By Oonagh Duncan (@FitFeelsGoodTO)
Sometimes things can get ugly at the gym. When your form is starting to shake on that last rep; when you’re grunting your way through a sprint interval; when you leave a sweaty butt print on the bench — it’s not sexy. What you might not realize in those unflattering moments is that you are actually training to get better in bed. Don’t believe me? Here are four reasons exercise improves your sex life.
It’s A Hormone Thing
When a guy shows up at the doctor with no desire to get busy, the first thing that’s going to get checked is his testosterone levels. Not only is testosterone responsible for a healthy libido, it also helps the “morning glory” stay … glorious. The bad news is that testosterone peaks around age 20 (but you probably already knew that) before going into decline.
The good news is that regular exercise can slow that downturn. After each training session, you are going to get an immediate T boost for the next 24 hours. (“Honey, I’m on my way home from the gym!”) And after you’ve been lifting for a while and you’re looking more Brad Pitt and less Pillsbury Doughboy, your testosterone levels are more likely to stay in a happy zone.
You Gotta Go The Distance
Imagine this: your face is flushed, your body is slick with sweat, your heart is beating fast, you’re panting, every muscle in your body feels alive. That’s right: you’re playing basketball and you’ve got a breakaway. That’s what you were picturing, right? If you were thinking about a different kind of slam dunk, you are probably 20 years old (see our first point) — and you are totally right to make the connection, because sex is a cardiovascular activity. If you want to have stamina in the bedroom, then you’ve got to have stamina on the stationary bike. You definitely don’t want to be the guy who’s too out of breath to get the job done. To train for amourous endurance, try short bursts of intense cardio. For example, 20 minutes of boxing can use the same energy expenditure as one hour of frisky sex. Who says you can’t be both a lover and a fighter?
The Hard Truth
Activity improves blood circulation to all areas of the body — yes, all. If you need a seventh-grade health class review, it’s the blood circulating to your nether regions that gives you an erection you can be proud of. The short version: no blood, no boner. So what’s a guy to do to get that blood circulating to all the right places? You got it — exercise. Circulation becomes a problem when you’ve got clogged arteries, high blood pressure, or any cardiovascular health issue. You avoid this by training the heart with regular, vigorous exercise. There is a saying in the erectile dysfunction world that penis health is heart health. (If you’ve never heard that saying, that’s probably a good thing.)
It’s All In Your Head
It’s no secret that sex is mental — even for men. You can have all the testosterone and cardiovascular fitness in the world, but if your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to score. It’s hard to feel like a stud when you are stressed, depressed, and can’t sleep. Enter serotonin. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical that floods your brain when you exercise. It makes you feel energized, more confident, relaxed, and generally happier. And, let’s face it, a happy guy is a horny guy.
A horny, happy, healthy guy: that’s you. So the next time you are at the gym and you catch your ugly, sweaty red face in the mirror, grimacing through the final squat, just think “That guy is awesome in the sack.”
Oonagh Duncan is an award-winning personal trainer, fitness educator, and the author of the fitness blog fitfeelsgood.com.