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.
By Ellen Seidman
It's 8 a.m., and I'm caught up in the get-the-kids-to-school shuffle: shoes, breakfast, knapsacks, and no, you can't bring the vacuum cleaner for show-and-tell. Suddenly, I catch my husband giving me a funny look. "What?" I say, wondering if I have toothpaste on my cheek. "Do you know what today is?" Dave says with a wistful smile.
Um. Wait. Oops. Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. I knew it was coming up, but kid stuff had taken over my brain — signing up for swimming lessons,...
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.
People who are out of shape are often less motivated to have sex. They tend to tire more easily, and have a lower sex drive and less stamina than folks who work out.
Exercise can also have profound effects on your mind, improving your feeling of well-being. And when you're feeling happy, you're feeling sexy. There's also the extra benefit that when your mood's elevated, your optimistic outlook will translate into bedroom satisfaction.
Breath control is an important part of good sex, and that, too, is built up by regular exercise. More generally, the discipline of exercising on a regular basis helps a person feel in control of his or her life -- both the passions and the daily grind.