Interestingly, high intensity cyclists had overall better erectile function scores than low intensity cyclists.
A University of California study reveals that men's sexual health is not affected by intense cycling. The research also took into account cycling intensity, bicycle and saddle configuration, and even road conditions. "We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks".
Comparative studyAccording to Benjamin Breyer, Professor at the University of California in San Francisco, the results are hugely encouraging.
Athletes were divided into two groups: high-intensity cyclists, meaning riding more than two years, more than three times per week and averaging 25 miles per day and low-intensity cyclists meaning the athletes fell below that criteria.
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For the study the team recruited 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers, and 789 runners and asked participants to complete validated questionnaires about sexual health and urinary tract infections (UTIs) and answer questions on genital numbness, saddle sores, and urethral strictures, which is when a scar from swelling, injury or infection blocks or slows the flow of urine in the urethra.
In general, when compared to swimmers and runners, cyclists' sexual and urinary health was comparable, although some cyclists were more prone to urethral strictures.
Standing more than 20% of the time while cycling significantly reduced the odds of genital numbness, but adjusting handlebar height lower than the saddle height did increase the likelihood of genital numbness and saddle sores, the researchers said.
However, no other bicycle nor road characteristics were found to have a negative impact on cyclists.
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However, lowering the handlebar below the seat did cause cyclists to experience numbness and soreness while riding.
"The comparison across athletes sampled in a similar way with validated instruments is what this study adds to the literature", said Breyer. "We're looking more closely at those who reported numbness to see if this is a predictor for future problems".
The findings can be found published online in The Journal of Urology.
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