A Health Benefit of Exercise that Shouldn't be Hush, Hush
What Research Has Shown:
- Erectile dysfunction is more likely to occur in men who are overweight and/or are sedentary. (ACE)
- For both men and women, a higher body mass index is associated with decreased sexual satisfaction. (Lindeman 2007)
- Individuals who engage in increased levels of physical activity are more likely to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction, with active men reporting greater levels of satisfaction than active women; however, women who perceive themselves as having increased physical flexibility report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than those women who perceive themselves as being less flexible. (Lindeman 2007)
- For men, an increased fitness level is associated with improved perceptions of sexual desirability and performance. For women, an increased fitness level is associated with an improved perception of sexual desirability. (Penhollow and Young, 2004)
- Exercise facilitates sympathetic nervous system activity and improves blood flow and circulation to the genital area, enhancing arousal. (Hamilton 2008 and LaFalce & McNamara, 2010)
- Regular physical activity improves endurance and strength, both of which are related to improved sexual function. (Penhollow and Young 2004)
- Short bursts of intense exercise increases testosterone levels in men, which can enhance sexual interest and behavior. (Penhollow and Young 2004)
- Exercise that burns an extra 200 calories per day has been shown to have the most benefit: however, over training can decrease testosterone levels, thereby decreasing sexual desire. (ACE and Penhollow & Young 2004)
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
American Council on Exercise (ACE)
Californian Journal of Health Promotion 2007, Volume 5, Issue 4, 40-51; "Effect of Exercise on Reported Physical Sexual Satisfaction of university Students"; Holly Lindeman et al.,.
Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 7, October 5, 2004; "Sexual Desirability and Sexual Performance: Does Exercise and Fitness Really Matter?"; Tina M. Penhollow and Michael Young.
International Society for Sexual Medicine 2008; "The Roles of Testosterone and Alpha-Amylase in Exercise-Induced Sexual Arousal in Women"; Lisa Hamilton et al.,.
The Chronicle, November 15, 2010; interview with Dr. Erin McNamara by Maggie LaFalce