It’s not just Kegels that can boost your sex life. Research shows that exercising your whole body—through strength training, cardio, and flexibility workouts like yoga—can up your bedroom skills and O factor. Check out these five reasons to get sweaty before you hop into bed.
1. It’ll increase confidence.
Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy: The better you think you are at something (sex included), the better you’ll be. And research from the University of Arkansas shows that people who are physically fit not only to think of themselves as hotties, but as better in bed. For instance, in the study, 60 percent of women who exercised four to five days a week said they were above average in the attractiveness department, while 80 percent said they were above average in the bedroom.
2. It’ll boost your sex drive.
Your body produces testosterone to help repair and build stronger muscles after strength training. It’s men’s primary sex hormone, but it can increase your sex drive and satisfaction, too, says sexologist Ava Cadell, PhD. (While cardio has some benefit, strength training has the biggest influence on testosterone—not to mention sexy, toned muscles.)
3. It’ll fight stress.
By now, you probably know that exercise fights stress. But in case you haven’t connected the dots, that also means better sex. According to research from the Kinsey Institute, women’s sex drives are more sensitive to stress than those of men. Luckily, by upping your levels of feel-good endorphins and dopamine while slashing libido-wrecking adrenaline and cortisol, regular exercise can increase your sexual desire and keep you from thinking through to-do lists during an otherwise intimate moment, Cadell says.
4. It’ll boost down-there blood flow.
University of Texis at Austin researchers had women watch a travel film followed by a porno on two separate occasions, one where they biked for 20 minutes beforehand and one where they didn’t. Blood flow to the women’s nether regions was 169 percent greater during the X-rated film when they cycled. And a rush of blood does more than put your partner’s manparts at attention. More blood flow means more sensitivity, and more sensitivity means more intense (and likely) orgasms.
5. It’ll improve endurance.
It doesn’t take much effort to lie back and enjoy the missionary position, but if you want to hit every position in the Kama Sutra, you’re going to need strength, endurance, and serious flexibility, Cadell says. A workout routine that balances strength training and cardiovascular exercise as well as flexibility-promoting exercises like yoga will help you score all of the above.