You’re in good physical shape from months – maybe years – of regular workouts. Or maybe you’re contemplating starting a new workout routine. You know the benefits of a consistent exercise regime, like weight control, overall good health and well-being, and regulating blood pressure. But do you know the benefits exercise has on the life we lead in the bedroom? Is it true? Does fitness really improve sex life?
The short answer is yes.
Richard Cotton, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise in San Diego, California, says the link between exercise and sex makes perfect sense.
“Endurance, strength, and flexibility are the three primary components of fitness,” said Cotton. “If you are in shape, you have more aerobic endurance, muscular strength, and overall flexibility, all of which can aid a person during sex. Not to mention, if you are in shape you will reduce your risk of injury during sex, such as pulling a muscle.”
In the case of men, improved cardiovascular fitness can be critical for sexual function. A study conducted at the University of California tracked 78 middle-aged men on an aerobic exercise program. The subjects exercised at moderate intensity for 60 minutes a day, three or four days a week. After nine months of continuous exercise, these subjects reported that their sex life was more satisfying.
For women, activities such as yoga tone and strengthen the entire core, including the pelvic floor. “The more you work these muscles, the greater range of motion you have,” says Becky Jeffers, fitness director at the Berman Center for female sexual health and menopause management in Chicago. “This gives you stronger contractions and releases, which can help you experience a more intense orgasm.”
People who do not exercise tire more easily. Getting winded, pulling a muscle, or getting a cramp can be embarrassing things in the bedroom, but being in poor physical condition can lead to more serious happenings like a heart attack.
Also, those who are out of shape are often less motivated to have sex and have a lower sex drive and less stamina. What exactly is stamina? It is the ability to perform at a consistent level for a good amount of time. No matter the activity, stamina makes it enjoyable for those involved. When you have strong, consistent energy that comes from a high level of fitness, it is just easier to have great sex.
It’s not all physical.
Exercise can have a deep impact on your mental state. Looking and feeling healthy can increase your self-esteem while making you feel more attractive. Where confidence is, sexy follows. Your posture improves, your layers of clothing decrease, you’re more willing to try new things.
Working out also releases endorphins, which are small protein molecules, but are better known as the things that make you feel happy. Research shows that endorphins control feelings of stress and frustration, reduce anxiety and improve mood.
Dr. Yvonne Fulbright, author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Love Making said that in a recent study of 4,000 American women, those who had the lowest stress and best overall mental well-being were those who were the most sexually active.
Get fit, be happy, and want sex. Have sex, and be happy. What a great correlation.
Remember to take it easy. If you are really going for it in the gym you may be too tired for extra activity between the sheets. It’s an occurrence that can happen once in a while, but if fatigue becomes a common trend take a look at your fitness routine and see if it needs to be altered. Know the difference between intense exercise and excessive exercise. Please always consult with a physician before starting a new routine – be it in the gym, or in bed.
At World Health, try yoga for the mind-body connection, Zumba or Cycle or run on a treadmill to enhance your cardio, or start a weight lifting routine or incorporate Lift into your schedule to strengthen your muscles. No matter your approach, let the stress melt away as you improve your fitness and enjoy your sex life.