As a personal trainer, I shouldn’t be raising any eyebrows too far when I say that exercise is not only a well-documented means of building or maintaining muscle and losing fat, but did you know that it can also revitalize your sex life? Physical training has tons of benefits and now here’s another to add to the list. So folks, if you needed more motivation, here it is:
Exercise your way to a better sex life
by Nicole Yamanaka and LaBri Krahn
Researchers have found that sexual dysfunction is more likely among those with poor physical health and poor emotional health. Sexual function is affected by general health, and the more you can do to improve your health by taking good care of yourself, the better your sex life can be. Why is this true, you ask?
Exercise makes you feel sexy
First and most obvious is that when you feel great IN your body, feel strong and are conscientiously developing a healthy self-image, you can’t help but begin to FEEL sexy. Sure, everyone can find personal body bits to critique and complain about, but the overall improvement with your comfort with your body creates a more relaxed attitude towards sex. And when you relax, everything seems to flow better and when it comes to sex, we want flow! I have had many clients share with me how much more confident they are about their bodies and it has positively impacted their sex lives. Want statistics? Studies show that more physically fit men and women rated their sexual desirability as higher, compared to less active men and women of the same age group. 80% of men and 60% of women that exercised two to three times per week rated their sexual desirability as ABOVE average. The best part is, the more days per week they exercised, their self rating went up!
Say, I’ve got a spot open on Tuesday for a training session….
Exercise Improves Sexual Performance
So I can’t speak for myself (I’m Asian, we have hang ups over discussing sex-stuff in public… okay maybe it’s just me), I’m happy to report that ANOTHER study showed that fitter individuals also rated their own sexual performance higher. There are a number of possible physiological reasons for this, such as increased circulation and blood flow.
Here’s my contribution, from a purely kinesiological standpoint:
Fitness flexibility = Options for sex
I remember standing at the front desk at one of my jobs, stretching my glutes by bringing my knee up towards my chest. For fun, I tried to see if my leg would wrap around the back of my neck. OBVIOUSLY I can’t do that, but a colleague looked at me and said, “you must have an amazing sex life” – knowing full well that it would embarrass the heck out of me. Now we’re not saying that if you have less than Olympic-level gymnastic flexibility that you won’t have a good sex life; we ARE promoting normal, healthy ranges of motion throughout each joint. Limited joint mobility often manifests as back, hip or neck pain. The major joints involved during sex are the shoulders, hips and the entire spine. The next time your trainer suggests you stretch out your hip flexors and hamstrings as homework…well, now you have an extra good reason to! No one likes pain or discomfort during sex (well…ahem…), so go ahead and sign up for that beginner yoga class you’ve always wanted to try.
Not sure which stretches can help? Try hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes.
Strength training is great for sex
Have you ever been unable to do or try something because you lacked the strength? For instance, there was one time we were in the kitchen, and I was about to offer my partner a big fat, yummy pickle…but I couldn’t generate the grip strength to open the jar.
The point is enjoyment flows from ease, and if you’re not too pooped to pop, your sex life embraces a whole new level of enjoyment. Exercises like push-ups and crunches strengthen the shoulders, chest and abdominals, all of which are utilized during sexual intercourse. Don’t forget your squats and lunges for strong legs and gluteals. Keeping these muscles in top shape helps increase strength and stamina, adding to prolonged, more pleasurable sex.
Sex endorphins are exercise endorphins
You know that “runner’s high” feeling that people talk about? Or maybe it’s the “high of survival” of after you crawl out of another training session thrilled to have all 4 limbs and 2 lungs intact. The body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins after bouts of increased activity, and sex is one of those activities! Your sex drive and feelings of sexual pleasure use the same endorphin release system. It’s like flexing a muscle; every time you use it, it gets stronger. The more frequently you trigger an endorphin release response, (through exercise and or sex), the easier it is to have sexual arousal and pleasure subsequent times. Studies have shown that women that exercise frequently become aroused more quickly and are able to reach an orgasm faster and more intensely.
Happy heart, happy sex life!
Doctors believe that exercise increases sexual potency because it strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves circulation, which is important for healthy sexual function. Aerobic exercise revs up hormones, flushes stress, whittles away fat and rejuvenates the body, filling us with renewed energy, which is great for the bedroom (for those times that the phrase “not now honey, I’m too tired” may have been a legitimate reason).
Research demonstrates that regular exercise improves blood flow, blood lipid profiles, blood pressure and can reverse blood vessel disease. What does this mean in the sack? It means increased blood flow throughout the body, in general, and increased blood flow to the genitals, priming men and women for sex, ultimately making sex more pleasurable.
Aim to improve your cardiovascular fitness with aerobic activity such as walking (if you’re a beginner), running, cycling or swimming for at least 30 minutes, three times per week. This will help you perform longer and more often.
I didn’t think you really needed any extra reasons to exercise, but I thought you might enjoy the adding an extra bonus item to your motivation list. Isn’t it amazing how doing something great for your physical self (improving energy levels, strength, flexibility, stamina, blood flow) and emotional self (higher levels of confidence, healthy self-image, the ability to set and achieve goals and stress relief) all come together in benefitting your sex life and hopefully someone else’s too! So exercise and enjoy!