By Jan Sheehan; Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
You know that working out is good for your health. But did you know that hitting the gym could also help you have better sex? “Working out three to four times a week can do a lot to help your sexual technique, flexibility, and endurance,” says Pete McCall, MS, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). So what types of exercise are best for better sex? McCall recommends the following five “sex exercises.”
SEE: Take a look at the five exercises men can do for better sex -- story continues below:
Strength training could be just what the doctor ordered for your sex life. The reason: “Weight lifting causes the body to produce testosterone, which is the primary precursor for the male sex drive,” says McCall, who recommends lifting enough to feel fatigue by the 10th repetition. In fact, some studies have linked short intense exercise, such as weight lifting, with increased testosterone levels. To improve your sex life, do some push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches. These muscle-building exercises can help lead to better sex by strengthening the shoulders, chest, and abs. Strong upper body strength can increase stamina since these muscles are used during intercourse.
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Doing Kegels is considered a good sex exercise for men because these exercises can help endurance and control by toning the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles — the ones that let you stop the flow of urine mid-stream. Named after Los Angeles physician Arnold Kegel, they strengthen the muscles in your body’s pelvic floor, which can lead to better sex. “Men can use Kegels to delay ejaculation by contracting these muscles just before orgasm,” says McCall. To do Kegels, start by interrupting the flow of urine when going to the bathroom to get familiar with your PC muscles. After that, you can do Kegels anytime and any place by squeezing the PC muscles. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and do as many reps as you can before tiring.
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Want to shake up your sex life with some new positions? Practicing yoga will give you better sex by allowing your body to get into creative positions for maximum pleasure during intercourse. “Yoga will help your flexibility,” which can result in better sex, McCall says. Some experts say it can also improve your stamina in the sack by drawing your energy in and up. McCall recommends yoga poses that improve pelvic muscles, such as the Bow Pose, Peacock Pose (also called the Forearm or Elbow Balance), and Shoulder Stand.
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In a study of 31,000 men over age 50, Harvard researchers found that aerobic exercise resulted in a 30-percent lower risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). More specifically, according to another study, aerobic activity that burns at least 200 calories per day (equal to fast walking for two miles) can significantly lower the risk of ED. Brisk walking is thought to help ED by improving circulation and blood flow. “Fast walking, running, and other aerobic activities help your sex life for the same reason that they prevent heart attacks,” says McCall. “They keep your blood vessels clear.” The result can be stronger and longer erections. Vigorous activities, such as running and brisk walking, also release endorphins and relax you, which can boost sexual performance.
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In another Harvard study of 160 male and female swimmers, swimmers in their 60s reported sex lives comparable to those in their 40s. Since sexual activity can be an act of endurance, long-distance swimming can keep you going and going like the Energizer bunny. “Swimming for at least 30 minutes three times a week will increase sexual endurance,” says McCall. Swimming is also a great activity for weight loss, which can also lead to better sex. A randomized, single-blind study of 110 obese men with ED found that losing just 10 percent of their body weight improved sexual function in one third of the men. And it’s no secret that losing excess body fat will help attain those six-pack abs and make you more attractive to potential partners. The result: better sex!
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Try doing some (or all) of the above workouts to improve your sexual technique, endurance, and flexibility. Your mate will be impressed with your sexual powers and, as a side benefit, you’ll get healthier and fitter along the way.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Men's Health Center.