Exercise has many commonly known benefits, including a longer lifespan, better weight control, stronger bones, increased energy levels, and improved mood. Physical activity lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and depression. It also prevents type-2 diabetes, a serious condition that is completely preventable with appropriate diet and exercise.
While these are all great reasons to exercise, there is one more significant advantage: a better sex life. Recent research indicates that people who are physically fit get more enjoyment from sex and are more likely to be sexually active. Regardless of age, regular exercise results in greater sexual confidence, desire and ability to attain orgasm. Experts are not sure as to how and why aerobic exercise boosts the libido. One theory, however, is that exercise leads to endorphin release, creating a sense of well-being that makes people more receptive to sexual activity.
Simply thinking about physical activity during sex increases muscle tension. Your body is the vehicle that makes sexual intercourse possible, so keeping one’s heart and body healthy can make for a much better ride. There are even specific exercises, such as Kegel Excercises, that build stronger pelvic floor muscles to increase sexual response, pleasure and the likelihood of reaching orgasm. The Kegel Exercise is a simple method to improve control of one’s sexual response. Kegel exercises focus on the pubococcygeal muscle (PC muscle) that runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone. The PC muscle lies beneath the sex organs and is responsible for the contractions experienced during orgasm. Women and men can exercise their PC muscle by repeatedly tightening and releasing it. Strengthening this muscle will help in gaining voluntary control over it, thus allowing you to improve your overall sexual performance and satisfaction. The workouts can increase the strength of a male’s erection and help with erectile dysfunction. Kegels are not only used to improve sexual response, but are also commonly done by pregnant women. Pressure is put on the bladder of a pregnant woman, so these exercises help to support the growing weight of the fetus, improve bladder control and prevent involuntary leakage. The best aspect of Kegel exercises is that they can be done discretely in almost any situation.
How to locate and exercise the PC muscle:
The pubococcygeal muscles are one of the pelvic floor muscles that lay along the bottom of the pelvic floor. Some people find it difficult to identify this muscle since they are used less often than various other muscle groups. If you try to stop the flow of urine mid-stream, the muscle that you feel tightening is your PC muscle. Women can find out if they are squeezing the PC muscle correctly by inserting a finger in the vagina. If a tightening is felt around your finger while squeezing, then you are clenching the correct muscle. To strengthen this muscle, squeeze two times quickly then squeeze a third time, count to ten, release and repeat. When exercising the PC muscle, it is important that you do not squeeze or tense other muscles groups at the same time. Avoid tensing the muscles in your legs, abdomen, or buttocks. No one will be aware that you are performing Kegels, which makes it an easy workout to complete on your own time, whether it is in class, at work, while on the couch or even at the gym.
One thing is for certain: the benefits of exercise are endless and can lead to a longer, healthier and happier life. Despite the advantages of an active life, more than 60% of Americans do not exercise regularly, while a mere 18.8% of adults in 2009 met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity.
The Center for Disease Control recommends three or more sessions per week of "activities that last 20 minutes or more at a time ... that require moderate to vigorous levels of exertion." Regardless of your current exercise habits, it is never too late to begin a workout program. You could join a gym, hire a personal trainer and learn how to exercise correctly and safely. Consult a doctor if you are just beginning an exercise regimen to maximize safety.
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Last Updated 28 October 2012