Exercise can up your stamina, guarantee better orgasms, and more—as if you needed another reason to hit the gym
The benefits of pumping iron or going for a run is multi-fold—it’s good for your waistline, your heart, and even your mind. But here’s another bennie that comes with the afterburn: Getting fit is also vital to a vibrant sex life. “Staying in shape obviously means greater stamina in bed, as well as more flexibility and strength to get into crazy, fun positions,” says Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D, marriage, family, and sex therapist and author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life. But the sexy perks don’t end there. Read on to discover six more ways that being a gym rat can help make you a dynamo in the sack. (And find out 8 Surprising Things Affecting Your Sex Life.)
One of the benefits of exercise is increased blood flow throughout every region of your body—including between your legs. "Increased blood flow to a woman's genitals creates more vasocongestion—swelling of the vaginal walls, labia and clitoris—which increases sensitivity and can result in more intense orgasms,” says Van Kirk. For your guy, his increased blood flow can mean a longer, stronger erection (and that means woo-hoo for you too!).
Including your pubococcygeus muscle (or PC muscle). "Tighter PC muscles help to increase the pelvic floor contraction associated with orgasm,” says Van Kirk, who advises that the next time you’re doing some crunches, try throwing in a few Kegels at the same time. Another exercise that can help tighten your vag muscles: Bridges. Lie on your back with your arms at your side and knees bent. Lift your butt all the way off the floor, squeezing your PC muscles and butt muscles as tight as you can. Release and repeat for 3 sets of 15. (And try the Better Sex Workout next time you're at the gym.)
“The more fat we carry on our body, the more estrogen we produce—and higher estrogen levels have been linked to lower arousal in women and men,” says Van Kirk. Plus, if the stress hormone cortisol is high, your body tends to create more fat, which in turn creates more estrogen in the body. Knock your hormone levels back to normal by hitting the gym. A study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated that 300 minutes (about 30 to 45 minutes per day) of cardiovascular exercise per week, lowered estrogen levels. Another benefit of balancing your hormones: a regular menstrual cycle. (Your Menstrual Cycle Phases—Explained!)
Sex pheromones—chemicals we release that help attract the opposite sex—are always present, but sweating during working out helps to magnify their scent. “This is why the gym can be such a great place to meet partners or why post-workout sex can be so hot,” says Van Kirk. Before you hit the showers and wash the pheromones away, head home for a roll in the hay—all that sweating can actually turn your guy on.
Research has shown that people who work out on a regular basis feel better about themselves. “If you feel good about yourself you tend to be more open to exploring your own body, leading to increased orgasms and even deeper bonding between you and your partner,” says Van Kirk. (Find out how to build confidence to Have an Amazing Orgasm.)
Make a date with your guy at the gym; a workout will benefit him sexually as well. “Higher levels of estrogen in men, caused by extra pounds, can be an arousal killer for men, too,” says Van Kirk. “Estrogen can actually cause the penis to shrink.” The Harvard School of Public health released a study stating that vigorous exercise 20-30 minutes a day will decrease his chances of suffering from erectile dysfunction. So get your guy to work out to counteract shrinkage; if that’s not reason to get your guy pumping iron, we don’t know what is. (Try the Perfect Total-Body Workout for Couples.)