New York, Jan 12 (IANS) Cycling, a popular choice of transportation, exercise, and leisure, may not be harmful for the sexual health and urinary function of males, finds a study.
Challenging previous theories which contended that cycling may harm men's sexual health, the new study showed that the benefits to cycling "far outweigh the risks" and instead provides cardiovascular benefits.
When compared to swimmers and runners, high intensity cyclists' had better erectile function scores, it said.
Researchers also said that neither bicycle nor road characteristics appeared to have a negative impact on cyclists.
Standing more than 20 per cent 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.
"We believe the results will be encouraging for cyclists. Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints. We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks," said Benjamin Breyer, Professor at the University of California in San Francisco.
For the study, published in the Journal of Urology, the team studied over three groups of athletes - 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers, and 789 runners, questioning them on urinary tract infections (UTIs), urethral strictures, genital numbness, and saddle sores.
Cyclists consisted of high-intensity exercise group, while the runners and swimmers were included in the low intensity group or the once who do not cycle on a regular basis.
"This is the largest comparative study to date, exploring the associations of cycling, bike and road characteristics with sexual and urinary function using validated questionnaires," Breyer said
Previous studies have suggested that cycling can be one of the easiest ways to stay fit. Besides controlling your weight, it can also reduce depression, stress and anxiety.