To "keep your sex life awesome," exercise physiologist Rich Weil suggests these top five "sexercises." Though they're geared toward men, they also work great for women who want a boost in their sex life.
Pushups. If you're going to pick just one exercise to do, this is the one to go for, Weil says, "for all the obvious reasons." If you can’t do basic training-quality pushups at first, start with wall presses (essentially pushups done against the wall), aiming for 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. When you're ready, progress to knee pushups on the floor, making sure to keep your back straight (squeeze your butt and suck in your gut) while you slowly touch your nose to the ground. Once you're ready to kick it up a notch, progress to traditional hand-and-toe pushups.
Abdominals. Weil, director of the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, says your abs are a critical sex-boosting body area to work on. "After all," he says, "you have to use your abdominal muscles during sex." Weil suggests starting your ab workout with good old-fashioned crunches. Lie on your back, hands supporting your neck, knees bent, and your feet on the floor. Then bring your body up just enough to get your shoulders off the ground. Do 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
For additional ab oomph, Weil suggests men and women also do bridges. Lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor, lift your hips up and down for 3 sets of 15 reps. Men can also try pelvic tilts. Standing up or lying down, straighten your lower back and pull your belly button in until your lower back touches the wall or floor. Women can try Kegels. Contract your pelvic muscles -- the ones you'd use to stop the flow of urine; squeeze the muscles tight for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds. Do 10 to 15 repetitions three times a day.
Deadlifts. This exercise will keep your back as strong as it can be, Weil says, and give your legs and torso a workout too. Deadlifts, in which you start in a neutral bent-over position and raise a weighted barbell or dumbbells from the ground, are easy to do -- and easy to do wrong. So technique is important to prevent injury. Get some pro tips online or at your gym to be sure you're getting the most out of doing deadlifts.
Torso side bends and twists. To get the most from this exercise, as well as the next one, head to the gym. The effort is worth it because torso side bends and twists will keep your upper body strong, Weil says, and give you stamina. "Do them on the cable crossover machine for maximum effect."
Pushing or pulling exercise in the gym. Rows, flyes, and lateral raises on the cable crossover machine will do a great job of enhancing your performance in the bedroom, according to Weil. Remember to get a few quick tips from a pro on how to do these exercises most effectively.
If you want even more sizzle, exercise for 20 minutes right before sex and, Weil promises, "you’ll never do better!"
Even More Tips for Better Sex
If pushups, crunches, and deadlifts aren't your idea of a sweaty good time, you've still got plenty of exercise options to help keep things steamy.
Pick your pleasure. Rather walk, swim, or jog? How about Pilates or yoga? Maybe you prefer biking or skiing? Great, because Paul Frediani, fitness coach and co-author of Sex Flex: The Way to Enhanced Intimacy and Pleasure, says barring any health problems, cardiovascular exercise of any kind is a great way to stimulate your sex life.
But you'll want to avoid the weekend warrior syndrome to get the most bang for your exercise buck. Aim for a 30-minute workout five times a week. Get your blood pumping regularly and the payoff is simple: endurance, more strength to hold positions, and the flexibility to hold them in comfort. Now that's sexy.
Bonus: Better Erections
You may already be sold on the benefits of exercise, but here's a bonus at no extra charge. Exercise may help beat erectile dysfunction. One study showed that, for men over 50, being physically active means a 30% lower risk of erectile dysfunction as compared to men who are sedentary. Studies also show a strong link between obesity and ED.
In addition, people who exercise often have a better body image than people who don't. This can help them feel more sexually appealing. "One study found that 80% of men and 60% of females who exercised two to three times a week felt their sexual desirability was above average," Weil says.
Want to have sex like you're 20 years younger? Weil cites a study that showed swimmers in their 60s have sex lives comparable to people in their 40s. Other research found that, for men and women over 55, high levels of sexual activity were associated with higher degrees of fitness when compared to younger inactive people.
"Although there can be many factors to exercise and sexual activity, what some studies suggest is that people who are fit and active have more sex than sedentary people." The bottom line? "Being strong and flexible with lots of endurance will put the spunk into sex for you and your partner," Weil says.
And don't forget to develop the most important muscle of all. "Sex begins with the muscle between the ears," says Frediani, "not the muscles in your abs, arms, or thighs. If you feel healthy and have a positive body image, you will have a better sex life."