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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Health Benefit of Exercise that Shouldn't be Hush, Hush

Maintenance of a healthy body weight, improved cholesterol levels, reduced risk for chronic diseases, elevated mood--all of these benefits of exercise are readily discussed; but, are you aware that regular exercise can enhance your sexual health as well? Humans are sexual beings; and, sexual intimacy is a means by which healthy relationships can be fostered.  Sexual dysfunction can lead to stress and anxiety and decreased self-esteem.  Several studies have shown that regular exercise is associated with a decreased risk for sexual dysfunction.

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)
Sexuality can effect quality of life. Regular physical activity can increase and help to maintain robust sexual health.

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

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