Studies Show Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life
Exercise is not only a well-documented
means of maintaining muscle and losing fat, recent studies propose that it can
also revitalize your sex life.
In a February 1999 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists found that sexual
dysfunction is more likely among those with poor physical and emotional health,
and plays a major role with negative experiences in sexual relationships and
with overall well-being.
Studying sex and exercise
Sexual function is affected by general
health, and the more you can do to improve your health by taking good care of
yourself, the better your sex life can be.
Doctors at the New England Research
Institute found that regular, vigorous exercise can be effective at lowering
impotence risk. The researchers studied more than 600 middle-aged men who hadn't
reported any problems with impotence. After eight years, the men who exercised
regularly were less likely to have problems.
Vigorous exercise - the equivalent of
walking two miles or burning 200 extra calories a day - was most effective.
On the opposite coast, a University of
California, San Diego study of 78 healthy but sedentary middle-aged men
documented changes when the men were assigned to exercise three to four times a
week for one-hour sessions.
Overall, the former couch potatoes
reported more reliable sexual functioning, more frequent sexual activity and
orgasms, and greater satisfaction.
Yet another study, conducted at the
Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that men who exercised vigorously for
20 to 30 minutes were about half as likely to have erection problems as inactive
men. The scientists in this study also discovered that as a man gained weight,
he became more susceptible to experiencing erectile dysfunction (E.D.).
Women's sex lives can also benefit from
regular exercise. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 35
women, ages 18 to 34. On two separate occasions the women first watched a short
travel film, followed by an abbreviated X-rated film.
To begin with, the subjects cycled
vigorously for 20 minutes. The second time they didn't. Researchers calculated
their sexual response using a device that measures blood flow in genital tissue,
and discovered that the women's vaginal responses were 169 percent greater after
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Doctors believe that exercise has the
effect it does on increasing sexual potency because it strengthens the
cardiovascular system and improves circulation. Good circulation is important
for sexual function.
Other things that hamper circulation
include obesity, smoking or heavy alcohol use, however losing weight and
quitting smoking or drinking didn't improve sexual function the way exercise
If exercise can do so much for your sex
life, shouldn't more be even better? The answer is no, according to the same
doctors who did the studies. Heavy exercise can actually decrease testosterone
levels, leading to a less-robust sexual appetite.
In addition, over-training can
compromise the immune system, which could also adversely affect sexual
Exercise, while not a panacea, can be
just what the doctor ordered for physical and psychological complaints.