Treating Erectile Dysfunction: Lifestyle
One way to improve erectile dysfunction is to make some simple lifestyle
changes. For some men, adopting a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking,
exercising regularly, and/or reducing stress may be all that is needed to find
relief. For those who require more intensive treatment, adopting these lifestyle
changes in addition to other treatments can further help.
Quitting smoking can be very difficult and there is no single best way that
works for all people. The following are some approaches to try that might help you kick the habit:
- Pick a quitting date one to three weeks
in the future. Prepare for the date by cutting down on smoking, staying away
from your favorite places to smoke, and making a plan for how you will deal with
stressful events without smoking.
- On your quitting date, get rid of all
cigarettes, keep busy, and stay in smoke-free places.
- The nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or
other medication that may be prescribed to help you quit can be helpful but they
will not take away your cravings to smoke. Talk to your doctor to see if you
should try these techniques.
- Make a clean break. Do not allow
yourself to smoke "now and then." An addiction to nicotine can be
reactivated anytime, even years after quitting.
- Take it one moment, one hour, one day
at time. Cravings to smoke are usually short-lived and will go away whether or
not you have a cigarette.
help with quitting if you need it. Choose a comprehensive smoking cessation
program that does not rely on a single technique (such as hypnosis). Your doctor
can point you in the right direction.
Regular exercise can improve your health in many ways. Along with improving
erectile function, exercise can:
the flow of oxygen in the blood
muscle tone and strength
and build bones
reduce body fat
reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression
self-image and self-esteem
you feel more relaxed and rested
you look fit and healthy
To get the most benefit, you should exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three
times a week. Current studies suggest that four or five times a week is best. If
you are a beginner, exercise for 20 minutes and build up to 30 minutes.
When starting out, you should plan a routine that is easy to follow and stick
with. As the program becomes more routine, you can vary your exercise times and
activities. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Choose an activity you enjoy.
Exercising should be fun, not a chore.
- Schedule regular exercise into your
daily routine. Add a variety of exercises so that you do not get bored. Look
into scheduled exercise classes at your local community center.
- Exercise does not have to put a strain
on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships
unless you are certain you will use them regularly.
- Stick with it. If you exercise
regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle.
- If you feel you need supervision or
medical advice to begin an exercise program, ask your doctor to refer you to
physical therapy. A physical therapist can evaluate your needs and start you on
a safe and effective exercise program.
Stress is common to everyone. Our bodies are designed to feel stress and
react to it. It keeps us alert and ready to avoid danger. But it is not always
possible to avoid or change events that may cause stress and it is easy to feel
trapped and unable to cope. When stress persists, the body begins to break down
and illnesses can occur. The key to coping with stress is identifying stressors
in your life and learning ways to direct and reduce stress.
Learning an effective means of relaxation and using it regularly is a good
first step. Allow yourself some "quiet time," even if it's just a few
minutes. Examine and modify your thinking, particularly unrealistic
expectations. Talking problems out with a friend or family member can help put
things in proper perspective. Seeking professional assistance can help you gain
a new perspective on how to manage some of the more difficult forms of stress.
Other approaches to reducing stress include:
- Keep a positive attitude. Believe in
- Accept that there are events you cannot
- Be assertive instead of aggressive.
"Assert" your feelings, opinions or beliefs instead of becoming angry,
combative or passive.
- Learn to relax.
- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight
stress better when it is fit.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Stop smoking.
- Consume moderate amounts of alcohol and
- Set realistic goals and expectations.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Your body
needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to
- Learn to use stress management
techniques and coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing or guided imagery.
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