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Who needs Viagra? Not any more...just ride.(7 posts)

Who needs Viagra? Not any more...just ride.climbo
Nov 25, 2001 7:02 PM
Washington: Riding a bike may substitute for Viagra in some men with weak heart muscles, a study suggests.

The men reported improvements in their sex lives after riding, in a supervised program, at a moderate intensity three times a week for eight weeks.

"It's a simple exercise you can use to improve your sexual function," said Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of the Lancisi Heart Institute in Ancona, Italy.


Aerobic exercise may be especially valuable for men on certain heart medications who can't also take the erectile dysfunction drug because the combination of medications could be fatal, Belardinelli said. He reported his findings at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Belardinelli looked at patients with chronic heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle is so weak that it cannot pump blood well enough to keep the body properly supplied with oxygen and nutrients.

To help blood move more easily, doctors try to reduce blood pressure by prescribing medications called nitrates. These drugs release nitric oxide. The chemical, also produced by smooth muscle cells in the blood vessels, makes blood vessels widen.

Viagra does not directly release nitric oxide, but has a similar effect, encouraging the buildup of naturally occurring nitric oxide in blood vessels of the penis. The increased blood flow helps to bring on an erection.

However, doctors say the combination of Viagra and nitrates can result in dangerous drops in blood pressure. So Viagra is pretty much off-limits to heart failure patients, even though they can suffer reduced sexual ability as a symptom of their condition.

Belardinelli wanted to see how aerobic exercise, which is often prescribed to strengthen the cardiovascular system in heart failure patients, could improve sexual performance. He and his colleagues had 30 men exercise under careful monitoring at a moderate intensity. Another 29 men did not exercise and served as a comparison group.

The researchers watched patients' ability to use oxygen rise as a result of the exercise. They also saw blood flow improve in the brachial artery, which runs from the shoulder to the elbow. There were no such changes in the control group.

To assess sexual ability, the researchers had the men respond to questionnaires. Similar questionnaires were given to the men's sex partners, and the results from the men and the women were compared, to make sure the men were telling the truth.

"I don't know in Americans, but you know Italians are famous to be great lovers, so they can lie and say, 'I am great and no problems,'" Belardinelli said. "But in reality they have a big problem and don't admit it."

In this case, the results proved reliable, and showed the men who exercised had better erections as well as improved quality time with their sex partners.

The level of blood flow through the brachial artery was a better predictor of who did better sexually than aerobic improvement was, the study found. Other studies have found that exercise triggers increased production of nitric oxide. So Belardinelli felt that aerobic exercise was getting results similar to Viagra, making its big benefit by widening blood vessels.

Other experts, while not doubting that exercise can lead to better sex, doubt that widening the blood vessels was the most important cause. Exercise causes a great range of health improvements, and the experts felt that the better sex could have resulted from being generally healthier.

"It's interesting, and he may in fact be right," said Dr. Stephen D. Nash of St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y. "But if you exercise people with chronic heart failure, they will have beneficial effects including in blood vessels -- and, incidentally, better sexual function," said

"This is one of the first studies on this, in a small number of patients, and I don't think we can draw definite conclusions," said Dr. Gerald F. Fletcher of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Exercise is associated with decreases in depression and a whole lot of other things that may affect sexual function," said Dr. Nanette Wenger of Emory University School of Medicine.

And the sex improvements would not be limited to those people who can't take Viagra, said Dr. Mike Sweeney, urology group leader at Pfizer Inc., which makes Viagra. Exercising, quitting smoking and losing weight can work for them as well, he said.

PS. Story not related to the "creams" post below nmclimbo
Nov 25, 2001 7:03 PM
not related to Tiagra components either - nmdzrider
Nov 26, 2001 7:16 AM
re: Who needs Viagra? Not any more...just ride.pedalpusher5
Nov 25, 2001 7:13 PM
Cool. I knew there was more the just feeling good. After my wife reads this she will let me buy a new bike so I will ride more. haha
re: ride more: the bike or the wife?guido
Nov 26, 2001 11:21 AM
Not only cardiovascular improvement, but also endurance, the ability to work for long periods at elevated heartrate, is yet another reward of cycling.
yeah butWoof the dog
Nov 25, 2001 8:55 PM
this doesn't seem like a strong link. This is not at all related to cycling (not that you can't post it anyway :-)). Subjects would have probably chosen some other activity and may have had even better results. No?

Woof the dog
yeah butclimbo
Nov 26, 2001 5:50 AM
you may be right, I just thought is was interesting to read, I'm no expert on the subject.