You love the rush of a vigorous workout: Your mood improves, you have more energy, and you feel more attractive. But what's surprising is how those sweat sessions boost your libido—and lead to you getting a little action.
"Your fitness level is linked with how sexy you feel," says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and the author of Pleasure: A Woman's Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that improve your mood and relax you. "This is the state of mind required to feel fully aroused," she says. It's not that you can't have a love life without working out, says Hutcherson. It's just that you'll enjoy it more when you're getting the mind and body benefits of exercise.
Being fit also has a positive impact on your body confidence, says Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute and author of Change Your Mind, Change Your Body. "The real-life gains you achieve at the gym—say, going from using a 5-pound dumbbell to a 10-pounder or running an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill—give you an incredible sense of power and accomplishment," she says. "That physical pride makes you feel sexier inside and out. You radiate that, and in turn your partner becomes even more attracted to you." (You can also try The Better Sex Workout to feel better in your body and turn up the heat between the sheets.)