Do distance runners do it better? New research makes a surprising connection between half-marathon runners and heightened sex drive

By Mirel Ketchiff
Updated: April 08, 2015
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Endurance runners have lots of unique talents. They're great at estimating the distance between two points, and can instantly calculate how long it would take to run that distance given any average mile time. They know the names of all the muscles and tendons from the waist down. They can perform minor surgery on their own black toenails with only a paperclip, a match, and a facial tissue. (And Endurance Sports Make Your DNA Healthier to boot.)

Now, research shows that speedy distance runners may be better in bed too.

In a new study in the journal PLOS One, researchers arrived at this conclusion (well-kind of) after testing the finger lengths of half-marathon runners. Yes, it sounds weird, but there's a proven link between people whose ring fingers are the same length as or longer than their index fingers and people who have higher testosterone exposure as a fetus, which has also been connected to a higher sex drive and, in men, a healthier sperm count. (The Easiest Fix for Low Sex Drive You've Ever Heard.)

The findings: Female runners with longer ring fingers (and therefore higher prenatal testosterone exposure) completed their 13.1 mile race an average of 11 minutes and 59 seconds faster than those with the shortest digits; male marathoners ran about 24 minutes and 33 seconds faster. (Check out our 10-Week Half-Marathon Training Schedule.)

It makes sense. Humans are able to run farther and longer than most animals, and many experts believe that we used this skill to hunt back in the caveman days. We'd chase down an antelope for four or five hours, until it finally collapsed from the exertion. So from an evolutionary perspective, better endurance runners were likely seen as more desirable mates.

Chances are, you've already sized up your index-to-ring-finger ratio. But if you feel like your digits are falling a little short, rest easy: The study authors note that even people with shorter ring fingers can master long distances with the right training plan and mental motivation. As for between-the-sheets confidence? You can build that too.

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