Thought about leading a healthier lifestyle but haven't gotten
around to doing it? Here's a possible incentive: Experts say people who are
mentally and physically fit are more likely to have good sex lives.
"If you feel good about yourself, you are in a better
position to feel good about relationships, including your sex life," says
Karen Zager, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in New York City.
By Kimberly Goad
As Amanda Clark, 33, a caterer from Boston, walked down the aisle toward her fiancé, wearing a $15,000 gown and a 7-carat ring, she felt nothing but dread. I don't want to go through with this, she thought, with each step toward the altar.
Just two hours before the ceremony, Clark had gone for a dip in the ocean with her two sisters. When it was time to get ready, Clark wouldn't budge. "I couldn't get out of the water," she says. "It was like knowing you have a work meeting...
"When one is not feeling well, and is exhausted, it can
certainly have a negative impact on the quality of one's sex life," says
Saralyn Mark, MD, a senior medical adviser at the Office on Women's Health.
This may all seem intuitive, yet many people find the road to a
fitter mind and body to be bumpy, especially if it involves losing weight,
starting an exercise program, reducing stress, or getting enough sleep.
One big reward, though, is to look and feel better -- arguably
a plus for good romantic and sensual activities.
While there is no proven connection between a balanced diet and
bedroom performance, a poor diet can cause health problems that can possibly
interfere with sex.
Studies show animals that get too few calories tend to have
weakened immune systems, says John Allred, PhD, professor emeritus of nutrition
at Ohio State University. He says illness can be a big hurdle for pleasurable
"If you have heart disease, then you might be taking
medication that would inhibit sexual activity, or you might be afraid to have a
heart attack," says Allred. "If you have the flu, a high fever, or just
don't feel good ... any of these things would be a turn-off."
Mark Kantor, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and food
science at the University of Maryland, agrees, saying, "You will feel sexy
if you look and feel good."
A way to do that is to eat an overall balanced diet and to
exercise each day. The two go hand-in-hand, says Kantor, as demonstrated by
today's obesity problem, in which people eat too much food and aren't active