Men with weak heart muscles reported marked improvements in their sex lives after bicycling three times a week for eight weeks, according to a study led by Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of the Lancisi Heart Institute in Ancona, Italy. Dr. Belardinelli reported his findings November 12 at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim, CA. "It's a simple exercise you can use to improve your sexual function,' he said. The Associated Press reported on the findings. Belardinelli's study focused on how aerobic exercise, frequently prescribed to strengthen the cardiovascular system in heart failure patients, could improve sexual performance. He and his colleagues had 30 men bicycle under careful monitoring at a moderate intensity. Another 29 men did not exercise and served as a comparison group. The bicycling patients' ability to use oxygen rose as a result of the exercise and they had improved blood flow. The control group did not have these improvements. Belardinelli believes aerobic exercise can help men taking certain heart medications who can't take Viagra because mixing the two can be fatal. The men and their sex partners responded to questionnaires to assess their sexual ability. Results from the men and the women were compared to make sure the men were telling the truth. "I don't know in Americans, but you know Italians are famous to be great lovers, so they can lie and say, 'I am great and no problems,'" Belardinelli said. "But in reality they have a big problem and don't admit it." The compared answers showed that the men who exercised had improved sexual performance and quality time with their sex partners. Belardinelli feels the results of aerobic exercise are comparable to those of Viagra, because both widen blood vessels. Other experts thought different benefits of exercise could lead to the improvement in sexual function. "Exercise is associated with decreases in depression and a whole lot of other things that may affect sexual function,' said Dr. Nanette Wenger of Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Mike Sweeney, urology group leader at Pfizer Inc., maker of Viagra, said exercising, quitting smoking and losing weight can lead to sex improvements for anyone, not just people who can't take Viagra.