If a why-bother attitude keeps you from committing to an exercise routine, consider this: Exercise not only delivers a number of amazing health benefits — it can also improve your sex life. You eat right for your heart health, you do yoga for your mental health, so why not exercise for your sexual health too?
When it comes to the strictly muscular aspect of sex, fit men have the advantage. Men in prime shape will find sex easier and less painful than men who don’t exercise much, says Neal Pire, a fitness consultant to pro athletes. “If you don’t exercise regularly, and especially if you never do crunches, you will feel soreness in your lower abdominals and your hip flexors after sex,” he says. If you are partial to the missionary position, you might feel soreness in your chest muscles, he adds.
Exercise can help you feel more confident and energized both in and out of the bedroom, which can improve sex. “When you feel good about yourself, and about how your partner sees you physically, you’re going to be more relaxed and less distracted,” says Pire.
- Confidence. When you exercise, you feel fit and trim which generally improves self-esteem, and nothing is sexier than self-confidence.
- Endurance. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health which in turn increases endurance. When it comes to increased endurance and sexual activity, no explanation is needed.
- Circulation. Aerobic exercise increases circulation which results in increased blood flow. Increased blood flow to the genitals is what happens with arousal and results in improved erectile dysfunction and increased sensation.
- Intensity. An orgasm is a rhythmic contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, strengthen the pelvic floor which can potentially make orgasms more intense.
- Stress Reduction. Stress has a negative impact on libido, and exercise can help reduce stress to improve sex drive.
Heart health, mental health, and sexual health—all part of your overall well-being. So throw any preconceived notions you might have had out the window and get ready to sweat so your bedroom time can sizzle.
Karyn Eilber, MD, is a board-certified urologist, an associate professor of urology & OB/GYN at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and is an expert in women’s health and men & women’s sexual wellness.