If exercise makes its way into your daily or weekly routine, good for you. It’s seriously one of the best ways to increase your health in all areas—physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. But one area that it can also unsuspectingly benefit is your sex life. That’s right—a little sweat sesh and heart-pumping workout can improve your moves in the bedroom along with your desire to get it on.
“When you exercise, your body’s production of hormones like endorphins and testosterone increases, which helps reduce stress (often the killer of sexual desires) and helps you feel good, energized and sexually aroused,” explains Sandy Liang, NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Crunch Gym. Exercising also brings greater blood flow within the body, including to the male and female sex organs. In fact, one study by the University of Texas found that blood flow to the female reproductive organs increased by 169 percent after just 20 minutes of exercise. In other words, science totally supports this connection between exercise and sex, so you might as well do more of both, right?
If your time in the gym is spent for the betterment of your sex life, here are some of the top workouts experts say will yield the most strength and stamina between the sheets.
Yep—hitting the pavement isn’t only a great way to challenge your cardiovascular system and boost your endurance, but it will also lead to better stamina in the bedroom. Plus, running can be a natural aphrodisiac, especially when performed with a romantic partner. A survey conducted by Brooks Running Company found that 66 percent of runners believe they have more sex when they run with their significant other. “It’s part of the ‘runner’s high,’” says Sandy Liang, personal trainer at Crunch Gym. “People often feel extra turned on by the energy boost felt post-run.” She recommends sprints, which are more likely to increase sexual stamina and help with the varied paces during sex. “Like sprints, where you have a burst of intense work and time to rest, during sex you are alternating between faster moves, and slower sensual moves,” she says.
Various research has shown that short, intense, workouts, such as weightlifting or resistance training, can boost testosterone levels much more than when one goes jogging or hops on the elliptical. Since sex involves the whole body, these kind of workouts can seriously come in handy. Liang recommends squats, first and foremost, which can increase blood flow to the pelvic region and help energize the libido. “To perform a squat effectively, pull your butt down to an imaginary chair behind you while keeping your back straight, a neutral spine, your chest up and knees align with your feet,” she says. “Keeping your body tight, push through your heels and big toes to bring yourself back to the starting, standing position.”
Stretching is alway a good sexercise, since it gives you the flexibility to change positions smoothly and the ability to perform in different positions, explains James Conley, fitness instructor and owner of JamesConleyFitness. An easy stretch you can do almost anywhere is sitting on the floor with your feet out in front of you. Lean forward as far as you can and try to touch or surpass your toes. “This stretches your hamstrings and lower back,” Conley explains. He recommends holding the stretch for about 30 seconds (it takes your brain at least 10 to 15 seconds to indicate to the body that it's ok to relax). “Don't ever bounce when stretching, and go slowly.”
This simple move is one of the most effective bodyweight exercises because it effectively builds isometric strength (more strength with less muscle building). “Building these muscle can help lead to better sex by increasing stamina, since these muscles are used during on top positions,” explains Justin Seedman, American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, health coach and behavior change specialist in South Florida. He recommends beginning your plank at the top of a push-up, with your hands shoulder-width apart, arms strong and pelvis level. “Engage the core, squeeze your thighs and glutes, flex your quadriceps and press the heels back in order to flex your feet.”
The mobility and flexibility one attains by committing to a yoga regimen helps in the bedroom in more ways than one. “Yoga positions are a great way to prep yourself up for your sexual activities—getting you nice and limber,” says Liang. “The main areas of the body used for sex are the shoulders, hips and entire back—so, if these areas are tight, sex may not be as comfortable and enjoyable.” The yoga move that she says is helpful for sex is the Upward-Facing Dog, which stretches the core, psoas and hip flexor region, and increases energy and blood flow to the pelvic area. “Start lying on your belly with your legs hip-distance apart and the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your hands to the sides of your chest and press to lift your torso off the floor while rolling the shoulders back and down. Lengthen through the crown of your head, relax and breathe for about 15 seconds.”
Your pelvic floor muscles, which are totally in play during sex, are strengthened to the max during Pilates. “The stronger these muscles are, the more intense the orgasm, and learning how to consciously control these muscles allows you to increase sensations during sex,” says Liang. Sounds convincing enough!
She recommends Kegels (the exercise of holding the muscles you release when you pee) to help improve the endurance, control and strength of the PC muscles. “These allow you to last longer, boost your arousal during sex and climax to that orgasm with your partner,” she adds. Instructions: Hold that area (tighten like you are stopping urination) as you exhale, and relax as you inhale. Perform 10 to 20 Kegels three times a day, holding each one for 10 seconds.
Mental workouts are important, too. “Your mental state is really important to how well your time in the bedroom will be,” says Liang. “Practicing meditation and deep breathing can help you reduce stress, become more aware of your senses, be more present, and therefore increase the duration and satisfaction of your orgasms.” Not only will you feel less tense, but meditating allows for increased blood flow throughout your entire body. She recommends belly breathing techniques helps to strengthen your diaphragm muscle and allow you to practice taking full breaths that actually fills your lungs, which results in breathing more efficiently and controlled during sex. Place your right hand on the chest and the left hand on the belly. Take a deep breath in through the nose to push your left hand with your belly. Breath out through the lips to flatten your belly and guide your left hand back inwards. Your right hand should not have moved if you correctly took a full breath. Slowly repeat 5-10 times.