When men exercise, their penises and testicles may become temporarily smaller. It’s less of a cruel joke and more of a short-term physiological effect—and while it may not make locker rooms any more comfortable, it’s nothing to be concerned about.
“It all has to do with blood flow,” Dr. Richard Honaker, a physician and chief medical officer at Your Doctors Online, told Fatherly. “When working out, the body sends blood to the muscles and joints, thus reducing the amount to the penis and scrotum.”
“There is nothing to worry about and nothing to do to prevent it.”
Now, news that exercise temporarily shrinks your package should not incentivize a sedentary lifestyle—and that’s not just because your overall health should be a greater priority than the size of your penis. Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a urologist and professor at University of Central Florida College of Medicine, explains that men who do not exercise tend to develop a fat pad over their penises. That can take years of hard work to get rid of—far longer to get rid of than any residual loss of length, due to vigorous exercise.
“I always tell my patients that, for every 10 pounds you lose, you could see another inch of your penis,” Brahmbhatt told Fatherly. Honaker agrees. “It is more important to exercise regularly than to worry about a temporary loss of penis size,” he says.
The more fit men are, the more efficiently blood moves throughout their bodies, the less they’ll notice any changes in size as a result of healthy physical activity, Brahmbhatt adds. So if your dick is shrinking during workouts, it might be a sign that you’re not hitting the gym often enough. And for men who work out regularly and still experience a slight shift, what they lose in temporary size, they gain in stamina and cardiovascular health.
“The stronger your heart, the stronger your erections,” Brahmbhatt says.