A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that erectile dysfunction is often an early indicator of poor cardiovascular health.
So perhaps it’s time to start “sexercising” and get in shape for love. What benefits can those sit-ups have on your bedroom performance besides making you exceptionally attractive to your partner?
“For one thing, regular workouts help keep the blood flowing, and keep the arteries producing nitric oxide, a chemical that facilitates erections and other forms of arousal. In addition, endorphins are also released, making you more relaxed and increasing your chances of sexual arousal” says Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of the Good in Bed Guide to Male Sexual Issues. Finally, exercise plays a major role in generating positive self-esteem, which is perhaps the most powerful sexual enhancer.
So are you sexually fit? If not, which exercises should you be doing to flex those sexual muscles?
1. Cardio. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain sexual stamina, a cardiovascular workout should always be a part of your regular exercise regimen. As for which workout you choose to engage in, it’s up to you. They can all have a positive impact on your sex life (and your waistline). So train for a marathon. Do a daily power walk. Start swimming laps. All of these activities will boost your endorphin levels. Even dancing can count as a cardio activity. So take a salsa or swing class with your partner and consider it foreplay.
2. Weight Training. If you’re looking to release more testosterone — and, by extension, improve your sex drive — consider implementing a weight lifting program. Include sets that incorporate full squats. The use of so many muscle fibers will maximize the testosterone release. Other compound movement lifts can also carry the same benefit. So when you’re drawing up your program, include bench presses, the bent-over row, the stiff-legged dead lift, lunges, shoulder presses, back squats, and pull-ups.
3. Pelvic Floor Exercises. It’s commonly known that flexing your kegels will improve your sex life. But are there fitness classes that will work your pelvic floor as well? Some people claim to experience “yogasms,” orgasms experienced as a result of yoga. And women aren’t the only ones seeing benefits.
Yoga requires that you regularly engage the mula bhanda, or the muscles of the perineum. These benefits can be found in the poses inherent in any form of yoga, but Kundalini yoga in particular has been shown to have tantric benefits, especially if you perform the poses with a partner. Some poses that are especially beneficial when performed with a partner are the sacred embrace, downward facing dog, side plank, and camel. Not only do these poses improve your flexibility but, as with those dance classes, they involve a lot of eye contact and non-sexual touching, making them another high-value form of foreplay.
Of course, you can continue to do your kegels as well, wherever you are. Just flex your muscles down there — the same ones that stop the flow of urine — three times a day, 25 repetitions each time. Squeeze the muscles, hold for a few seconds, and then relax.
Having a solid exercise regimen is obviously necessary for your health and overall well-being. But doesn’t it help you get off the couch just knowing that it will improve your game in the bedroom, too?
Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author of numerous books. He is the founder of GoodInBed.com