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Why Health & Fitness Are Important in the Fight Against ED

erectile dysfunction exercise
Is your partner fit and healthy? As a doctor, I have often found that a man who gets out of shape is liable to develop erectile dysfunction (ED) – the medical term for what you may call ‘impotence’. Health and fitness are also important for the simple reason that fit, healthy men (and women) are likely to live longer.
“Erectile dysfunction can occur at any age but by the age of 50 it affects over a third of men “

One of the best ways to encourage your partner to get fit and stay fit is to get him to join in with you. If you develop an interest in a particular sport together, or in trying new healthy foods, for example, then it’s a good chance to spend more quality time with each other and feel healthier in the process.

For a quick assessment of whether you or your partner’s weight is in a healthy range, use the BMI calculator below. This combines your height and weight to work out your body mass index, a measure of body fat.


All doctors now agree that regular exercise is good for us. The British Heart Foundation says that you should aim to be active for 30 minutes, at least five days a week.   One of the good things about exercising together is that it’s generally more fun that way. But it’s better to exercise on your own than not to exercise at all. And the key to sticking to your fitness programme is to find a sport you enjoy: there’s nothing more soul-destroying than pounding away on a treadmill because you feel you have to.

BMI calculator

Insert your / your partner’s height and weight and submit

Height :  Feet  Inches
Weight : Stone  Pounds

The following are all variety of forms of exercise you may want to consider:

  • Walking briskly
  • Badminton
  • Jogging/Running
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Bowling
  • Working out in the gym
  • Yoga
  • Tennis
  • Gardening
  • Squash

If you and your partner are taking up exercise for the first time, it’s a good idea to get checked out by your GP beforehand. Don’t overdo it. It’s not about ‘feeling the burn’ when you work out: it’s best for your body if you and your partner take it easy to start with and build up gradually.

“‘Forget about ‘feeling the burn’: it’s best for your body if you and your partner increase your exercise level over time”


Being overweight puts extra strain on our body. It can be a factor in causing erectile dysfunction because it can cause damage to the blood vessels that pump blood into the penis. Furthermore, research shows that by actually losing excess weight, it is possible to improve a man’s erection problems. Being overweight also pushes the blood pressure up. Exercising regularly will help you both manage your weight, but you will need to look at your diet as well.

Lose weight effectively and safely. You or your partner can ask the doctor what sort of weight loss is both desirable and achievable. He or she can also provide good, scientifically-designed diet sheets. Don’t be fooled by faddy diets that promise miraculous results: they don’t work and can be harmful.


Even if neither of you need to lose weight, you should try to eat a good, varied diet using fresh, natural produce whenever possible. As well as helping you to maintain a desirable weight, this will balance your energy levels and provide the nutrients you need for healthy skin, hair etc.

Generally, the diet that many of us eat in this country is not particularly healthy. This is mainly because it contains too many saturated fats – which are mostly animal fats, like you find in cheese, butter, old-fashioned margarines and fatty meats. Try to keep these to a minimum.

Saturated fats cause greasy deposits in the walls of the tubes that carry blood around the body. These deposits make a person more liable to heart attacks and strokes. And in men, they can also lead to ED as the deposits ‘fur up’ the narrow tubes that carry blood to the man’s penis.

Your partner may want to ask your GP for a cholesterol test, to understand if there is any cause for concern. If cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will be able to provide advice (for example change of diet) and medication, if necessary.


Everybody now knows that smoking is bad for the health. But not everyone realises that it’s also a major cause of ED.

In fact, researchers have found that men who have ED are 43 per cent more likely than the rest of the population to be smokers. And the charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says that ‘about half of all regular smokers will eventually be killed by their habit’.

So if you can get your partner to give up smoking – or, failing that, to cut down – you’ll be helping his health and fitness, and reducing his chances of having erection problems.


Alcohol taken in more than moderate amounts is not only bad for the health – but can also cause ED. This has been known for centuries; Shakespeare even refers to it in Macbeth. The adverse effect of alcohol on potency is so widely recognised that many males refer to ED as ‘brewer’s droop’.

In fact, any kind of alcohol (beer, whisky, gin or anything else) can make it difficult for a man to ‘perform’, so it’s in both your interests to keep his consumption within healthy limits. The recommended limit for men is a weekly maximum of 21 units; visit for a breakdown of how many units popular alcoholic drinks contain.

Positive results

Don’t feel you have to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. It’s better to make gradual changes you will both maintain. Just keep reminding each other that eating well and exercising regularly will help a long, healthy -and sexually active – life.

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