If tighter abs and firm glutes or improving your health aren’t enough to entice you to get off the couch and start exercising, how about the prospect of having hotter sex?
That’s right. Numerous studies looking at the relationship between exercise and physical sexual satisfaction have all found regular exercise heightens enjoyment and pleasure for both men and women.
One 1990 study showed physically fit men not only engaged in sexual activities more often, but also performed better during intercourse and increased their percentage of pleasing orgasms as compared to sedentary men.
Likewise, a 2005 longitudinal study showed women who got little exercise experienced lower sexual satisfaction as compared to women who exercised.
Face it, it’s difficult to ignite a flame when you’re too tired, stressed out or out of shape to do simple exercise without becoming winded, but rest assured, there is still hope. Regardless of what shape you are now in, you can improve your stamina and boost your libido.
A 1996 study found two sets of women—those who were sexually functioning and those who were sexually impaired— were both able to increase the flow of blood to the vaginal area resulting in heightened sexual arousal after starting a regular exercise program (30 minutes of moderate physical activity for five or more days per week). Researchers believe exercise intensifies the sympathetic nervous system thus possibly enhancing physical sexual satisfaction.
“Regular exercisers may experience physiological benefits that could enhance their physical sexual satisfaction such as increased blood flow, joint and muscular flexibility, release of endorphins, and skeletal muscular strength,” according to a 2007 University of Cincinnati study.
Exercise not only improves sexual functioning by increasing physical endurance, muscle tone and body composition, but research shows that even low levels of exercise help elevate mood and keep the “equipment” in better working condition.
Some studies report physically fit men were less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Researchers believe from previous studies that ED could be a warning sign for cardiovascular disease and early death.
What’s more, recent studies suggest if you are anticipating a “big night” you might want to go for a quick jog. According to the studies, women who participated in 20 minutes of vigorous activity were more sexually responsive. The same is true for males. Some studies show short intense exercise is linked with increased testosterone levels, which are associated with stimulating sexual interest and behavior. But beware men−too much exercise before a big night could decrease testosterone and other male hormones, which may decrease your sexual desire.
The results aren’t just true for the 20- and 30-somethings. Post-menopausal women and older men can also benefit equally from exercise. Researchers believe a regular exercise program combined with regular sexual activity may be supportive elements for successful aging.
A 2000 Harvard University study of 160 male and female swimmers in their 40s and 60s showed regular physical activity and being physically fit improved the frequency and enjoyment of sexual intercourse. The study reported swimmers in their 60s had the mojo and sexual satisfaction comparable to people in the general population in their 40s.
But it’s not just about aerobics. To make your relationship really sizzle, consider practicing Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which helps in achieving stronger orgasms. These muscles act like a hammock for your uterus, bladder and bowel, and they really take a beating during normal pregnancy, labor and childbirth. Conditioning and toning these muscles can result in greater sexual satisfaction for both partners.
The Mayo Clinic has a step-by-step guide on how to do Kegel exercises correctly at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119.
Effect of Exercise on Reported Physical Sexual Satisfaction of University Students. H.C. Lindeman et al. Californian Journal of Health Promotion 2007, Vol. 5, Issue 4, 40-51. www.csuchico.edu/cjhp/5/4/040-051-lindeman.pdf
Sexual Desirability and Sexual Performance: Does Exercise and Fitness Really Matter? T.M. Penhollow and M. Young. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. Vol. 7, 5 Oct. 2004 Accessed online 22 Sep. 2011 at: http://www.ejhs.org/volume7/fitness.html
Erectile Dysfunction Predicts Cardiovascular Events in High-Risk Patients Receiving Telmisartan, Raipril, or Both. Michael Bohm et al. Published online in Circulation Abstract accessed online 22 Sep. 2011 at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/121/12/1439.abstract