While strenuous exercise can provide a leaner, fitter physique, it could also potentially disrupt one’s sex drive, a new study warns.

A team from University of North Carolina observed that men with more intense exercise programs may have a lower libido than those who have lighter workouts.

Male Exercise And Sex Drive

This is among the first to probe the link between men’s exercise and their sex lives, as previous studies centered on women.

“Exposure to higher levels of chronic intense and greater durations of endurance training on a regular basis are significantly associated with a decreased libido scores in men,” the authors wrote, recommending doctors seeing male patients for sex-related disorders to take into account the level of the patient’s endurance training.

The team started by developing an online questionnaire for almost 1,100 participants, most of whom were experienced athletes who had trained hard for years.

The questionnaire asked the men about their sex lives, such as how often they thought about it and engaged in it. A separate survey had a detailed query about their exercise habits, such as the frequency and intensity of their workouts. A final set of questions delved on their general health and medical history.

Clear patterns arose, such as men with light to moderate exercise were far more likely to disclose moderate to high libidos than those whose exercise routines were intense or prolonged. This pattern persisted even after the team accounted for age, as older men naturally tend to report less sexual interest.

Strenuous exercise was tied to lower libido, although the sample was relatively small, and it is impossible, according to lead study author and professor Dr. Anthony Hackney, to gauge their truthfulness or how representative they were of the gender. The study also did not look into why the two were connected.

How To Improve The Male Libido

Hackney speculated that physical fatigue as well as low testosterone after intense exercise could play a role. In the meantime, he said, men worrying about the effects of their training on sex life should try exercising a little less.

“Fertility specialists will often ask a woman about whether and how much she exercises. Based on our data, we think they should also be asking the man,” he explained in a New York Times report.

The findings were discussed in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

According to WebMD, revving up a man’s sex drive will depend on the root cause, but potential treatments include healthier lifestyle choices, such as improving diet, improving length and quality of sleep, cutting down on alcohol, and reducing stress. A prescribed medication that potentially affects one’s libido could also be changed.

Testosterone replacement therapy is another common option. Levels of this primary sex hormone in men naturally starts to decline with age, and the loss could result in negative effects and drive some patients to try therapy to replenish their testosterone artificially.

Just this week, a lineup of five new studies revealed that testosterone therapy leads to health benefits (such as improved bone density and strength and help in correcting anemia) and adverse effects (greater plaque buildup in the coronary arteries) alike.

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