Boost your sex life with diet, exercise -- and a can-do attitude
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column
Better sex through diet and exercise? You bet. Eating the right kinds of foods and getting plenty of muscle-strengthening exercise is just the prescription for a healthier sex life.
A dash of positive attitude ties it all together: You have to believe you're hot if you want to make things sizzle in the bedroom. Being sexy and self-confident is just a state of mind.
Attitude Is Everything
Believe in yourself. Reward your successful weight loss with an alluring outfit or lingerie that showcases your new figure -- even if you're still far from your goal. If you feel good about your body, that feeling is communicated loud and clear to your sweetheart.
We all would love to have the bodies of supermodels, but let's be realistic: Your main squeeze is loving the new you and your renewed sense of well-being -- a positive byproduct of your diet and exercise routine!
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and a positive attitude are only the beginning. It also helps to get plenty of sleep, quit smoking, and control the stress in your life. Not only will you look better, you'll feel good about yourself -- a real boost in the between-the-sheets department.
The Secret to Sexual Prowess
Both men and women can get great results if they follow the advice from Lynn Fischer's book, The Better Sex Diet. The author suggests that if you eat a heart-healthy diet, the benefits to your heart will improve the blood flow to other organs in the body. And increasing the blood flow to sexual organs will increase desire and function.
The theory is simple. Good health is an integral part of good sex, and eating healthfully and exercising regularly is the pathway to good health.
The book is based on Dean Ornish's research on reversing heart disease with a very low-fat, almost vegetarian, diet. Fischer recommends eating a low-fat diet with lots of fiber, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and lean sources of dairy and protein. No mystery here, just creative packaging that reiterates the message that a healthy diet goes a long way toward a satisfying lifestyle.
Getting regular physical activity is an easy way to boost your sexual prowess. "Adults who exercise regularly not only have increased levels of desire, but also enhanced ability to perform sexually and greater sexual satisfaction," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
To strengthen your heart and help build endurance, add a few high-intensity bouts to your fitness routine. For example, increase the incline on the treadmill, or increase the speed, for a few minutes at a time during your workout.
Strength training is also a good idea, to build shapely muscle and to keep your body strong enough to handle all your day-to-day activities (including sex).
One exercise for women is the Kegel -- the same exercise gynecologists recommend to keep the pelvic floor strong during pregnancy. These muscles can increase pleasure sensations during sex. They're the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine when you're using the bathroom. Just practice tightening them whenever you think about it during the day.
Staying fit works wonders for so many parts of the body. With as little as 30 minutes a day of regular exercise, you will burn calories, build muscle, and feel more confident, more vivacious, and virile for Valentine's Day and every day thereafter!
Recharge and Energize
A good night's sleep goes a long way toward ensuring that you have enough energy for a roll in the hay. It's hard to be in the mood for love when you are exhausted!
It's also important to have the right frame of mind. So leave your troubles behind, forget about work -- unwind and experience the pleasure of your partner. A healthy sex life needs to be a priority. Take a hot bath, a quiet walk, or whatever it takes to help you relax.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. It is no secret that excessive alcohol can dampen your sexual energy. Plan ahead, and limit your consumption to one or two drinks before an evening of romance.
Remember, a lifestyle that's healthy for you overall will be healthy for your sex life -- period. Boost your sexual potency naturally with a healthy diet, lots of physical activity, and an attitude that screams, "I'm worth it!"
Originally published Feb. 6, 2004
Medically updated Jan. 3, 2004.
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