Feature Archive

Better Shape for Better Sex

Exercise might help maximize your pleasure in the bedroom.

WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

Gush on and on about the usual benefits of regular exercise -- helping to keep blood pressure at normal levels, weight control, and overall well-being -- and before long even the dedicated exercisers within earshot will be stifling yawns.

But drop just a hint about how regular workouts can improve life in the bedroom, and you've got the attention of even the most stubborn couch spuds.

So is it true? If you're in good physical shape from months or years of regular workouts, does it really mean you'll have better sex?

The Workout-Sex Connection

Richard Cotton, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise in San Diego, Calif., can't point to any particular scientific study that tracked gym visits and nights of romance. But he says the link between exercise and sex makes perfect sense.

Here's why. There are three primary components of fitness, he says: "Endurance, strength, and flexibility. If you are in shape, you have more aerobic endurance, muscular strength, and overall flexibility -- all of which can aid a person during sex. Not to mention, if you are in shape you will reduce your risk of injury during sex -- such as pulling a muscle."

Study after study has shown that people who are physically fit are less likely to let stress bother them. A study published in November 1999 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that college students who exercised regularly were better able than their non-exercising classmates to take life's daily stresses in stride. If you rarely feel stressed out, it follows that you'll rarely be too cranky for sex. And when you're less stressed, you can be much more focused on improving your sex life.