inches, his health and sex life are at risk. (Women's waists should be no more than 36 inches.)
3. Grab the whole grains. When it comes to foods that burn belly fat, you can't beat whole grains. And it's a pretty simple trade-off. Just replace some of the processed foods in your diet with three daily servings of 100% whole-grain cereals, breads, and pasta to lose inches off your waist. (Related: Find out how the vitamins and fiber in whole grains make your RealAge younger.)
4. Get your ZZZs. In one study, dieters who slept 8½ hours a night lost twice as much fat and retained more lean muscle compared with the folks in the study who slept only 5½ hours nightly. The longer sleepers also burned an extra 114 calories a day. That type of additional calorie burn can translate into as much as 10 extra pounds lost a year! (Related: Sleep better tonight with this bedtime checklist.)
Losing that spare tire isn't just about getting healthy. It's about living a better life and feeling your best, too. Let's face it -- few things feel as good as a little extra room in your waistband. And looking in the mirror and liking what you see is a pretty great feeling, too.
Erectile dysfunction is not a life-threatening condition but could be a symptom of something more serious, like heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes. If you are having trouble getting an erection of maintaining an erection, sp...eak to your doctor and discuss your treatment options. Erectile dysfunction is a delicate subject to discuss for many men but stress from ED can cause the condition to worsen. Learn more about erectile dysfunction from our experts. More