Exercise boosts both of these functions, regardless of race. Give your male patients more reasons to engage in this healthy behavior.
The more a man exercises, the better his erectile and sexual function, regardless of his race, according to a new study designed to define a minimum exercise threshold for best sexual function.
Many studies have highlighted the relationship between better erectile function and exercise, but black men have been underrepresented in the literature.
“This study is the first to link the benefits of exercise in relation to improved erectile and sexual function in a racially diverse group of patients,” said senior author Adriana Vidal, PhD, of the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Department of Surgery in Los Angeles.
This cross-sectional study included nearly 300 participants from a case-control study that assessed risk factors for prostate cancer conducted at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The men, about one-third of them black, self-reported their activity levels. The researchers then stratified them into 4 exercise groups: sedentary, mildly active, moderately active, and highly active. The subjects also self-reported their sexual function, including the ability to have erections and orgasms, the quality and frequency of erections, and overall sexual function.
A multivariate analysis showed that men who reported more frequent exercise, a total of 18 metabolic equivalents (METS) per week, had higher sexual function scores, regardless of race.
MET hours reflect both the total time of exercise and the intensity of exercise. A score of 18 METS is the equivalent of 2 hours of strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming; 3.5 hours of moderate exercise; or 6 hours of light exercise.
“Higher exercise was associated with a better sexual function score. Importantly, there was no interaction between black race and exercise, meaning more exercise was linked with better erectile/sexual function regardless of race,” the researchers stated.
In contrast, exercise at lower levels was not statistically or clinically associated with erectile or sexual function in men of any ethnicity.
Additional contributors to low sexual function included diabetes mellitus, older age, past or current smoking, and coronary artery disease.
Study coauthor Stephen Freedland, MD, Director of the Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, cautions that exercise should be tailored for each person.
“When it comes to exercise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” said Dr Freedland, who also serves as codirector of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program. “However, we are confident that even some degree of exercise, even if less intense, is better than no exercise at all.”
The researchers published their results online in the March 20, 2015 issue of Sexual Medicine.
• The more a man exercises, the better his erectile and sexual function.
• This is the first study to link the benefits of exercise to improved erectile and sexual function in a racially diverse group of patients.
• Also contributing to low sexual function were diabetes mellitus, older age, past or current smoking, and coronary artery disease.