Cycling is among the most popular types of exercise in the UK. Although the health benefits of exercising are stressed frequently in studies and health articles, the side effects that a certain type of exercise might have are not a usually discussable matter. The latter might be due to the repeatedly impulse from the press to exercise as much as we can. However, as the ancient philosopher Aristotle believed “you need to do everything with moderation”. Indeed, is has been indicated that exercising a lot might not have only benefits. On the contrary, it might have some bad effects on your health.
The authors of an observational study, which was conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of University College London, hypothesized an association between weekly cycling volume and genitourinary problems, including erectile dysfunction, infertility, and prostate cancer, based on past studies¹ which have showed that urogenital problems are common in cyclists due to the compression these organs receive during cycling. Furthermore, several other studies have observed a relation between cycling and the development of erectile dysfunction².
Consequently, the authors’ aim was to examine these indications by analysing the data of 5,282 male cyclists. The participants’ age ranged from 16 to 88 years old, while the researchers took under consideration their full medical history.
The results of the study showed that weekly cycling duration was not associated with ED or infertility. However, an association between cycling time and prostate cancer was demonstrated, which was particularly marked in participants cycling over 8.5 hours/week. The latter is not strange if you think of the structure of the perineum, which contains the prostate gland and permits transit of many important neurovascular structures that supply the penis. It is also well known that even tight clothes, such as skinny jeans, can cause a number of urogenital problems such as twisted testicles and urinary tract infections³. Consequently, repeated compression of these organs could have bad effects.
The authors concluded that more research needs to be done in order these findings to be confirmed. However, the “Cycling for Health UK” study is, to date, the biggest study focusing on the health of cyclists and on the possible effects cycling might have on andrological issues.
Original article: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1447035/
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