How exercise can help improve your prostate health
Regular exercise can help prevent prostate issues, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction.
Exercise can help you reach and maintain an ideal body weight. That, in turn, will help boost your prostate health, says Marc Garnick, MD, a prostate specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Keeping extra pounds off will “help minimize and reverse lower urinary tract symptoms linked to an enlarged prostate,” according to Dr. Garnick. “In general, anything that is heart-healthy is prostate-healthy.”
Dr. Garnick recommends aiming for a routine with a mix of circuit training, cardio, stretching and weight training.
The Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), a study comparing the effect of men’s diets and lifestyles to the incidence of serious illnesses, found that men who exercised regularly were less likely to suffer from BPH and were 20% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction.
There is still insufficient research on how exercise affects the prostate, but there are some great tips based on the findings from the research so far.
1. Aerobic Exercise
Exercise that is good for the heart is also good for prostate and sexual health. Doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, like running, swimming, biking, speed walking or hiking, 3-4 times a week has been shown to have beneficial effects. If you are a cycling fan, get a prostate-friendly saddle, which is designed with a gap to remove pressure on the perineum (the space between the opening of the rectum and the scrotum).
2. Strength Training
Add in strength training exercises, like lifting weights or calisthenics, on alternating days. Building strength can also boost testosterone levels.
3. Interval Training
Excess fat, particularly belly fat, is linked to an increased risk of BPH. Men can reduce belly fat through a healthy diet and exercise that focuses on interval training. Interval training exercise burns fat by boosting the body’s metabolism, keeping it in a fat-burning range. Interval training even increases a person’s resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercising.
4. Kegel Exercises
Contrary to popular belief, these aren’t just for women. Kegel exercises are especially helpful for men who have urinary issues associated with prostate enlargement. These exercises, which strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region, can help control incontinence in men who have an enlarged prostate. To do a kegel, you must squeeze the muscles you would use to hold back your urine. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds and release. Doing three sets of 10-20 kegels every day should help with bladder control.
5. Consistency is Key
Our last tip is consistency. For any long-lasting effect, you must stick with the exercise plan, be disciplined and consistent. Work out if you can at least 3-4 times a week. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of many health issues, including prostate problems.
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