THERE is now another reason to get on that treadmill — it helps when it comes time for a roll in the hay. In fact, not only will regular exercise boost your sexual performance, but it also increases your desire for sex.
According to Dr Alverston Bailey, family and occupational health physician and author of the book Sexplanations: A guide to discussing sex and sexuality in the Caribbean, exercise is one of the most important and yet often overlooked components of a good sex life.
"Good sex is an act of intimacy that promotes health and well-being, providing us with significant physical and physiological benefits, especially if enjoyed in the context of a happy relationship," Dr Bailey said.
Various international studies have made the link between physical activity and frequency of sexual behaviour, claiming, among other things, that exercise encourages blood flow to the genital region, elevates the mood and keeps sex organs and muscles in better working condition.
"So a pre-sex work-out should definitely be part of your foreplay," Dr Bailey noted.
"Remember that good sex can be physically demanding, so improving cardiovascular fitness with aerobic activities such as walking running, cycling or swimming for at least 30 minutes, three times per week will help you and your partner perform longer and more frequently."
He said to strengthen the shoulders, chest and abdominals — all of which are active during sexual intercourse — one should add push-ups, sit-ups or crunches to their exercise regimen.
Dr Bailey said short, intense exercises are also linked to increased testosterone levels among men, which may stimulate sexual interest and behaviour. However, he noted that too much exercise is associated with a decrease in testosterone and other male hormones which may decrease sexual desire.
And it's not just about sexual fulfilment. Exercise has other benefits too.
"A good work-out will elevate your endorphin levels, relieve stress, promote weight loss and rejuvenate the body," Dr Bailey said.
"An active exercise programme will therefore fill you with renewed vigour, boost your confidence and slow the ageing process."