Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Sculpt Your Bod

September 22, 2018

Andrew Siegel MD  9/22/2018

David by Michelangelo Florence Galleria dell'Accademia

David by Michelangelo Florence Galleria dell’Accademia

Image above by Jörg Bittner Unna [CC BY 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons”

Dad bod is a slang term in popular culture referring to a body shape particular to middle-aged men. The phrase has been adopted in U.S. culture as a celebration of this particular type of physique, with references generally skewing toward a positive and light-hearted tone. This masculine body type is a unique cross between muscular and overweight physiques.” ….Wikipedia

You can think of your body as a dynamic piece of sculpture, capable of being modified at will by you—the artist—who has some definite say regarding its appearance.  This human sculpture is not static and fixed in composition, but forever evolving, continually being remodeled, restructured and refashioned in accordance with the availability of building materials, how they are used, and in response to the cut of the chisel or lack thereof.

Every human being starts with a unique block of matter that has certain fixed structural features—based upon what was inherited from one’s parents—but other aspects that are capable of being modified, for better or worse. Since the sculpture is dynamic and constantly being restructured, one can think of the “sculpting materials” as one’s diet and energy intake and of the “actions of the chisel” as exercise and physical activity.

For the optimally-shaped sculpture, it is vital to use the finest sculpting materials in the proper quantities, i.e., a diet that is both wholesome and nutritious—”real” food that is not over-refined, over-processed, and nutritionally-empty—and provides the right balance of calories to satisfy metabolic demands, but not so much that the excess energy is stored as fat.  A calorie-rich, nutrient-poor, typical Western diet overloaded with processed foods will result in a bloated sculpture with over-ample proportions.

The actions of the chisel are equally—if not more—important to the sculpted product as are the proper quality and quantity of sculpting materials.  The chisel—when properly and deftly applied—will remove extraneous materials in a proportionate manner and nicely shape and fashion the sculpture. The chisel represents the cumulative total of exercise, physical activities and bio-mechanical forces, resistances, and stresses applied to the sculpture.

At any given moment in time the sculpture’s appearance is the living record of the lifetime integrated sum total of nutritional input, energy expenditure, exercise and physical activity. Obviously, this is a gross simplification; this entire schema ignores the other internal and external elements that contribute to our physique, including a lifetime of metabolic and hormonal factors, trauma, injury, disease, aging, environmental factors, etc.  Nonetheless, the artist has some genuine say in the shape of the sculpture and it is a matter of what and how much we eat or don’t and what kind of and how much we exercise and stay physically active or don’t that figures prominently in the ultimate form of the sculpture.

With some applied discipline, the artist is capable of changing the appearance of the sculpture for the better, or without discipline the artist is capable of changing the appearance of the sculpture for the worse. The proper quality and quantity of sculpting materials will give rise to a pleasing appearance of the sculpture when veiled with clothing, but it is the actions of the chisel that provide the attractive sculpted and chiseled appearance when the sculpture is unveiled.

Losing weight makes you look good in clothes,

Exercise makes you look good naked.

As I am giving thought to the human-as-sculpture metaphor, I am at the Jersey shore relaxing in a beach chair under an umbrella, gazing into the surf and observing a myriad of different bodies—of varying sizes, shapes and forms—walking by.  Some are rail thin, some sinewy and muscular, many overweight and far too many are obese.  I can’t help but think that each and every one of us has the power to sculpt their bodies—certainly to some extent—and that prior to making the decision to put a food item in our mouth– or not– or engage in physical activity– or not–a tiny bit of thought about what effect that may or may not have on our body as sculpture might be in order.

 

IMG_1268

fat david

Image above attribution: Stupid.photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/27248028@N02/2627052650; no changes made to image

With the creative touch of the chisel and other sculpting tools, Michelangelo transformed a solid block of marble into the magnificently sculpted David. You, too, can wield the power of the artist and optimize your body’s form (and function for that matter), understanding that the process will be a slow, steady and gradual evolution.  While the initial motivation may be vanity, the deeper reward will be improved health and fitness.

Upon returning from an awesome vacation in Iceland where I had certainly enjoyed the gorgeous terrain as well as the lamb, arctic char and beer, I felt an uncomfortable (and unattractive) roll in my mid-section.  I could certainly “pinch more than an inch”—more like 4 inches—and this, in combination with my tightening pants, both repulsed and motivated me.  Starting in June, I made a concerted effort with both “sculpture materials” and the “actions of the chisel” to modify the “dad bod” and whittle myself back into optimal shape. Clearly, this kind of effort that becomes more challenging as we get older. I tried to maintain the healthy diet that I genuinely enjoy— Mediterranean-style—and ate clean, lean and mostly green, actively avoiding (as much as feasible) cheese and other animal fats (replacing them with fats from seafood, olives/olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, etc.).  On the avoid list were cookies, cake, candy and other sweets. I never drink carbs (sodas, juices, sports drinks, sweetened tea, lemonade, etc.) with the exception of alcohol (in moderation). I stepped up the exercise, doing a balance of cardio, core and strength training. Without a great deal of difficulty, I managed to drop the pounds and carve the body for the better and my daughters now describe my physique as “partial dad bod,” which might be the best I will ever be able to do, although I will continue to challenge that in the future.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted weekly. To receive a free subscription with delivery to your email inbox visit the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community.

Dr. Siegel has authored the following books that are available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo:

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health 

PROMISCUOUS EATING: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Cover

These books are written for educated and discerning men and women who care about health, well-being, fitness and nutrition and enjoy feeling confident and strong.

Dr. Siegel is co-creator of the male pelvic floor exercise instructional DVD (female version is in the works): PelvicRx

New video on female pelvic floor exercises:  Learn about your pelvic floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Ways To Maintain Sexual Fitness

December 31, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD  12/31/16

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(Thank you, Pixabay, for image above)

It is fundamental to understand that your genitals are not separate and independent entities, but part and parcel of your body as a whole. If your health is compromised by illness or poor lifestyle, you should not expect your penis or vagina to function any better than rest of your body, but in parallel with your general health. If you are overweight, “malnourished” on the basis of a poor diet, do not challenge your body with regular exercise, use tobacco, consume too much alcohol, are over-stressed, sleep deprived, etc., your sexual function will likely suffer in concordance with your general health. The bottom line is that general health drives genital health and that healthy sexual functioning is an excellent marker of general health.

 

Sex is a healthy and natural part of life.  A healthy sexual relationship is an important part of an overall healthy relationship, “cementing” the bond between those in the relationship.

Whether male or female, the concept of “sexual fitness” has recently come into vogue. The idea is that sexual health is related to overall health and that optimal functioning in the bedroom can only be achieved with an  healthy state of mind and body and that the root cause of declining sexual performance is  when general health is compromised.

Blood flow is our lifeline and defines our existence. The key to life is the unimpeded flow and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to every cell and tissue in the body to maintain proper function.  Cardiovascular health is thus imperative for general and sexual health and when blood flow is jeopardized, both general health and sexual function will suffer.

Cardiovascular fitness is based upon maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a nutrient-rich diet (lean proteins, abundant fruit, vegetables, legumes and avoidance of nutrient-poor processed foods, excessive sugar and refined foods, etc.), daily activity and exercise (including aerobic, resistance, core and pelvic floor), avoiding excessive stress, getting sufficient sleep and avoidance of toxins including tobacco and excessive alcohol. Negative behaviors pursued on a chronic basis can sap one’s health and vitality that is critical to sexuality.

Our human ability to perform physically—in any domain—declines as we age, explaining why most professional athletes are in their twenties or thirties. Sexual function is no exception, with sexual response generally declining gradually over time, most often predicated upon impaired blood flow and altered function of the cells and tissues that comprise the genitals.

One option is to wait for your sex life to go south and then be “reactive,” incorporating healthy lifestyle measures in an effort to reverse the damage. A better approach is to be “proactive” with attention to the following ten recommendations.

10 Ways To Maintain Sexual Fitness

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight  This will help prevent fatty deposits that clog up your blood vessels, including the arterial supply to the penis and vulva/vagina.
  1. Eat Healthy  The bottom line is that you want your body running on premium fuel. Nutritionally wholesome, natural foods will help prevent the build-up of harmful fatty deposits that compromise genital blood flow. Poor dietary choices with calorie-laden, nutritionally-empty selections (e.g., fast, processed, or refined foods) puts you on the fast tract to clogged arteries that can make your sexual function as small as your belly is big.
  1. Minimize Stress  Stress causes the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline narrows blood vessels, which has a negative effect on sexual response. Excessive cortisol secretion drives appetite and causes the accumulation of the bad belly fat (as opposed to fat under the skin).
  1. Eliminate Tobacco Tobacco contains nicotine and a cocktail of toxins that impairs blood flow and decreases the supply of oxygen, as well as promotes inflammation, compromising every organ in your body, including those vital for sexual function.
  1. Alcohol in Moderation  In small amounts, alcohol can alleviate anxiety and act as a vasodilator (increasing blood flow), but in large amounts it can be a major risk factor for sexual dysfunction. Everything in moderation!
  1. Sleep Tight  Sleeping has a critical restorative function. During this important downtime there is an increased rate of tissue growth and a decreased rate of tissue breakdown, vital for maintaining the integrity of our cells and tissues. Sleep deprivation causes a disruption in endocrine, metabolic, and immune function, resulting in increased appetite, increased cortisol, and higher amounts of sugar in the bloodstream. If you are exhausted, your genitals will be equally weary.
  1. Exercise   Exercise has a robust effect on sexual function through stress busting, mood improvement, fatigue reduction, increase of energy and better quality sleep. It reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis, chronic medical problems, and physical disability. It improves muscular strength and tone, reduces body fat and helps weight control. It makes your heart a better and stronger pump, your blood vessels more elastic, and your muscles better able to use oxygen. Exercises that work out the muscles involved in sex—the core muscles, the external rotators of the hip, and the all-important pelvic floor muscles—will improve bedroom performance. 
  1. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role with respect to all aspects of sexual function, from arousal to climax. Numerous scientific studies have documented the benefits of pelvic exercises (Kegels) in improving sexual function.
  1. Stay Sexually Active   Keep your genitals fit by using them on a regular basis for the purpose they were designed for. In other words, stay sexually active as nature intended! Sexual activity is vital for maintaining the ability to have ongoing satisfactory sexual intercourse. Regular sexual activity increases pelvic and genital blood flow and optimizes tissue health and elasticity, while orgasms tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles“Disuse atrophy” is a condition when the genitals adapt to not being used, with tissue wasting, genital shrinkage and weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. Use it or lose it!
  2. Maintain a Healthy Relationship.  It takes two to tango, so relationship harmony plays strongly into healthy sexual functioning just as discord and interpersonal issues profoundly contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Note that sexual intercourse in and of itself is a great form of general exercise because of the kinetics involved and the demands on the cardiovascular system, core, pelvic floor and other skeletal muscles. Of the “10 ways to maintain sexual fitness,” staying sexually active covers 6 of them (maintaining a healthy relationship, staying sexually active, pelvic floor exercises, general exercise, sleeping tight and minimizing stress).

Bottom Line: The “Golden Rule”: Treat your genitals kindly (in terms of a healthy lifestyle) and the favor will be returned; treat your genitals poorly and they will rebel. The proactive approach will keep you functioning smoothly for many years. General health and fitness will foster sexual health and fitness, and staying sexually active is a vital means of maintaining general health and fitness.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a practicing physician and urological surgeon board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  Dr. Siegel serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community that is in such dire need of bridging.

Author of MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health  http://www.TheKegelFix.com

 

How To Raise Your Testosterone, Naturally

September 3, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD  9/3/2016

17373-men-and-women-performing-aerobic-exercises-pv

(CDC/Amanda Mills from Public Health Image Library)

Two weeks ago, my entry was about the medication Clomid–a nice alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. What about a non-pharmacological, natural approach to raising testosterone levels?

Testosterone (T) is produced mostly in the testes, although the adrenal glands also manufacture a small amount. T has a critical role in male development and physical characteristics. It promotes tissue growth via protein synthesis, having “anabolic” effects including building of muscle mass, bone mass and strength, and “androgenic” (masculinizing) effects at the time of puberty. With the T surge at puberty many changes occur: penis enlargement; development of an interest in sex; increased frequency of erections; pubic, axillary, facial, chest and leg hair; decrease in body fat and increase in muscle and bone mass, growth and strength; deepened voice and prominence of the Adam’s apple; occurrence of fertility; and bone and cartilage changes including growth of jaw, brow, chin, nose and ears and transition from “cute” baby face to “angular” adult face. Throughout adulthood, T helps maintain libido, masculinity, sexuality, and youthful vigor and vitality. Additionally, T contributes to mood, red blood cell count, energy, and general “mojo.”

The amount of T made is regulated by the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis, which acts like a thermostat to regulate the levels of T. Healthy men produce 6-8 mg testosterone daily, in a rhythmic pattern with a peak in the early morning and a lag in the later afternoon.  Low T levels can be low based upon testicular problems or hypothalamus/pituitary problems, although the problem most commonly is due to the aging testicle’s inability to manufacture sufficient levels of T. T levels gradually decline—approximately a 1% decline each year after age 30—sometimes giving rise to symptoms. These symptoms may include the following: fatigue; irritability; decreased cognitive abilities; depression; decreased libido; ED; ejaculatory dysfunction; decreased energy and sense of well-being; loss of muscle and bone mass; increased body fat; and abnormal lipid profile. A simple way to think about the effect of low T is that it accelerates the aging process.

Lifestyle factors are strongly associated with variations in testosterone (T) levels, with healthy lifestyles correlating with higher levels of T and unhealthy lifestyles with lower levels.  Some physicians regard T level as a laboratory marker of male physical health.

One of the key factors responsible for some of the decline in T that accompanies aging is excessive body fat. In fact, there is an inverse relationship between obesity and T levels, with increased body mass index (BMI) correlating with decreased T.

Factoid: Every 5-point increase in BMI translates to a 10% dip in T–an equivalent decline as would typically occur with 10 years of aging.

Fatty tissue – particularly visceral abdominal fat (the “beer belly”) – contains an abundance of metabolically active factors and hormones including aromatase, an enzyme which functions to convert T to the female sex hormone estrogen. Men with large bellies consequently are often found to have lower T levels and higher estrogen levels, which can result in “emasculation” with loss of sex drive, diminished erections, the disturbing loss of penile length and the presence of gynecomastia (man boobs)

Factoid: In addition to the decline in T, for every 35 lb. weight gain there is a 1-inch loss in apparent penile length because of the pubic fat pad that hides the penis.  

The good news is that weight loss will increase T levels and is capable of improving all of the aforementioned signs and symptoms. This has been demonstrated with all means of  weight loss, ranging from caloric restriction to bariatric surgery.

Another important lifestyle factor associated with variations in T levels is the extent of one’s physical fitness. Exercise is clearly associated with higher T levels. The degree of potential increase in T is related to both the quantity and quality of exercise. In general, the more time invested in moderate intensity exercise, the greater the increase in T.  As important as aerobic exercise is for health, resistance exercise is superior in terms of increasing T.

Bottom Line:  To optimize your T level, maintain a healthy weight and engage in an exercise program emphasizing resistance training.  If you are obese and sedentary, it is likely that you have low T, a situation that can be reversed with a modification to a healthier lifestyle. 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– and MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo; paperback edition available at TheKegelFix.com

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc 

Co-creator of the comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered Private Gym/PelvicRx, a male pelvic floor muscle training program built upon the foundational work of renowned Dr. Arnold Kegel. The program empowers men to increase their pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, and endurance. Combining the proven effectiveness of Kegel exercises with the use of resistance weights, this program helps to improve sexual function and to prevent urinary incontinence: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  

In the works is the female PelvicRx DVD pelvic floor muscle training for women.

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

Pelvic Floor Issues In Women

August 13, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD  8/13/16

shutterstock_femalebluepelvic

The pelvic floor muscles (PFM) are integral in maintaining healthy pelvic anatomy and function. When PFM impairments develop, there are typically one or more of five consequences:

  1. Urinary control issues
  2. Bowel control issues
  3. Sexual issues
  4. Pelvic organ prolapse and vaginal laxity
  5. Pelvic pain

25% of women have symptoms due to weak PFM and many more have weak PFM that is not yet symptomatic. Others have symptoms due to PFM that are taut and over-tensioned. More than 10% of women will undergo surgery for pelvic issues—commonly for stress urinary incontinence (urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing, exercise, etc.) and pelvic organ prolapse (sagging of the pelvic organs into vaginal canal and at times outside vagina)—with up to 30% requiring repeat surgical procedures.

The following quotes from patients illustrate the common pelvic issues:

 “Every time I go on the trampoline with my daughter, my bladder leaks. The same thing happens when I jump rope with her.”

–Brittany, age 29

“My vagina is just not the same as it was before I had my kids. It’s loose to the extent that I can’t keep a tampon in.”

–Allyson, age 38

“As soon as I get near my home, I get a tremendous urge to empty my bladder. I have to scramble to find my keys and can’t seem to put the key in the door fast enough. I make a beeline to the bathroom, but often have an accident on the way.”

–Jan, age 57

“Sex is so different now. I don’t get easily aroused the way I did when I was younger. Intercourse doesn’t feel like it used to and I don’t climax as often or as intensively as I did before having my three children. My husband now seems to get ‘lost’ in my vagina. I worry about satisfying him.”

–Leah, age 43

“When I bent over to pick up my granddaughter, I felt a strange sensation between my legs, as if something gave way. I rushed to the bathroom and used a hand mirror and saw a bulge coming out of my vagina. It looked like a pink ball and I felt like all my insides were falling out.”

–Karen, age 66

 “I have been experiencing on and off stabbing pain in my lower abdomen, groin and vagina. It is worse after urinating and moving my bowels. Sex is usually impossible because of how much it hurts.”

–Tara, age 31

These issues come under the broad term pelvic floor dysfunction, common conditions causing symptoms that can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. Pelvic floor dysfunction develops when the PFM are traumatized, injured or neglected. Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), a.k.a. “Kegels,” has the capacity for improving all of these situations.

PFM fitness is critical to healthy pelvic function and is an important element of overall health and fitness. PFMT is a safe, natural, non-invasive, first-line self-improvement approach to pelvic floor dysfunction that should be considered before more aggressive, more costly and riskier treatments. We engage in exercise programs for virtually every other muscle group in the body and should not ignore the PFM, which when trained can become toned and robust, capable of supporting and sustaining pelvic anatomy and function to the maximum. Should one fail to benefit from such conservative management, more aggressive options always remain available.

PFMT can be beneficial for the following categories of pelvic floor dysfunction:

  • Weakened pelvic support (descent and sagging of the pelvic organs including the bladder, urethra, uterus, rectum and vagina itself)
  • Vaginal laxity (looseness)
  • Altered sexual and orgasmic function
  • Stress urinary incontinence (urinary leakage with coughing and exertion)
  • Overactive bladder (the sudden urge to urinate with leakage often occurring before being able to get to the bathroom)
  • Pelvic pain due to PFM spasm
  • Bowel urgency and incontinence.

Additionally, PFMT improves core strength, lumbar stability and spinal alignment, aids in preventing back pain and helps prepare one for pregnancy, labor and delivery. PFMT can be advantageous not only for those with any of the previously mentioned problems, but also as a means of helping to prevent them in the first place. Exercising the PFM in your 20s and 30s can help avert problems in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.

Bottom Line: Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common problem that causes annoying symptoms that interfere with one’s quality of life. It is often amenable to improvement or cure with a Kegel pelvic exercise program. There are numerous benefits to increasing the strength, tone, endurance and flexibility of your PFM. Even if you approach public training with one specific functional goal in mind, all domains will benefit, a nice advantage of conditioning such a versatile group of muscles.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– and MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo; paperback edition available at TheKegelFix.com

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc  

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training DVD. 

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

10 Tips to Keep Your Manhood Manly

August 8, 2015

Andrew Siegel, MD  August 8, 2015

shutterstock_orange gu tract

10 Tips to Keep Your Penis Healthy and Functional

The penis is truly a unique and remarkable organ—one of the only body parts capable of dramatically altering its shape, size, and constitution in nanoseconds. Imagine if our brains or biceps were that responsive, morphing into uber versions of themselves at the appropriate times—like Popeye’s biceps in response to spinach—we would be superheroes!

Trivia: The penis is not the only body part capable of such magic…there is one other organ that when stimulated will change its size fourfold, an even more impressive feat than what the penis is capable of!  Do you have any idea what this organ is?   (Answer at end of blog)

Penis Magic

Under the right circumstances, your penis becomes a proud warrior, a soldier standing tall at attention, saluting, noble, confident and majestic. With enough stimulation, it ferociously spits out DNA, capable of turning eggs into humans. Penis magic!

Your penis should command a great deal of respect–like any unpaired body organ that has no mate to kick in when there is engine failure–including the brain, heart, liver and pancreas. Yet the penis is not an organ that is treated with much respect.  It doesn’t see much light of day or fresh air. It is periodically liberated briefly from its incarceration to allow the bladder to drain or to be cleansed when showering. On occasion it is wrapped up in a suffocating rubber suit and inserted into dark and mysterious places. At other times it is “assaulted” by its owner–wacked, smacked and choked into submission.

Many naively assume that their penis will continue to perform its duties and responsibilities, day after day, year after year. Despite all your penis does for you, most are remiss in providing it sufficient nurture and care.  Without proper attention to its health and well being, it is destined to become less functional with each passing decade. Many chronic conditions are associated with its declining function, including obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tobacco use, etc.  What these conditions have in common is a “pro-inflammatory” state that results in dysfunction of the important cells that line blood vessels (endothelial cells), decreased levels of the vital chemical mediator of erections (nitric oxide) and oxidative stress with decreased levels of anti-oxidants and increased levels of free radicals.

The good news is that with some effort, you can maintain healthy functioning until your golden years. Like your car, your penis requires care and preventive maintenance to keep it running trouble-free.  Getting beyond maintenance, you can actually enhance your sexual health and performance, optimizing its function. The following are the top ten means of keeping your penis healthy:

1. Don’t carry extra pounds  

Just as your car suffers a decline in performance if it is dragging around too much of a load, so you penis will function sub-optimally if you are carrying excessive weight. Obesity steals your manhood and reduces male hormone levels. Abdominal fat converts the male hormone testosterone to the female hormone estrogen. Obese men are more likely to have fatty plaque deposits that clog blood vessels, including the arteries to the penis, making it more difficult to obtain and maintain good-quality erections. Additionally, as your belly gets bigger, your penis gets smaller.

2. Use high octane, performance fuel

Put a tiger in your tank with wholesome, natural and real foods that help prevent weight gain and the build-up of harmful plaque deposits within blood vessels. Healthy fuel includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fish.  Animal products including lean meats and dairy should be eaten in moderation, avoiding processed foods and refined grains. The Mediterranean-style diet is an excellent one for minimizing both sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Poor fuel choices include calorie-laden and nutritionally empty processed and fast foods, which often lead to clogged arteries and poor erections.

3. Minimize stress

Stress and anxiety cause the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Being nervous causes adrenaline-fueled performance anxiety on the basis of adrenaline constricting blood vessels, which negatively impacts erections. Excessive cortisol secretion drives one’s appetite, causing the accumulation of belly fat.

4. Eliminate toxins, particularly tobacco

You don’t want to put toxins in your tank. In addition to causing cancer, chemicals in tobacco narrow blood vessels, impair blood flow, decrease the supply of oxygen and promote inflammation, compromising every organ in your body, the penis being no exception.

5. Minimize toxins such as alcohol

In small amounts, alcohol can alleviate anxiety and act as a vasodilator (increasing blood flow) and can actually improve sexual function, but in large amounts it can be a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction.

6. Give it a rest

Too much time on the road without sufficient rest is not good for your body or your car. Both you and your vehicle require garage time. Ample sleep serves a vitally important restorative function. Sleep deprivation causes a disruption in endocrine, metabolic, and immune function, resulting in decreased levels of leptin (appetite suppressant), increased ghrelin levels (appetite stimulant), increased cortisol, and increased glucose levels (higher amounts of sugar in the bloodstream). If you are exhausted, your penis is going to be weary as well.

7. Hit the road regularly

Take that vehicle out for a nice ride on a regular basis. Use your body as it was meant to. Exercise has a remarkably positive effect on sexual function, in addition to reducing stress, improving mood, preventing fatigue, and increasing energy. It reduces risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis, chronic medical problems, and physical disability. Exercise makes the heart a better and stronger pump, the blood vessels more elastic, and the muscles more efficient at extracting oxygen. Exercises that work out the muscles involved in sex—the core muscles, the external rotators of the hip, and the all-important pelvic floor muscles—will improve bedroom performance.

The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role with erections and ejaculation. When you are sexually stimulated, the pelvic floor muscles activate to maintain penile rigidity and a skyward angling erection. These muscles are not only responsible for getting the stimulated penis from a tumescent state (plump with blood) to a bone-like rigid state, but also for maintaining that rigid state and for being the “motor” of ejaculation.

8. Stay active

Use it or lose it. You can help keep your penis in good shape by using it regularly as nature intended it to be used. Studies have clearly demonstrated that men who are more active sexually tend to have fewer problems with erections as they age.

9. Maintain healthy relationships

It takes two to tango, so relationship harmony factors strongly into good sexual functioning just as discord and interpersonal issues can profoundly contribute to sexual issues. The mind-body connection is of immense importance to sexual function.

10.  Preventive maintenance

 You bring your vehicle in regularly for oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and other means of preventing trouble, so do the same for your body with regular visits to your doctor to perform whatever tests are necessary to preempt issues before they become problematic. If you are having problems with your favorite organ, it is time to consult your friendly urologist.

Bottom Line: The Golden Rule of the Penis: “Do unto your penis as you would have your penis do unto you.”…In other words, treat your penis kindly and it will return the favor; treat your penis poorly and it will rebel.  First-line therapy for erectile dysfunction is lifestyle changes and a proactive approach will keep you functioning smoothly for many years.  

Q. What organ in the body when stimulated will change its size fourfold?

 A. The pupil of the eye will dilate from 2 millimeters in diameter in bright light to 8 millimeters in dark, as governed by the iris.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: Available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Sexual, Urinary and Pelvic Health.

Co-founder of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program.  Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: http://www.PrivateGym.com or available on Amazon

Mystique of the Pelvic Floor Muscles

January 17, 2015

Andrew Siegel, MD  1/17/15

The pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) are shrouded in secrecy, hidden, veiled, concealed and covert, unseen and behind the scenes, unrecognized and misunderstood. In the following few paragraphs, I  will attempt to demystify them. 

 

Perineal Muscles Male IC Female Perineum IC

The images above are of the male and female perineum, showcasing the all-important ischiocavernosus muscle, one of the PFMs that is vital to sexual function. (Thank you to 1909 Gray’s Anatomy for the images.)

 

Why Do We Exercise?

We are motivated to exercise for a variety of reasons. Some work out to optimize their physique and beach body (vanity motivation). Others exercise to feel well, to deal with stress, to keep their weight down and to maintain health and longevity (health motivation). Still others exercise for the pure fun, enjoyment and challenge of participating in sports (recreational motivation). Some partake for all of the above reasons. Unquestionably, then, on many levels it is desirable to be aerobically conditioned, flexible and have fit muscles.

Show Vs. Go Muscles

Regardless of the motivation for exercise, the goal is to obtain toned and performance-ready muscles. Our bodies are comprised of a variety of muscle types: There are the glamour, for show, mirror-appeal, overt, seen and be witnessed muscles that offer no secrets—what you see is what you get—the biceps, triceps, pectorals, lats, quads, etc. Then there are muscles including the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) that are shrouded in secrecy, hidden from view, veiled from sight, concealed and covert, unseen and behind the scenes, unrecognized and misunderstood.

Cloaking increases mystique, and so it is for these pelvic muscles, not only obscured from view by clothing, but also residing in that most curious of nether regions—the perineum—an area concealed from view even when we are unclothed. Furthermore, the mystique is contributed to by the mysterious powers of the PFM, which straddle the gamut of being vital for what may be considered the most pleasurable and refined of human pursuits—sex—but equally integral to what may be considered the basest of human activities—bowel and bladder function.

Tapping into and harnessing the energy of the muscles of the pelvic floor—those that favor function over form, go rather than show—is capable of providing the erotic capital that translates into sexual confidence.  It won’t give you George Clooney good looks, sex appeal and charm but it will help impart sexual fitness and competence.

Why Bother Exercising Muscles Of Function Vs. Form?

The core muscles—with the exception of the rectus (6-pack muscle)—are the muscles for “go,” the non-glitzy muscles of the body that are often ignored and disrespected, as opposed to the external glamour muscles. In general, muscles with mirror appeal are vital for movement function but are not important for many other body functions. Our core muscles are the hidden gems that work diligently behind the scenes and on a functional basis we would be much better off having a “chiseled” core as opposed to chiseled external muscles.”

The PFM are the floor of the core and seem to be the lowest caste of the core muscles; however, they deserve serious respect because although concealed from view they are responsible for some very powerful functions, particularly so when intensified by training. Although the PFM are not muscles of glamour, they are muscles of “amor.” Although having “ripped” external glamour muscles might help get your romance going, you will need to have a well-conditioned pelvic floor to keep it going!

The PFM are among the most versatile muscles in our body, contributing to the support of our pelvic organs, control of bladder and bowel, and sexual function. Unfortunately, because they are out of sight, they are often out of mind, and they are certainly muscles that you should be working out, but are probably not.

Why Did Willie Sutton Rob Banks?

He robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” When it comes to sexual function, urinary and bowel control and the support of your pelvic organs, the PFM are where the money is. Without them your organs would dangle out of your pelvis and you would be rendered limp and diapered.

Bottom Line: Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t important. You can’t see your heart and diaphragm muscles either, yet many of us are committed to exercise to improve and maintain cardio-vascular health. Your PFM are the “heart of your pelvis” and need to be exercised to improve and maintain pelvic health.

 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in your email in box go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: 

www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback:          

http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for men:

http://www.PrivateGym.com 

The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that provides the resources to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are vital to sexual and urinary health. The program builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized exercises for women to increase pelvic muscle strength and tone. This FDA registered program is effective, safe and easy-to-use. The “Basic Training” program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and the “Complete Program” provides maximal opportunity for gains through its patented resistance equipment.

Use Your X or Lose It

November 1, 2014

Andrew Siegel, MD

Use X or lose it…X can be anything–you fill in the blank–your muscles, your brain, your bones, your sexual function.

The cells and tissues of our bodies—including muscles, bones, brains, and every other organ—are endowed with a remarkable capacity for “plasticity,” the quality of being able to be shaped and molded in an adaptive response to the environment they are exposed to. What it comes down to is that our human body is an “adaptation machine.”   Our composition is “fluid” as opposed to “static,” and our tissues are constantly being remodeled, restructured and refashioned in adaptive responses that occur in accordance to the forces, stresses, resistances and demands placed upon them. This plasticity is an amazing phenomenon that can be tapped into by purposely challenging our tissues with the appropriate resistances to enable them to perform at extreme high levels of function.

Today’s blog is a discussion of use X or lose it in the context of male sexual function.

Hard Fact: If you go for too long without an erection, smooth muscle and other tissues within the penis may be damaged, resulting in a loss of penile length and girth and negatively affecting your ability to achieve an erection.

Your penis needs to be utilized the way nature intended, just like every other body component…and that means not just to direct your urinary stream with laser-like precision! Your penis is a marvel of engineering, uniquely capable of increasing its blood flow by a factor of 40-50 times over baseline, this surge of blood flow happening within seconds and accomplished by relaxation of the smooth muscle within your penile arteries and erectile tissues. When your penis is erect, not only is rigidity achieved, but the erection also serves to keep your penile muscles and tissues richly oxygenated, elastic and functioning well. The dramatic increase in penile blood flow that occurs with an erection enhances subsequent erectile performance via the release of nitric oxide, one of the important chemical mediators of erections.

In the absence of regular sexual activity, disuse atrophy (wasting away with a decline in anatomy and function) of your penile smooth muscle and erectile tissues can occur. In a vicious cycle, the poor blood flow resulting from lack of use produces a state of poor oxygen levels in the penile tissues, that, in turn, can induce scarring, which can further compound sexual dysfunction.

Scientific studies have found that sexual intercourse on a regular basis protects against ED and that the risk of ED is inversely related to the frequency of intercourse. Men reporting intercourse less than once weekly had a two fold higher incidence of ED as compared to men reporting intercourse once weekly.  (Am J Med 2008 July;121(7): 592-596).

Radical prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the prostate gland for treatment of prostate cancer, can cause penile shortening. The gap in the urethra (because of the removed prostate) is bridged by sewing the bladder neck to the urethral stump, with a consequent loss of length thought to be on the basis of a telescoping phenomenon. Erectile dysfunction associated with damage to the nerves that are responsible for erections further compounds the shortening by causing disuse atrophy and scarring. For this reason, getting back in the saddle as soon as possible after surgery will help “rehabilitate” the penis by preventing disuse atrophy.

A Few Words on Adaptation

Your muscles and other tissues are capable of hypertrophy (growth) or atrophy (shrinkage), depending upon the environment to which they are subject to. Exposure to a stimulating and active “environment” on a long-term basis can positively affect not only your external appearance, but also more importantly, your internal health. Conversely, exposure to a non-stimulating, sedentary environment on a long-term basis can negatively affect your external appearance and internal health.

Every cell, tissue and organ of your body is endowed with a remarkable capacity for “plasticity,” the quality of being able to be shaped and molded in an adaptive response to environmental changes. It deserves repeating that your body and its parts are “fluid” as opposed to “static” and are constantly being remodeled, restructured and refashioned in adaptive responses occurring in accordance to the forces, stresses, resistances and demands placed upon it.

Use It or Lose It

Our bodies demand physical activity in order to function optimally. For example, our bones require weight bearing and biomechanical stresses in order to stay well mineralized and in peak functional condition, as bone mineralization is stimulated by the stresses brought on by a variety of movements. The same holds true for every organ in our body—to maintain maximal functioning they need to be put into the service for which they were designed. As much as our bodies adapt positively to resistance, so they will adapt negatively to a lack of resistance. For example, after wearing a cast on one’s arm for 6 weeks, there is noticeable wasting of the arm muscles, nothing other than disuse atrophy. This phenomenon will occur to any body part not used in the manner for which it was designed.

Beyond Using It

The magic of plasticity and adaptability can be tapped into by challenging your body to adapt to resistances to enable it to perform at extreme levels of function. Exercise is about the adaptation—in neuromuscular, mechanical, and metabolic terms—to the specific demands that are placed on it. As your body is subjected to gradual and progressive “overload,” adaptation occurs and a “new normal” level of fitness is achieved.

Your pelvic floor muscles play an important role during erections, activating and engaging to help maintain penile rigidity and a skyward angling erection. There is good reason that the 1909 Gray’s Anatomy labeled one of the pelvic floor muscles the “erector penis.” Numerous studies have documented the benefits of male Kegel exercises in the management of ED.

Participating in a pelvic floor muscle training program can be a very useful tool to improve ED. It will sharpen your awareness of your pelvic floor muscles and enable you to isolate them and increase their strength, tone, and endurance. As your pelvic floor muscles become more robust, erections will improve accordingly. A comprehensive program such as the Private Gym includes a basic series of progressive male Kegel exercises without resistance followed by the use of resistance equipment to maximize pelvic floor muscle strengthening and performance. The pelvic muscles—like any other muscle in your body—will gradually and progressively adapt to the load placed upon them and will strengthen in accordance with the resistance.

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Elston Howard was a New York Yankee who invented the batting “donut,” a circular lead weight that slides onto baseball bats and is used by on-deck batters. This added weight during practice swings is useful for stretching, enhancing bat speed and strength training; additionally, it makes the bat feel very light once it comes time to step up to the plate and remove the weight. Howard employed the resistance principle to heighten power—use the weighted bat in practice and when it comes time to step up to the plate, you’re going to perform better.

 

batting donut on bat

 

This principle will work on your “bat,” too—utilize resistance training in practice and when it comes time to “step up to the plate,” you’re going to perform better. Resistance training turns conditioning into a weapon that is capable of producing “outstanding” erections, maximizing endurance, and  boosting one’s confidence.

Bottom line: You can lose it, maintain it, or optimize it by not using it, using it, or subjecting it to exercise and resistance training, respectively. You are bestowed with an amazing and magical capacity for plasticity and adaptation, which can be transformative when used to your advantage and benefit.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Note: As Arnold Kegel popularized pelvic floor muscle exercises in females in the late 1940’s, so I am working towards the goal of popularizing pelvic floor muscle exercises in males. This year I published a review article in the Gold Journal of Urology entitled Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Men: Practical Applications to disseminate the importance and applications of these exercises to my urology colleagues. I wrote Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health, a book intended to educate the non-medical population. I, along with my partner David Mandell and our superb pelvic floor team, co-created the Private Gym male pelvic floor exercise DVD and resistance program.

For more info on the book: www.MalePelvicFitness.com

For more info on the Private Gym: www.PrivateGym.com

 

Game Plan for Healthy Sexual Functioning

September 20, 2014

Andrew Siegel MD

shutterstock_side view manjpeg

Know the Fundamentals:

Erections are not on the basis of a bone in the penis as they are in many mammals. Erections occur when blood fills the erection chambers of the penis and is trapped in place. The blood pressure within the penis elevates so high that it is in hypertension range, giving rise to a bone-like rigidity and hence the slang term, boner.

The penis is a marvel of hydraulic engineering, uniquely capable of increasing its blood flow 50 times over baseline within nanoseconds of sexual stimulation, transforming its shape, size and constitution. This is accomplished by smooth muscle relaxation within the penile arteries and within the sinuses of the erection chambers.

Once the blood fills the erection chambers, closure of the penile veins and contractions of the pelvic floor muscles effectively trap the blood in the penis and maintain the high blood pressures necessary for a sustained erection.

Know the Statistics:

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study showed that after age 40 there is a decline in all aspects of sexuality. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is present in about 40% of men by age 40 with an increase in prevalence of about 10% for each decade thereafter. Although there are many causes of ED, the common denominator is insufficient blood flow to fill the erection chambers of the penis, or alternatively, sufficient inflow but poor venous trapping, both often caused by a decline in smooth muscle relaxation with aging. As one of my patients referred to his penis: “It’s like walking around with a dead fish.”

Know the Score:

Performance ability with any physical activity declines as we get older and this explains why most professional athletes are in their twenties or thirties. Although everything eventually goes to ground, hopefully it will do so slowly. Young men can achieve a rock-hard erection simply by seeing an attractive woman or thinking some vague sexual thought. As we get older, it is not uncommon for erotic thoughts or sights to no longer be enough to provoke an erection, with the need for direct touch. Some of the common male sexual changes that occur with aging are: diminished sex drive; decreased rigidity and durability of erections; decrease in volume, force, and trajectory of ejaculation; decreased orgasm intensity; and an increase in the time it will take for recovery before being able to get another erection.

Know the Opponents: Gluttony and Sloth:

 Healthy eating habits, exercise, adequate quality and quantity of sleep, tobacco avoidance, use of alcohol in moderation, stress avoidance, and a balanced lifestyle will optimize sexual potential. Abide by the “Golden Rule of the Penis”: Treat your penis nicely and it will be nice to you in return; treat your penis poorly and it will rebel.

Fuel for Performance:

A healthy diet will reduce the risk of sexual dysfunction. Eat a variety of wholesome natural foods including fresh vegetables and fruit, plenty of fiber, lean protein sources, legumes and healthy fats including nuts, avocados and olive oil. Avoid eating processed foods and minimize sugar, refined carbohydrates and highly saturated animal fats.

Stay in Peak Form:

Try to achieve “fighting weight” to maximize your performance in the sexual arena.

Train for Performance:

Exercising—including cardio, core, and strength training—is vital for health in general and sexual health in particular. When it comes to sexual health, it is vital to focus on the all-important pelvic floor muscles (PFM). PFMT (pelvic floor muscle training) will help optimize erectile function and prevent/treat ED.

To understand why PFMT can help your performance in the bedroom, it is necessary to have some understanding of what the PFM do. When you have an erection, the bulbocavernosus muscle and ischiocavernosus muscles engage. Contractions of these muscles not only help prevent the exit of blood from the penis, enhancing rigidity, but also increase blood flow to the penis—with each contraction of these muscles, a surge of blood flows into the penis. Additionally, they act as powerful struts to support the roots of the penis (like the roots of a tree), the foundational support that, when robust, will allow a more “skyward” angling erection (like the trunk of a tree). The bulbocavernosus muscle also serves the role as “motor” of ejaculation, pushing semen out of the urethra when it contracts rhythmically at the time of sexual climax.

If you increase the strength, tone and condition of these muscles through PFMT, they will function in an enhanced manner—namely more powerful contractions with more penile rigidity and stamina as well as improving ejaculatory issues including premature ejaculation.

The Private Gym www.PrivateGym.com is a comprehensive, interactive, easy-to-use, medically sanctioned and FDA registered follow-along exercise program that helps men strengthen the PFM. The PFM—as with all skeletal muscles—adapt and increase in strength in direct proportion to the demands placed upon them, enhancing their strength, tone, durability and responsiveness.

The Basic Training exercise program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and The Complete Training program provides the maximum opportunity for gains through its use of the Private Gym’s resistance equipment. Think of the Private Gym as “Penis 90X.”

For great content on exercises to improve your sex life, see slide show written by Lisa Jey Davis for LiveStrong: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011170-14-exercises-man-should-improve-his-sex-life/

Talk to your Private Gym Coach:

Go to the Private Gym website: www.PrivateGym.com where you can have a private chat session with a trainer.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Private Gym: http://www.PrivateGym.com

 

Exercise Your Penis…REALLY?

September 2, 2014

Andrew Siegel M.D.   Blog # 170

 

Your penis is an organ that wears many hats. It directs your urinary stream with sometimes laser-like precision (although this precision goes to pot as you age); when erect it allows for vaginal penetration; and at the time of climax, it permits passage of sperm to reproduce the species. Pretty remarkable in terms of its multi-functionality and handiness, similar to a Swiss Army knife, but really so much better! In terms of sexuality and fertility, the ability to achieve an erection is a must, and this is predicated on an adequate penile blood flow, which is the “rocket fuel” of penile erections.

Your ability to obtain penile rigidity is a matter of hydraulics—maximizing inflow of blood while minimizing outflow. I need to get a bit medical to explain this: Your penis contains 3 erection chambers that fill with blood. They are composed of sinuses, virtually identical to our nasal sinuses, and an erection occurs when the sinuses become congested with blood. Blood inflow is caused by smooth muscle relaxation in the penile arteries and in the sinuses. As the sinuses fill up, they compress the penile veins to block the outflow of blood. And hence you have a tumescent penis, plump, but not yet rigid.

So how do you go from plump to rigid? The pelvic floor muscles are the key players in the transformation from a tumescent penis to a rigid penis. They compress the deep, inner part of your penis, creating rigidity by aiding closure of veins and by elevating the blood pressure within your penis so that it is well above systolic blood pressure. An erect penis is a hypertensive penis (really a very good thing), and it is this tremendous pressure that causes bone-like rigidity. If this penile blood pressure at the time of a rigid erection were experienced in the arteries of your body, it would be considered a hypertensive crisis! So, the only organ in the body in which high blood pressure is not only healthy, but also desirable, is your penis.

With aging, the smooth muscle of all of our arteries tends to become stiffer and less able to relax, resulting in high blood pressure (a very bad thing) for many of us. The penis is not spared, as the smooth muscle of the penile arteries and sinuses stiffens and is less able to relax. Unfortunately, stiff smooth muscle in the penis does not lead to a stiff penis…in fact, quite the opposite. Additionally, our pelvic floor muscles weaken with age, like many of our skeletal muscles. Between the smooth muscle stiffening and the weakened pelvic floor muscles, we have the perfect storm for ED.

Where are your pelvic floor muscles? They are located between the scrotal sac and the anus, the saddle region where your body is in contact with a bicycle seat. In the 1940s, gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel popularized pelvic floor muscle exercises (“Kegels”) in women to improve their sexual and urinary health. Men have similar pelvic floor muscles and an equivalent capacity for exercising them, with parallel benefits to sexual and urinary health. It’s high time that we demand equal pelvic rights!

Male pelvic floor muscle exercises date back to ancient times, having been described in ancient Greece and Rome by Hippocrates and Galen respectively. Performed in the baths and gymnasiums, these exercises were thought to promote general and sexual health, spirituality and longevity.

Most men are unfamiliar with pelvic floor muscles exercises, let alone with their pelvic floor muscles. Unfortunately, many physicians are not very knowledgeable regarding the pelvic floor and the benefits of fitness in this area, and do not see themselves as instructors of pelvic floor muscle training. Regrettably, our medical culture—heavy on prescription writing and surgery—does not typically promote lifestyle improvement and exercise programs such as pelvic floor training. I would like to explain to you why such exercises are well worth your time and effort.

There is exercise and then there is EXERCISE; for example, there is walking (moving is good) and then there is running with interval training (a great workout). When it comes to exercising your skeletal muscles, using resistance training—working against an opposing force—stresses your muscles to enhance strength, tone, power, durability and responsiveness. By gradually and progressively overloading the muscles working against the resistance, they will adapt by getting bigger and stronger. Imagine repetitively doing arm curls without weights as compared to doing curls with weights, in which case the added resistance will rapidly and effectively create muscle growth and accelerated strength.

Kegels 101 involves repetitions of pelvic floor contractions without resistance. How do you accelerate to Kegels 401—pelvic floor muscles with resistance? Dr. Kegel designed a resistance device for women called a “perineometer” that was inserted into the vagina to provide a means of squeezing against something and a way to measure the strength of the squeeze. Men don’t have a vagina, but they do have a rectum, and one way to do resistance training is to use a perineometer placed in the rectum. Not a very appetizing thought though, is it?

Remember that your pelvic floor muscles engage when you have an erection. When you contract these muscles, your penis magically lifts up towards the heavens with each contraction. Since the pelvic floor muscles govern this upward deflection, they can be challenged to lift up more than just the weight of your penis.

And thus was born the concept of the Private Gym resistance workout for men. Whereas the Private Gym’s Basic Training program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive male Kegel exercises without resistance.

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The Resistance Program uses resistance equipment to maximize pelvic floor muscle strengthening. The equipment consists of an ergonomic weighted base and magnetic weights that attach to the base. It is placed on your erect penis, which is raised up and down by contracting the pelvic floor muscles in accordance with the follow-along DVD program, subjecting the pelvic floor muscles to resistance. Your muscles will gradually and progressively adapt to the load placed upon them and will strengthen in accordance with the resistance

 

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When one first hears about progressive resistance training for the penis, their reflex reaction is often: Are you kidding? Really? Seriously? REALLY? Weights for the penis? You must be joking! No way. When Dr. Arnold Kegel in the late 1940’s first proposed his concept of the perineometer that gets placed in the vagina in order to do progressive resistance exercises, he likely received many similar responses from both his patients as well as his medical colleagues. What, shove that up my vagina and squeeze? And this was the 1940’s, decades before the sexual revolution!

If one can discard their conservative prejudices and carefully consider the principle of resistance training for skeletal muscle adaptation, they will realize that resistance training for the pelvic muscles is no different than resistance training for any other skeletal muscle, a bona fide means of creating strength and endurance. Resistance training is a “boner-fide” (sorry—I couldn’t help myself) means of maximizing your pelvic floor muscle growth.

In terms of resistance training of the penis, the Private Gym clearly is superior and more user friendly and less invasive than using a rectal resistance device, with the limitation that it can only be used in those men who can obtain a sufficiently rigid erection, whether naturally, or with the help of pills such as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and Stendra.

The Private Gym Company was established after recognizing that there was an unmet need for a means by which a pelvic floor muscle-conditioning program could be made accessible and available in the home setting. The premise behind the Private Gym is to help achieve pelvic floor fitness and optimize sexual and urinary health.

Adaptation of skeletal muscle is an accepted scientific precept and if you have ever had your arm or leg in a cast, you can understand the detrimental effect of disuse on muscle tone and strength. The corollary is that if you have ever done weight training, you understand the beneficial effect of resistance training on muscle tone and strength.

Elston Howard was a New York Yankee who invented the batting “donut,” a circular lead weight that slides onto baseball bats and is used by on-deck batters. This added weight during practice swings makes the bat feel very light once it comes time to step up to the plate and remove the weight. Howard employed the resistance principle to heighten power—use the weighted bat in practice and when it comes time to step up to the plate, you’re going to perform better. This principle will work on your “bat,” too—utilize resistance training in practice and when it comes time to “step up to the plate,” you’re going to perform better. The Private Gym resistance turns conditioning into a weapon that is capable of producing “outstanding” erections, maximizing stamina, and tremendously boosting one’s confidence.

Bottom Line: Resistance training is utilized for creating strength and endurance for every group of skeletal muscles in the body, and the pelvic floor muscles should be no exception. The pelvic floor muscles are skeletal muscles and, just like the biceps and pectorals, they will adapt in a positive way to the resistance (load) placed upon them.

 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Private Gym: http://www.PrivateGym.com

10 Things You Can Do To Prevent a Limp Penis

August 19, 2014

Andrew Siegel MD Blog # 168

It’s great to have a penis…so handy, convenient and multifunctional! As many an older man will attest to, even when erections become mere memories, the penis will still allow you to stand up to urinate—an absolute joy—and a distinct competitive advantage over the female gender. To borrow from a cartoon by an artist named Collins, “Men have elevated peeing to an art form best expressed perhaps on a snowy landscape, a wall or a steam grate. Superior pressure control and the multidirectional penis make the men the masters of urination. Women on the other hand with their small bladders and clumsy apparatus find it very difficult to pee without creating a frightful mess…no precision accuracy here.” As fabulous as it is having a “spigot” for controlled urination, it is even better when you can maintain “penis magic” to old age and observe the transformative process by which the limp penis alters its shape, size and constitution in nanoseconds, rising in defiance of gravity to majestic rigidity.

Our ability to perform physically—in any domain—declines as we get age, explaining why most professional athletes are in their twenties or thirties. In terms of sexual function, when you were young you could achieve a rock-hard erection simply by seeing an attractive woman or thinking a sexual thought. As the years go by, erotic thoughts or sights are no longer enough, as you need direct touch and stimulation. Your sexual interest can skid and your erections may become softer and less durable with less intense orgasms and meager, dribbling-quality ejaculation. When you were young, you could get a second erection with a short recovery time (refractory period) but as you get older, refractory period may be days in length.

What to do? Should you be reactive and wait for your sex life to go south or should you take measures to ensure your continuing sexual health? Why not take a proactive approach? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings very true for nearly all health issues, and so it does when it comes to sexual function.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight If you are overweight, you are more likely to have fatty plaque deposits, which clog up your blood vessels, including the artery to the penis. Abdominal fat converts your male hormone testosterone to the female hormone estrogen, literally emasculating you and causing development of man boobs.  Obesity steals away your manhood, male athletic form and body composition, mojo, strength, and one of your most precious resources—the ability to obtain and maintain a good-quality erection.
  1. Eat Healthy Fueling with nutritionally wholesome and natural foods will help you prevent the build-up of harmful plaque deposits within your blood vessels that compromises blood flow to the penis. Poor dietary choices with meals that are calorie-laden, nutritionally-empty selections (e.g., fast, processed, or refined foods) puts you on the fast tract to clogged arteries that can make your sexual function as small as your belly is big.
  1. Minimize Stress Stress causes the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline narrows blood vessels, which has a negative effect on erections. If you ever have experienced performance anxiety it was because of adrenaline release in response to nervousness. Excessive cortisol secretion, which helps drives your appetite, causes the accumulation of the bad belly fat (as opposed to fat under the skin).

 

  1. Eliminate Tobacco Tobacco narrows your blood vessels, impairs blood flow, decreases the supply of oxygen, and also promotes inflammation, compromising every organ in your body.
  1. Alcohol in Moderation In small amounts, alcohol can alleviate anxiety and act as a vasodilator (increasing blood flow) and can actually improve erectile function, but in large amounts it can be a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction. Everything in moderation!

 

  1. Sleep Well Sleeping has a vitally important restorative function as your brain and body requires this important down time. During sleep, there is an increased rate of tissue growth and synthesis, and a decreased rate of tissue breakdown. Sleep deprivation causes a disruption in endocrine, metabolic, and immune function, resulting in decreased levels of leptin (your appetite suppressant), increased ghrelin levels (your appetite stimulant), increased cortisol, and increased glucose levels (higher amounts of sugar in the bloodstream). If you are exhausted, your penis is going to be weary as well.

 

  1. Exercise Exercise can have an amazingly positive effect on your sexual function through stress busting, mood improvement, fatigue reduction, increase of energy and better quality sleep. Long term it will reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis, chronic medical problems, and physical disability. Let’s not forget improvement in muscular strength and tone, reduction of body fat and help with weight control. Exercise makes your heart a better and stronger pump, your blood vessels more elastic, and your muscles better able at using oxygen. Exercises that work out the muscles involved in sex—the core muscles, the external rotators of the hip, and the all-important pelvic floor muscles—will improve your performance.B e careful with saddle sports like cycling and horseback riding, which may contribute to sexual dysfunction, particularly for those who spend prolonged time the saddle. This can cause compression damage to that very valuable human real estate located between your scrotum and anus that contains the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that are vital to your sexual health. 

 

  1. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role with respect to both erections and ejaculation. When you are sexually stimulated, the pelvic floor muscles activate and engage to help maintain penile rigidity and a skyward angling erection. These muscles are not only responsible for getting the stimulated penis from a tumescent state (plump with blood) to a state of bone-like rigidity, but also for maintaining that rigid state and for being the “motor” of ejaculation. Numerous scientific studies have documented the benefits of pelvic exercises (Kegels) in the management of erectile dysfunction. The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that helps men strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support sexual health.It is the first line of defense against the onset of erectile dysfunction and can assist in reversing its occurrence. It is a safe, easy-to-use, natural, medically sanctioned and FDA registered means of targeting and strengthening the all-important pelvic floor muscles.

 

  1. Use It (or Lose It) Keep your penis fit by using it regularly for the purpose it was designed for—in other words, stay sexually active! Scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that men who are more sexually active tend to have fewer problems with erectile dysfunction as they age.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Relationship It takes two to tango, so relationship harmony factors strongly into good sexual functioning just as discord and interpersonal issues can profoundly contribute to ED. The mind-body connection is of immense importance to sexual function and the “big head” is equally important to the “little head.”

Bottom Line: The “Golden Rule of the Penis”: Treat your penis kindly (in terms of a healthy lifestyle) and it will return the favor; treat your penis poorly and it will rebel. The proactive approach will keep you functioning smoothly for many years, and hopefully will keep you out of my office for erection issues, although please don’t forget to get your prostate and PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) checked!

 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: healthdoc13.wordpress.com

Author of: Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health; available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback: MalePelvicFitness.com

Private Gym website for pelvic floor instructional DVD and resistance training equipment: http://www.PrivateGym.com