WebMD Health - Healthy Men

Sep 15, 2010 10:40 PM

Exercises for Better Sex

Better sex: Infomercials promise it. Magazines, too. There are love universities for it, and more how-to videos than you can count. And, of course, it all comes at a price.

Wouldn't it be nice if it were easy to improve your sex life, for free? Actually, you can get more sizzle in sex, and all you have to do is get a little sweaty -- with exercise.

But wait, there's more!

You and your partner can actually double your sexual satisfaction. Though the following exercises for better sex are geared toward men, they work great for women wanting a sexy boost, too. So what are you waiting for?

All kidding aside, guys, some exercise really can give your sex life a lift. As a bonus, exercise also ramps up your muscle tone, strength, and sexual endurance. So which exercises can help put the vroom back in your bedroom?

5 Exercises for Better Sex

To "keep your sex life awesome," exercise physiologist Rich Weil, MEd, CDE suggests these top five "sexercises."

  • Pushups. If you're going to pick just one exercise to do, this is the one to go for, Weil says, "for all the obvious reasons."

If you can't do basic training-quality pushups at first, start with wall presses (essentially pushups done against the wall), aiming for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. When you're ready, progress to knee pushups on the floor, making sure to keep your back straight while you slowly touch your nose to the ground. Once you're ready to kick it up a notch, progress to traditional hand-and-toe pushups.

  • Abdominals. After pushups, your abs are the next most critical sex-boosting body area, says Weil, director of the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, and an exercise and fitness expert on WebMD's message boards. "After all, you have to use your abdominal muscles during sex."

Weil suggests starting your ab workout with good old-fashioned crunches. Lie on your back, hands supporting your neck, knees bent and your feet on the floor, then bring your body up just enough to get your shoulders off the ground. Do 3-5 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

For additional ab oomph, Weil suggests men and women also do bridges (lying on your back, knees bent, lift your hips up and down; 3 sets of 15 reps). Men can also try pelvic tilts (standing up or lying down, straighten your lower back and pull your belly button in until your lower back touches the wall or floor), while women can try Kegels (contract your pelvic muscles (the ones you'd use to stop the flow of urine); squeeze the muscles tight for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds. Do 10-15 repetitions, three times a day).

  • Deadlifts. This exercise will keep your back as strong as it can be, says Weil, and give your legs and torso a workout, too. Deadlifts, where you raise a weighted barbell or dumbbells from the ground, starting in a neutral bent-over position, is easy to do -- and easy to do wrong, so technique is important, according to the American Council on Exercise. Get some pro tips online or at your gym to be sure you're getting the most out of doing deadlifts.
  • Torso side bends and twists. And to get the most from this exercise, as well as the next one, head to the gym. The effort is worth it, because torso side bends and twists will keep your upper body strong, says Weil, and give you stamina. "Do them on the cable crossover machine for maximum effect."
  • Pushing or pulling exercise in the gym. While you're at the gym, rows, flyes and lateral raises on that same cable crossover machine will do a great job for your performance in the bedroom, says Weil. Remember to get a few quick tips from a pro on how to do these exercises most effectively.

OK, so great muscle tone, more endurance, and better sex: What's not to love? But wait, there really is more. If you want even more sizzle, exercise for 20 minutes right before sex and Weil promises "you'll never do better!"

Yep, Even More Tips for Better Sex

If pushups, crunches, and deadlifts aren't your idea of a sweaty good time, you've still got plenty of exercise options to keep things steamy.

Pick your pleasure: Rather walk, swim, or jog? How about Pilates or yoga? Maybe you prefer biking or skiing? Great, because, barring any health problems, cardiovascular exercise of any kind is a great way to stimulate your sex life, says Paul Frediani, ACSM, certified fitness coach, and co-author of Sex Flex: The Way to Enhanced Intimacy and Pleasure.

But you'll want to avoid the weekend warrior syndrome to get the most bang for your exercise buck, so aim for a workout five times a week for 30 minutes each time. Get your blood pumping regularly and the payoff is simple: endurance, more strength to hold positions, and the flexibility to hold them in comfort. Now that's sexy.

Bonus: Better Erections, Too?

Sure, we've already sold you on the benefits of exercise, but here's a bonus at no extra charge: Exercise may help beat erectile dysfunction, too. One study showed that in men over 50 years of age, physically active men had a 30% lower risk of erectile dysfunction than sedentary men. Studies also show a strong link between obesity and ED.

In fact, people who exercise often have a better body image than sedentary people, which can help them feel more sexually appealing. "One study found that 80% of men and 60% of females who exercised two to three times a week felt their sexual desirability was above average," Weil tells WebMD.

Want to have sex like you're 20 years younger? Weil cites a study that showed swimmers in their 60s have sex lives comparable to people in their 40s, while other research found that in men and women over 55, high levels of sexual activity were associated with higher degrees of fitness than in younger sedentary people.

"Although there can be many factors to exercise and sexual activity, what some studies suggest is that people who are fit and active have more sex than sedentary people." The bottom line? "Being strong and flexible with lots of endurance will put the spunk into sex for you and your partner," Weil says.

And don't forget to develop the most important muscle of all. "Sex begins with the muscle between the ears," says Frediani, "not the muscles in your abs, arms, or thighs. If you feel healthy and have a positive body imagine you will have a better sex life."

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