Forty-three percent of women and 31% of men suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction, with obesity and lack of exercise often being factors, according to national institutes of health
. A to study
published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men with a large waist circumference or high BMI were 50% more likely to have erectile dysfunction, while about half of obese women reported potency problems sex, desire and performance, at least some of the time, in a study
published in Obesity.
Women who exercised up to six hours a week, on the other hand, had less sexual distress and resistance in their clitoral arteries compared to women who did not exercise, according to a 2021 study
published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Practitioners also showed significantly higher levels of desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm.
“This is really a medical issue that we should be addressing as part of a person’s health and well-being,” said Dr. Karyn Eilber, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. and expert in sexual well-being. “But there is still a stigma around the subject.”
There shouldn’t be, said Eilber and other experts. Sex is an essential part of being human, and its meaning is not just to procreate. Quality sexual activity has a major impact on your mental and emotional health, your quality of life, and the strength of your intimate relationships. A series of studies
confirms this, indicating that loving sex and touch are essential for multiple aspects of well-being, such as feeling understood, cared for and accepted.
Here’s what happens to your body and mind when you exercise regularly.
Important Note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician. Stop immediately if you feel pain.
Your circulation is boosted
All aerobic exercise increases your circulation, or blood flow, and helps ensure a healthy circulatory system. And strong, steady blood flow is the key to arousal. In men, it facilitates erections and in women, it contributes to vaginal lubrication and clitoral sensation.
Your stamina increases
When you train regularly, you develop more endurance. This is important for your sexual health
because having sex is itself a workout. the Mayo Clinic
likens having sex to climbing two or three flights of stairs. And a study
by the National Institutes of Health indicates that half an hour of sexual activity can burn 125 calories for men and nearly 100 for women, which is equivalent to walking at a pace of 3 miles per hour.
You become more confident
Once you establish a routine exercise program, you feel fitter and leaner. This, in turn, improves self-esteem. “Nothing is sexier than self-confidence,” Eilber said. Indeed, a 2019 study
published in the Journal of Personality found that women had a more romantic interest in men with greater social confidence, whether that confidence was innate or formed.
Your stress level decreases
Being stressed, anxious or depressed can curb your libido
. Depression in particular is often linked to problems with sexual functioning, and the more severe the depression, the worse the problems get, according to a study 2018
published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. The study found that this is especially true when it comes to sexual desire
Luckily, exercise is great for combating stress, anxiety, and depression, which can translate to a revived libido. Antidepressants are also known to negatively affect your libido, Eilber said, so if exercise can help lower your dose or cut them out altogether, great.
Your general health improves
Adopt a regular exercise program and your general health will improve. Practice can even help you
avoid serious illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which sometimes require drugs that inhibit arousal. Both of these medical conditions can also damage the tiny arteries in the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction
. In fact, erectile dysfunction is
often one of the first noticeable side effects of high blood pressure and diabetes.
How much exercise is needed to improve your sexual health? It all depends on the person, so it’s best to check with your doctor. Experts say even short bursts of exercise, like regular brisk walks, can improve your sexual well-being. However, you have to be careful not to overdo it.
If you’re still not convinced it’s time to grab your sneakers and start moving, heed this warning from Eilber. “There’s something about that phrase, ‘Use it or lose it,'” she said. “Your pelvic organs are like any other part of the body. If you don’t use them, you will lose their function.”