Updated: Feb 04, 2022 18:53 IST
Los Angeles [US], February 4 (ANI): It is a known fact that exercise is an essential ingredient for a fit body, a healthy mind and a good life. Even if a person works out at least twice or thrice a week, it has a positive impact on their physical health. But what about sexual health? Can exercise contribute to it? Recent studies reveal more about this.
A study published in ‘The Journal of Sexual Medicine’ found that men with either a high waist circumference or elevated BMI were 50 per cent more likely to have erectile dysfunction, while approximately half of the obese women reported problems with sexual activity, desire and performance, at least some of the time, said another study, published in ‘Obesity’, as reported in CNN.
According to the National Institutes of Health, forty-three per cent of women and 31 per cent of men have some form of sexual dysfunction, with obesity and a lack of exercise often being factors.
Women who exercised up to six hours per week, in contrast, showed lower sexual distress and resistance in their clitoral arteries compared to women who did not exercise, as reported in a 2021 study published in ‘The Journal of Sexual Medicine’. The exercisers also showed significantly higher levels of desire, arousal, lubrication and orgasm.
“This is truly a medical issue we should be dealing with as part of someone’s overall health and well-being,” said Dr Karyn Eilber, a urologist at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a sexual wellness expert. “But there’s still a stigma around the topic.”
There shouldn’t be, said Eilber and other experts. Although sex is not spoken about openly, it is still an undeniable fact that sex is a critical part of being human, and its significance is not just restricted to reproduction. Quality sexual activity has a major impact on one’s mental and emotional health, quality of life and the strength of one’s intimate relationships. A series of studies have backed this up, indicating that sex and affectionate touch are critical for multiple aspects of well-being, such as feeling understood, cared for and accepted.
These are the positive outcomes of exercising regularly:
Blood circulation gets a boost: All aerobic exercise increases one’s circulation, or blood flow, and helps in ensuring a healthy circulatory system. A strong, smooth blood flow is key for arousal. In men, it aids in erections, and in women, it’s instrumental in vaginal lubrication and clitoral sensation.
It increases endurance: When one works out regularly, they develop more endurance. That’s important for their sexual health. The Mayo Clinic has compared a bout of sexual intercourse to climbing two or three flights of stairs. And a study by the ‘National Institutes of Health’ has said that a half-hour of sexual activity can burn 125 calories for men and nearly 100 for women, similar to walking at a 3 mile-per-hour pace.
It helps individuals become more confident: Once an individual establishes a routine exercise regimen, they feel fitter and leaner. This can in turn, improve their self-esteem. “Nothing is sexier than self-confidence,” Eilber said. Indeed, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Personality found women had more romantic interest in men with higher social confidence, whether that confidence was innate or trained.
Decrease in stress levels: Being stressed, anxious or depressed can dampen one’s libido. Depression is often related to problems with sexual functioning, and the more severe the depression, the worse the problems, according to a 2018 study published in the ‘Indian Journal of Psychiatry’. The study found this is especially true when it comes to sexual desire and satisfaction.
Luckily, exercise has been proved to be great at combating stress, anxiety and depression, which can translate into a revived sex drive. Antidepressants are also notorious for negatively affecting your libido, Eilber said, so if exercising can help a person lower their dosage or scrap them altogether, all the better.
Overall health of individuals improves: When a person adopts a regular exercise program, their general health also improves. Working out may even help them stave off serious conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which sometimes requires medications that inhibit arousal. These two medical conditions also can damage the tiny arteries in the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction. It is noteworthy here, that erectile dysfunction is often one of the first noticeable side effects of high blood pressure and diabetes.
How much exercise is necessary to improve one’s sexual health, depends on the person. Hence, it is advisable to check with one’s physician. Experts said that even short periods of exercise, such as regular brisk walks, can improve one’s sexual well-being.
If you still aren’t convinced it’s time to grab your sneakers and start moving, consider this warning from Eilber. “There is something to that phrase, ‘Use it or lose it,'” she said. “Your pelvic organs are like any other body part. If you don’t use them, you’ll lose function.” (ANI)