6 Surprising Ways Fitness Can Improve Your Sex Life
The benefits of a well-executed exercise regime and healthy diet extend far beyond the many 'before and after' transformations you see that come from Ultimate Performance.
What may be less documented is the positive effect fitness can have on your sex life.
Research has shown that those who are more physically active report higher frequencies of sexual behaviour, as well as increased sexual desire.
Additionally, fitness and body composition are linked with improved sexual functioning (Penhollow & Young, 2004).
Why is this?
1. Self Confidence
Arguably the most important factor in a satisfying sex life is self-confidence and body image. Feeling sexy is an individual feeling and a state of mind. But what researchers have found is that those who exercise often have a more positive body image, which may make them enjoy their bodies more, too (Penhollow & Young, 2004).
This is reflected in the lives of our personal training clients too. It’s not uncommon to see both men and women grow in confidence and change their mindset completely while undergoing a transformation that always extends further than just the visual.
Fitting into old clothes, dropping dress sizes and even being able to confidently wear a bikini all play into the increased self-esteem that will no doubt improve one’s sex life.
The endorphin rush that a hard workout can give you can be second to none. While it’s commonly known as the ‘runner’s high’, a well-executed weight training workout can deliver the same response.
Endorphins are stimulating and make us feel great. It elevates our mood, reduces our stress, boosts self-esteem and increases sex hormones; all factors which all play into a healthier sex life.
The high from a great workout also provides you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. If you do this consistently over the weeks, like our 12-week transformation clients, it makes you feel good about yourself, both inside and out.
3. Improved Hormonal Profile
Besides the obvious effects of a leaner, fitter body on your sex life, the reason improved body composition is important is its ability to increase sexual functioning.
Psychological issues aside, poor sexual functioning is usually down to too much body fat and as a result, imbalanced hormonal profiles.
What tends to happen when you have too much body fat is that it leads to an increase in sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) in the system. This binds to testosterone, which is responsible for sexual arousal, and thus leading to an inhibited sexual desire.
Another issue when your body fat is too high is that your blood flow and circulatory systems are not functioning optimally. For example, if you have cholesterol issues, whereby plaque builds up in your blood vessels supplying the pelvic regions, blood flow to male and female genitalia will slow significantly.
The interesting fact with hormones and their connection to sex drive is that while healthy levels of physical activity will help, overtraining will decrease testosterone and decrease sexual desire.
Your libido is one of the best feedback tools you can use to know if your body is functioning optimally, both psychologically and physiologically. A healthy libido is a sign of good mood, controlled stress levels, self-confidence, fitness and a healthy diet.
4. Reduced Stress Levels
The stress-sex connection is strange in that stress can not only affect your sex life, but also be reduced by having sex.
If you have poorly managed stress levels, your libido will diminish. In both men and women, chronic stress causes cortisol to be produced at the expense of sex hormones like testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Put simply; our body shuts down sex mechanisms in favour of dealing with the ‘fight or flight’ response at hand.
Where stress becomes a vicious cycle is the behaviour that often stems from it. Alcohol, inactivity and comfort foods are all common reactions to stress, and these can lead to more body fat, less energy and reduced self-esteem, which in turn will impact your sex life.
One of the best ways to reduce and increase our ability to handle stress is to exercise regularly. It’s also no coincidence that people who exercise regularly also have better sex lives. The ‘feel good’ endorphins we spoke about earlier play an important part in reducing stress, and making you feel better about yourself.
5. Successful ageing
The benefits of regular physical activity on successful ageing are countless. One benefit pertinent to this article is the fact that a high level of sexual activity, function, and satisfaction seems to be correlated with fitness levels in both older men and women (Bortz, 1999).
6. What about specific foods?
Every month there seems to be a new food you must eat to improve your sex life.
When you sit back and look at these recommendations over a period of time, you’ll begin to notice that the rule is to base your diet around foods ‘from the land’.
Essentially, single-ingredient foods based around quality meats, fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables. There’s no one food that’s going to transform your sex life, unfortunately.
Getting and staying lean is important in having a healthy sex life, so setting up your diet using the foods above to achieve these goals is the best advice we can give.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sex life, regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best prescription.
Training will boost your self-confidence, release endorphins, improve your hormonal profile and reduce your stress levels.
All these benefits combine to enhance your sexuality, libido and function and ultimately a more fulfilling and exciting sex life.
Inspired to take your health, fitness an physique to the next level? See how Ultimate Performance's world-class PTs can help you achieve your goals by simply enquiring on the form below...
Bortz, W. &. (1999). Physical fitness, ageing, and sexuality. Western Journal of Medicine , 167-175.
Penhollow, T., & Young, M. (2004). Sexual Desirability and Sexual Performance: Does Exercise and Fitness Really Matter? Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality .