For men, the health benefits of cycling may involve a problematic trade-off. While riding a bicycle burns calories and enhances cardiovascular physical fitness, a lot of hours on a bicycle saddle can compress the artery and important nerves leading to the penis.
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What Are Side Effects of Riding a Bicycle?
Does long bike rides or riding stationary bike as part of daily exercises have side effects for men’s health? Let’s talk about it. A male bicyclist can place a substantial portion of his weight on his perineum, an area between the scrotum and the rectum where the nerves and arteries to the penis pass. This pressure– and a slim saddle seat– can injure the arteries and nerves.
The result? A risk of numbness, pain, and erectile dysfunction.
“The earliest warning sign is numbness or tingling,” states Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine.
Even a young man might lose the capability to achieve an erection, states Goldstein, who originated an operation that restores blood flow and sexual strength in 65% -75% of cases.
How much riding does it take to put a man at risk? The Massachusetts Male Aging Study discovered that the risk was greatest amongst men who cycled more than three hours a week.
The ‘No-Nose’ Seat on Bicycle and Erectile Dysfunction
Goldstein encourages men to sit upright when they ride and replace the traditional bicycle encumber a “no-nose” seat that redistributes a man’s weight to the sit bones of the buttocks.
Serious cyclists who lean forward in a racing position when they ride claim they need the nose to accomplish more power and control.
“I don’t believe you can be a competitive rider and be safeguarded from impotence,” states Goldstein. “They need that nose in between their thighs, and that produces nerve and artery compression.”
The proof that riding a bicycle can be dangerous to men is extremely convincing, but it should be kept in point of view, states John M. Martinez, MD.
“If someone comes in and states, ‘Should I not cycle because of the danger of erectile dysfunction?’ I say, ‘You have a 50% chance of developing and passing away from heart disease, so your main focus must be workout and diet– the two primary parts of combating heart disease and ED,'” states Martinez, a medical care sports medicine physician and the medical director at Coastal Sports and Wellness Center, San Diego.
“I would not inform anyone to quit biking due to the fact that of worry of ED. If there is ED from biking, it’s almost always temporary and reversible. Other causes of ED, such as hypertension and diabetes– the No. 1and No. 2 causes of ED– tend to be relatively long-term. If there are problems, they’re typically treatable with appropriate bike fit and bike seat choice.”
A proper-fitting bike can help prevent these injuries; proper frame size, handlebar height, and seat position are all important. A rider might think about altering the angle of the seat, which ought to be angled parallel to the ground or a little forward, to help reduce pressure on the perineum. Wider seats or those developed with a central cutout likewise help in reducing perineal pressure and can help rearrange weight.
A change in riding style might also help in reducing pressure. Basing on the pedals during long rides can avoid pressure and help re-establish blood circulation.
Side Effects of Riding Police Bikes
Some new saddle designs take the weight off the perineum, according to Steven Schrader, PhD, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). Schrader triggered an explosion of research on the link in between cycling and ED in 2002 when he released a research study including members of a cops bike patrol. He discovered that the more hours the officers spent in the saddle, the more likely they were to experience a decrease in the quality of nighttime erections.
All this research spurred the development of numerous no-nose bicycle seats, and Schrader has tested numerous.
“We hired law enforcement officer and provided them no-nose seats to use for six months,” Schrader states. “We’re still doing information analysis, but the striking thing is that of the 91 men who finished the study, just three had actually gone back to a conventional saddle. When we returned and found those 3 men, two of them said their saddle had broken and they wanted a brand-new one. Just one stated he didn’t like it.”
No-nose seats have a wide back that disperses the rider’s weight on his sit bones on the buttocks. One study in Germany found that oxygen levels in blood circulation to the penis dropped by only about 20% when riders were on a no-nose seat. A conventional bike saddle reduces oxygen in blood flow by around 80%.
Does Grooved Seat on Bike Good for Men Health?
Bike saddles that feature a groove down the middle or holes in the center to minimize pressure can actually make the issue even worse by increasing pressure on either side of the groove.
“They feel much better,” Schrader said of the grooved seats. “With the conventional saddle you’re resting on your internal penis. You can feel it. When it drops into the groove it feels much better, but if you’re increasing the pressure on either side, you’re still compressing the artery and the nerves. The broader the seat, the farther back you sit, the better off you’re going to be.”
The problem affects women too, although not as notably. Schrader recently took part in a study that found the genitalia of competitive female bicyclists were desensitized by long hours of riding.
“Some gynecologists state it doesn’t hurt their sex life so who cares,” Schrader states, “but I state if they’re triggering physiologic damage, that need to be a concern.”
Cycling has been prevalent for well over a century. Yet the relationship to ED wasn’t commonly noticed up until 1997 when Ed Pavelka, former executive editor of Bicycling magazine, acknowledged his own erectile difficulties after a year of high-mileage cycling.
Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Cycling Recovery Time
Why did it take so long for this problem to come to light?
Actually, it didn’t. “Cyclists were discussing numbness in the groin as far back as the 1890s,” says Schrader. “Ads used to state that this bicycle saddle is the only one that doesn’t cause permanent damage. This has been found out about for a long period of time.”
After Pavelka brought the issue to spotlight, research has consistently supported the connection between biking and ED. Yet in spite of sufficient research showing that a conventional bike seat and inappropriate cycling position can reduce blood flow and compress nerves, some cycling lovers continue to argue that the health advantages of bike riding outweigh the risks of ED.
However Schrader competes that proof to the contrary is overwhelming. True, not every man who rides a bike will experience a problem. “One would not anticipate that every bicyclist would deal with ED any more than one would anticipate every cigarette smoker would get lung cancer,” he wrote in a recent editorial in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. However, the time has actually pertained to establish effective strategies to reduce this danger. “The health take advantage of having unrestricted vascular flow to and from the penis are self-evident,” he states.