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Exercise for Erections??

Exercise for Erections??

I frequently talk to my patients about maximizing any therapy they are participating in by doing absolutely everything that they are able to do to help recover full function. Some of my patients will have urinary leakage issues and we talk about what types of fluid they drink throughout the day. I do this to make sure that nothing they drink is actually irritating the bladder. “But, Erin, I have always had 4 cups of coffee and 2 sodas a day!” “Ok,” I say, “but if we want to help you maximize all the work you are doing to regain control over your bladder, you may want to consider drinking more water.” Truthfully some listen and some don’t and that’s ok, it is truly their decision. All I can do is provide information. And I want to tell you why exercise is important for erections.

Cardiac health and erections

In the last 10 years or so, the medical community has begun to recognize that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) may one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is often a vascular disease — meaning your arteries may not be allowing sufficient blood flow to your heart necessary for good cardiac function. Well, the penis getting erect is a lot about blood flow. We know exercise is important for cardiovascular disease. Have any friends doing cardiac rehab after a heart attack?

There is quite a bit of anatomy and chemistry (not just the attraction to the other person type of chemistry) that goes into an erection. The shaft of the penis is composed of three long chambers. When a man becomes aroused, dopamine is released and a chemical cascade begins that allows the chambers to fill up with blood. The pressure from the blood creates a kind of pressure that prohibits the blood from draining back out. That is, until orgasm, then another cascade of chemical reactions allows a release and the blood can now drain out of the penis.

How can exercise help?

So, how is this related to exercise? One of the primary chemicals that helps to run the show is called Nitric Oxide. This chemical allows the blood vessels to relax to allow blood flow into the penis. Guess what, during exercise Nitric Oxide is produced at higher rates to allow blood flow to muscles and other tissues. This is good for erections.

I want you to understand that nerve healing must occur for recovery of spontaneous erections and I am not saying that exercise will cure anyone but you may gain some benefit and perhaps speed recovery or help your erections to be just a bit firmer or longer lasting.

Many benefits of exercise

Again, I am a big believer in maximizing benefit by applying multiple interventions that pose little risk. The benefits of exercise are so numerous, we should be writing “Exercise 4x/week for 30-45 minutes” on a prescription sheet and giving it to almost every person. In addition to the possibility of stronger erections, exercise will help alleviate fatigue, help you sleep more soundly, and maybe help you to be in a better mood — which is also good for sexual activity.

Author Note: if you are treating your prostate cancer with ADT (androgen deprivation therapy), exercise is especially important for you. There are some specifics that I will discuss in future articles. Walk, jog, swim, do yoga. Join the Y. Always be cautious. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise would be best for you.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • ninaw moderator
    9 months ago

    Thanks for commenting, @Bajk49 and @remmurdd. If you don’t mind, it would be really helpful to hear any tips or reflections here in our ED forums too: https://prostatecancer.net/topic/all-things-ed-erectile-dysfunction/. It has got to be one of the most impactful side effects both mentally and physically, but it can be harder to talk about than things like pain or fatigue. – Nina, ProstateCancer.net Team

  • ninaw moderator
    9 months ago

    You might also want to check here for some recent posts on sexual issues: https://prostatecancer.net/topic/sex-and-intimacy/. We recently had a post from Clark about urinary incontinence during sex. – Nina, ProstateCancer.net Team

  • Bajk49
    9 months ago

    Since I wasn’t able to have nerve sparing surgery, I don’t get erections the normal way. I have to use a pump and bands or self injections. I won’t even consider the implant option. Prostate cancer sucks. It is so life changing.

  • remmurdd
    9 months ago

    I have found, post robotic surgery for stage 1A aggressive cancer of the prostate, that exercise of particular kinds helped me with the abdominal healing. I have been an extremely active person my whole life. While I waited for doctor approval to begin exercising again I did at least 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions of the Kegel exercises I was given (5 kinds) per day while I was sitting around impatiently. I didn’t notice any change in the amount I was leaking during this time (got used to Depends type underwear though 🙂 Then, after doctor approval to begin exercising, I began with swimming and water walking to loosen joints again and see how my body responded. I found that certain kinds of swimming/walking began stretching/tightening my internal muscles. So any swimming style or water walking in shallow and deep water that stretched/pulled on my internal muscles were the exercises I concentrated on, without over doing it of course. As I swam/water walked, I also concentrated on the Kegel muscles as I did them. And, surprise, I found that I was slowly starting to leak less! After a month of water work, increasing my levels of difficulty and repetitions, I moved to weight machines to rebuild my strength and also concentrated on Kegel exercises while I did them. I also split my time between water and machines. I found that after a good hour of either water or machine work my internal muscles were tired. Typically the day after a hard workout I leaked more. But the days after leaking more I leaked less!
    I have continued this routine and am 95% back in strength and stamina. I am 70, had my surgery in the beginning of August 2018, and it has been 5-1/2 months. I have graduated (?) from 5 Depends a day to 1. Life is defintely improving!

  • Erin Glace moderator author
    9 months ago

    Yes! That is fabulous that you are so committed to exercises and are seeing the benefit. I also love that you have found a routine that you seem to enjoy. We know that finding exercise that is enjoyable helps to keep you consistent. Incorporating your Kegels into functional activities is a great way to get them done as well as teach your body to work functionally. I also wanted to point out that the days you were tired and had more leakage showed that you worked the muscle to fatigue building strength. This can sometimes discourage men from continuing but as you see, the overall benefit was a significant reduction in pad use. YAY YOU!!

  • ninaw moderator
    9 months ago

    Great report, @remmurdd! It’s fantastic to think that you can tell what your body is responding to and do more of it. Of course, if it’s anything possibly risky, it’s good to check with a doc to make sure your instincts are correct! When you said water exercise was effective, it made a lot of sense to me just considering what muscles have to kick in. 5 to 1 Depends is a huge cause for celebration! Really appreciate your info. I know you just wrote quite a bit, but if you want to share more details, you can always submit another story here: https://prostatecancer.net/stories/ or share these tips with the side effects forum here: https://prostatecancer.net/forum/treatment-side-effects/. Best to you! – Nina, ProstateCancer.net Team

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