Why fit women have much BETTER SEX
Researchers have made some important discoveries about the body and brain and its connection to sex and exercise. "Being physically active seems to be a potent aphrodisiac for women," noted Tina M. Penhollow, PhD, an associate professor of health promotion at Florida Atlantic University in the United States, who has published research on how exercise affects sexual self-esteem.
Studies have shown that women who frequently exercise become aroused more quickly and are able to orgasm faster and more intensely. University of Texas at Austin researchers found that female study participants were 169 per cent more aroused (as indicated by blood flow in genital tissue) while watching a short porn flick after 20 minutes of vigorous cycling than when they watched it without riding beforehand.
When women get excited, blood surges into the clitoral bulbs, making the entire region around the vagina responsive to pleasure. Cardiovascular exercise can help blood pump faster to the right parts of a woman's body; it can also reduce chronic inflammation, which can damage blood vessels and decrease circulation, putting a damper on her sexual bliss.
During a single strength workout, a woman's body produces higher levels of growth hormone and testosterone, hormones that play a pivotal role in muscle growth - and sex drive.
A 2013 study found that hitting the weight room regularly (three days a week) keeps levels of these hormones higher. That, along with the stress-busting benefits of pumping iron, can stoke greater sexual desire, noted Kim Chronister, PsyD, author of The Psychology Behind Fitness Motivation.
The tissue that forms the clitoris contains 8,000 nerve fibers that extend into the entire pelvic region, including the vaginal walls. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that physical activity was able to prime a woman's body for sexual activity by making her more sensitive to touch and increasing the efficacy of stimuli, likely by revving up a network of neurons known as the sympathetic nervous system, which controls her arousal, noted Lori Brotto, Ph.D., director of the Sexual Health Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Women who exercise frequently and report higher levels of personal fitness are more likely to rate their desirability and sexual performance high above average. But it's not necessarily because of a slim physique. Researchers found that women of all sizes who report greater body appreciation (for their physical abilities, such as progress in the weight room) were more easily aroused, enjoyed sex more and had more orgasms. Exercise transforms the way you view your body - and how you enjoy sex.
When Italian researchers put a small group of obese women with sexual complaints in a supervised weight-loss programme (that included diet and about 10 hours of low-intensity exercise per week), they not only lost an average of 35 pounds but also reported higher levels of lubrication and sexual frequency after 16 weeks.
Study authors note that weight loss does more than improve body image: It also helps improve insulin resistance. Overweight women whose bodies can't use the hormone to process glucose also tend to have lower levels of testosterone, which dampens self-confidence and sexual response.
HELPS KEEP FOCUS
Exercise can help sync your mind to your body, as well as quiet your racing brain so you can focus on the task at hand, stated Lori Brotto, PhD, director of the Sexual Health Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Women who take short, quick breaths as they reach climax - rather than holding their breath - may reduce carbon dioxide in the blood, possibly intensifying vaginal contractions. Yoga can help women focus on their breathing, while high-intensity interval training increases lung capacity, ensuring much better breathing control during your pleasurable experience.
Regular physical activity improves stamina and trains your muscles to hold out longer by using energy more efficiently, noted sex therapist Denise Onofrey. Which means you won't have to pause prematurely to catch your breath or give your aching arms or tired legs a break during a healthy bout of hectic sex.
IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
Exercise leads to an immediate rush of mood-lifting, stress-dissolving endorphins; it's such a potent antidepressant that some research suggests regular workouts are as effective as psychiatric medications.