Too much intense exercise can cause low libido in men, study finds

Men who exercise with high-intensity workouts on a regular basis tend to have lower libidos than those who follow lower-intensity workout regimes, a new study found.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill surveyed 1,100 men over the age of 18 about their exercise habits and sexual history, including sexual activity, arousal, desire, attractions, fantasies, appetite and more.

The men who were surveyed were runners, cyclists or amateur endurance athletes. They were then divided into groups of short and long workouts, as well as light, moderate or intense regimes.

Their sexual appetite was also divided into high, moderate or low libidos.

After poring over the results, researchers concluded many of the men reporting low sex drive were too tired to have sex or had just become uninterested.

They also found that men who exercise for shorter periods of time wanted more sex.

This finding prompted the study’s author to make a recommendation to fertility specialists.

“Clinicians who treat male patients for sexual disorder and, or counsel couples on infertility issues should consider the degree of endurance exercise training a man is performing as a potential complicating factor,” the authors write.

However, a 2012 report by the Endocrine Society found that the libido in middle-aged, overweight men with pre-diabetes can be improved by losing weight.

According to those researchers, weight loss can reduce the instances of low testosterone levels in these men by almost 50 per cent.

“Doctors should first encourage overweight men with low testosterone levels to try to lose weight through diet and exercise before resorting to testosterone therapy to raise their hormone levels,” co-author Dr. Frances Hayes said to Science Daily.

“Losing weight not only reduces the risk or pre-diabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase their body’s production of testosterone.”

Other factors that could decrease men’s sex drive include aging, depression, stress, high blood pressure, an underlying medical condition, a decrease in male sex hormones due to an endocrine disorder or a medication side effect, the Mayo Clinic says.

Should there be concern about the loss of one’s sex drive, it is recommended that professional medical help be sought. Once the underlying cause is identified, the physician will determine the appropriate type of treatment.

A 2009 survey by Consumer Reports found that there were six reasons why people, in general, opted out of sex. According to the results, the No. 1 reason was that they were too tired or needed more sleep (53 per cent). This was followed by not feeling well or having health problems (49 per cent), not being in the mood (40 per cent), taking care of children or pets (30 per cent), work (29 per cent) and opting to watching TV or a movie (19 per cent).