erectile-dysfunction-300x199Yep that’s right….we are going to talk about Erectile Dysfunction today. It may seem a little strange, but this is a serious issue I have been wanting to write about for awhile now! So, learn why you need to get fit to get it up!

In the fitness industry, we often refer to “E.D.” aka Erectile Dysfunction as Early Death aka “E.D”.

Although there are many causes for Erectile Dysfunction, it definitely indicates something is wrong and in many situations, can be a symptom of some other very serious health issues.

If all the equipment is working correctly, when a guy gets turned on, his brain will send a message through the nervous system down the spinal cord to his penis. This message will result in a dilation of his blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely into the penis causing the penis to become hard and ready for sexual intercourse.

A number of issues can negatively affect the process and a man’s ability to be ready for intercourse:

Reduced Libido

First, there could be issues with sexual arousal and a reduced libido. This can surface due to depression, stress, anxiety of other mental health issues.  And obviously, if there are relationship problems, it may reduce a man’s ability to become sexually excited for his partner.

Impaired Blood Flow

Second, since an erection requires strong blood flow, any issues that have compromised the blood vessels and the flow of blood in the body can negatively affect the ability or strength of an erection.  For example, any form of cardiovascular disease can compromise a man’s ability to form an erection including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessels (Atherosclerosis), obesity, and metabolic syndrome. These are some of the most common causes of E.D.

Nervous System Issues

Third, an erection cannot occur without a message from the nervous system so any issues that have affected the strength of the message from the brain to the penis can cause erectile dysfunction. For example, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s can lead to Erectile Dysfunction.

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Can negatively affect your blood vessels and nervous system and can lead to E.D.


A man’s sex drive is fueled by Testosterone and other hormones so any hormonal imbalance can reduce a man’s sexual appetite.

Surgery, Medication & Drugs

Certain surgeries or injury that have affected the pelvis area and spinal cord and medications, and drug, cigarettes or alcohol abuse can negatively affect blood vessels and blood flow.

Low Fitness Level

Low fitness levels can stifle your energy and dampen your sex drive as well as cause many of the lifestyle-related diseases listed above.

Sleep Issues

If you are not sleeping well, your energy levels can be affected and your desire for sexual intercourse can be reduced.

And often, a vicious cycle with erectile dysfunction can surface. For example, you might have experienced a minor condition that reduces your ability to achieve or maintain an erection and that can cause anxiety or depression. And then this anxiety and/or depression can worsen the issue causing you stress and lack of sleep which can make E.D. even worse.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t expect any of you to override any of your physician’s advice and in fact, if you are having issues with your ability to gain an erection, please go see your doctor immediately! But when I review this list, it seems so obvious to me that most of these causes of Erectile Dysfunction can either be positively or negatively affected by your lifestyle choices. If I was a guy and someone told me that if you don’t take care of yourself, exercise and eat well, you may lose your ability to have sex, I would probably listen up real close! Guys typically love sex, right?!  So wouldn’t this be an incredibly motivating, compelling reason to start taking action towards your fitness goals? Perhaps that should be the new motto for the fitness industry that actually resonates with guys– Get Fit & Have Sex.

So guys, if you can’t get it up, get it up off the couch!!!

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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