For men over 40, if you don't have enough motivation to get in shape, know that your risk of erectile dysfunction goes with your age. 40% of men in their forties, 50% in their fifties, and 60% in their sixties experience performance problems.
It can be emotionally devastating for any man who has experienced trouble performing. You don't feel like the man you used to be.
The size of the ED medication business proves that men will stop at nothing to keep intimate function.
Since this is primarily a circulation issue, it turns out that getting in better cardiovascular shape can significantly affect your bedroom performance.
The regular occurrence of ED is an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. 15% of men who experience ED will have a heart attack within the following seven years.
Don't avoid the doctor due to shame or embarrassment. It could save your life.
Studies have shown that increased cardiovascular fitness and lower body fat levels can be as effective as prescription medications for erectile performance.
Not only does building endurance help you live longer, but it can also help improve the quality of the years you have, especially your love life.
The Exercise Prescription to Avoid Droopy Banana Syndrom (DBS)
The best path for this fitness gain is to build up to 3-4 hours per week of Zone 2 cardio and one session of high-intensity intervals.
Zone 2 Aerobic Training
Zone 2 is steady-state training like fast walking, jogging, or cycling, where your heart rate is elevated, but you can still converse. A session will have you with an elevated heart rate for 30 or more minutes per session.
I like to use the Maffetone Method of determining your target heart rate as it is simple and effective. Subtract your age from 180. This will give you the top of your training zone. Take ten beats off this to figure out the bottom of the zone.
If you have been training seriously for at least two years, then you can add five beats to your zone.
I am 52, so the top of my zone is 128 beats per minute. I ADD FIVE BEATS since I have been training for most of my life. So, my zone should be 118-133 beats per minute.
To simplify, I set my aerobic training zone from 120-135 beats per minute on my heart rate monitor. It will beep to let me know if I'm going too hard or too easy.
This type of training can be a little boring, so listening to music or a podcast can make the time more enjoyable.
Doing your strength training in a circuit style with short rests between exercises can also contribute to your cardiovascular fitness and building muscle and strength.
High-Intensity Interval Training
If Zone 2 training builds the base of your pyramid, High-Intensity interval training (HIIT) raises the height.
The combination allows you to have lots of endurance and recover from strenuous efforts quickly.
As the name implies, High-Intensity Intervals are hard repeats with recovery between efforts.
I use two interval sessions and rotate them on alternate weeks.
VO2 Max Intervals (4X4)
Ensure you warm up well before interval training, as it is very strenuous. I will ride for about 10-15 minutes, getting my heart rate up before starting the hard interval part of my training.
These are very simple but not fun.
Go as hard as you can for four minutes, then go easy for four minutes. Repeat four times.
On the bike, I choose terrain that doesn't have any downhills, as it is tough to keep the effort level going downhill.
If you can find a hill that takes four minutes or longer to climb, then repeats of that hill would be a great option.
Using the timer on my bike computer, I will go super hard like I'm being chased or trying to win a race for four minutes and then ride slowly to catch my breath for the next four minutes.
Then, repeat three more times. These intervals will increase the pace of easy training and improve your ability to buffer lactic acid.
If you don't ride a bicycle or stationary bike, I would recommend running hill sprints, as they are challenging but don't have as much impact as running on level surfaces.
I found a hiking trail near my house that takes a minute to run up, so it is perfect for these shorter efforts.
After warming up, which should include a couple of sprints at 50-75 percent effort, sprint for 20-30 seconds, followed by 3 minutes of recovery.
You want to ensure you are recovered enough to put 100% into each effort. If you are running hill sprints, walk down the hill and around the base until you are recovered enough to go again.
Repeat for 6-10 sets.
As we age, we lose fast-twitch muscle fibres, so any type of sprinting is effective at helping stave this loss off. This type of interval is also effective at boosting endurance, burning visceral fat, and improving your recovery ability.
Weekly Plan Example
This is a typical week for me for endurance training during the warmer months. How you do it can vary depending on your interests and training time.
Monday 60 minutes Zone 2
Tuesday 60 Minutes Zone 2
Wednesday 60-minute session With High-Intensity Intervals session (Alternating weeks of 4x4 and Speed intervals)
Friday 60-Minute Zone 2
Sunday 2-4 Hour Bike ride with mixed effort levels
If you want to minimize the risk of developing circulation-based erectile difficulties, improving your cardiovascular fitness is wise.
It's not something any guy wants to think about, but don't suffer in silence. Get proactive about your health, both inside and outside the bedroom.