According to a new study, cycling has shown a beneficial effect in treating sexual dysfunction among men with chronic heart failure,
Heart failure may produce sexual dysfunction in men because blood flow is restricted, in other words they may find it hard to get an erection. The problem is that many of these men cannot take the anti-impotence drug sildenafil because it interacts with medication for heart failure.
Researchers in France reported on the study of the effects of exercise on men with heart failure and sexual dysfunction. They studied 50 men in their mid to late-50s who had heart failure. 20 followed an exercise programme consisting of two one hour sessions a week on a stationary exercise bike. For the first 20 minutes, they did stretching and warm-up and then, for the rest of the time, they cycled at 65 per cent of their peak oxygen uptake (the usual goal for aerobic fitness). They followed the programme for nine weeks, after which time both their sex lives and their overall quality of life showed marked improvement. While the rest of the group did no exercise, and reported no improvement.
The benefits of exercise relate to an improvement in circulation - for medical tests showed an improvement in the functioning of the men's arteries and increased blood flow. Further study will show if you can get the same benefits from other forms of exercise.