Got your attention didn’t I?!
So how exactly does exercise improve your sex life?
First off, let me say there are a ton of factors that contribute to a healthy and vibrant sex life and I don’t pretend to know everything about the subject. However, what I do know is the psychological and physical effects that a good diet and an intelligent exercise regimen has on the mind and body and how they contribute to amazing lovemaking.
When I first became a personal trainer (been doing this for a LONG time now), my clients would tell me, ”Wow Sal, I feel stronger… I feel better… I have more energy… I’ve lost weight.” These were all responses I had expected from helping them adopt a health and fitness lifestyle. What I didn’t anticipate was them telling me that their libido had increased or that their relationship with their spouse or significant other had gotten better or how much better their sex life was!
At first I was shocked…but as more and more people commented on this, it became yet another expected result of proper training. I recall one 72 year old client telling me, ”Sal, this is kinda embarrassing but my libido is so much stronger now. Is this because of the exercise? Is this a normal reaction?” I informed him that it was very normal. It was an awkward but totally awesome conversation.
So why do people notice this and exactly HOW does exercise make sex better?
Well, let me tell you!…
Of course, sex is a very natural and essential thing for us humans. It is a basic and fundamental instinct right up there with eating and breathing. Without sex we literally would not be here!
A key driving factor behind sex is to procreate (there are other drivers but procreation is the most basic and obvious). Because a HEALTHY and fit body is far more likely to successfully procreate it makes perfect sense that when you improve your health and fitness, the signal to “mate” becomes much stronger. In fact, a low sex drive can be a good indicator of poor physical health and is one of the first symptoms of poor circulation and heart disease.
Here are some of the ways exercise can “turn you on.”
Let’s begin by talking about the release of endorphins, which are feel good chemicals that are an immediate byproduct of proper physical activity. Endorphins are endogenous opioid (yes OPIATES!) inhibitory neuropeptides. They are produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. Endorphins are naturally produced in higher amounts during activity and they are responsible for the zen-like, euphoric calm that follows a good workout. These are the same chemicals that are released during sex! As a matter of fact, you get a HUGE release of endorphins when you climax. More endorphins equals more euphoria. Exercise is very similar to sex in this fundamental way and endorphins are huge chemical “turn ons” that all of our bodies produce more of when we are active.
Exercise also increases short AND long-term circulation. Good circulation is critical for good sex since it is blood that flows to the parts of our body that become aroused. Viagra and other erectile enhancing drugs work by enhancing circulation. Viagra is what is called a PDE-5 inhibitor that blocks an enzyme that degrades a VERY important circulation chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator. In other words, it acts to “open” and “relax” blood vessels to allow for better blood flow. Exercise does the same thing but in a different way. Rather than blocking PDE-5 activity, exercise simply increases the amount of nitric oxide in your blood. In reality, exercise is a natural Viagra…without all the dangerous side-effects.
Being fit and feeling good also improves self-confidence! Even small visible and positive changes in our body reinforce that we are improving and that our hard work is creating our desired result! You don’t have to be a ripped fitness model either…even a 5 lbs fat loss changes how we feel about ourselves. Attitude is a HUGE part of libido and as your body changes so does your attitude towards yourself. Feeling great is a precursor to feeling sexy. Exercise equals more self-confidence which equates to a higher sex drive.
Building muscle and burning body fat also affect your hormones. When you exercise you send a signal to your body to adapt by building muscle! In order for this to happen your body must increase its levels of the anabolic hormone testosterone. This hormone is a potent driver of sexual function. It’s actually the prime hormone that stimulates your libido and NOTHING spikes testosterone naturally like lifting weights. Now before some of you women freak out because you don’t want to turn into men, DON’T WORRY! That won’t happen. Testosterone is also found naturally in women, albeit in lower amounts than men. A woman who has too low a level of testosterone will have a very low sex drive.
Now a caveat…
An exercise regimen designed to elicit maximum muscular growth will result in a spike in testosterone and a heightened sexual drive. However, the opposite can happen when engaging in exercise that is excessively intense.
You see, excessively long or frequent bouts of intense exercise act to overly stress the body. In response to this high level of stress, the body will release elevated amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels drop. Lower levels of testosterone reduce a person’s sex drive as well as put the brakes on their muscle growth.
In recent years there have been a number of very intense exercise programs that have gained tremendous popularity. These programs feed into the belief that many people have that more is better when it comes to exercise and that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is absolutely false. As studies have shown with endurance athletes, excessively intense exercise accelerates aging and kills testosterone production.
The healthiest and most effective advice is “moderation in all things.” Avoid all exercise programs that promote insanely intense exercise. To maximize your testosterone and your sexual performance only engage in an exercise regimen designed to maximize testosterone production by using only the optimal amount of intensity. When exercise is done properly you should feel energized and virile after your workout, not wiped out and limp!
The physical and emotional benefits of being active are well documented so we really shouldn’t need any more motivation to engage in physical activity. However, the fact that being fit will also improve your sex life is icing on the cake and is perhaps is the last bit of motivation you need to take your fitness to the next level. If this is true, then AWESOME!!! The world could use more fit, healthy, confident and turned on people!