More Benefits of Mid-Life Fitness for Men

A study that followed 13,000 men from 1971 to 2009 shows that men who keep a high level of fitness from their forties onward have a one third lower risk overall of dying from certain cancers after age 65 (JAMA Oncology, March 27, 2015). Fitness was measured by their ability to keep on running on a treadmill until they had to stop. Every 1-MET increase in heart-lung fitness reduced risk of dying from cancer by 10 percent and of heart attacks by 25 percent. A 1-MET difference in fitness is equivalent to being able to run an 11.5-minute mile compared to a 12-minute mile. The fit group compared to the unfit group had a cancer reduction of 55 percent for lung cancer and 44 percent for colo-rectal cancer. No benefit was shown for prostate cancer.

Exercise Improves Sexual Function Another study of 295 men showed that those who exercised the most had more frequent and better-quality erections than those who exercised the least (Journal of Sexual Medicine, published online Mar 20, 2015). The authors defined fitness as exercising at 18 METS per week, which is equivalent to two hours of strenuous exercise, 3.5 hours of moderate exercise or six hours of light exercise. Impotence was also associated with diabetes, past or current smoking and heart disease.

Walking Improves Sexual Function After a Heart Attack In a third study, men who followed a home-based walking program after suffering a heart attack had marked improvement in their sexual function compared to those who did not walk (The American Journal of Cardiology, March 1, 2015). After 30 days of walking, the exercising men had a 71 percent increase in ability to achieve an erection, compared to a nine percent decrease in the men who did no exercising. Furthermore, 30 days after hospital discharge, the men who followed the walking program could walk further without suffering discomfort.

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