When you’re trying to please your partner, a weak core could exhaust you before either one of you has even finished, while poor cardio health could leave you gasping for air. In any case, being in good shape can not only make sex easier, but it can make it more enjoyable for you both.
There is scientific evidence that exercising on a regular basis can improve sexual function, and that men who exercise often are less likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction. While just getting regular activity in is a good place to start, there are some exercises that are better than others for sexual health and performance.
1. Cardiovascular Exercises
“Cardio is great for sexual health because it increases endurance, but also boosts testosterone and helps with weight loss,” explains Dr. Philip Werthman, urologist and director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Vasectomy Reversal in Los Angeles, California. Weight control can also prevent erectile dysfunction, says Werthman.
A meta-analysis of five studies involving nearly 400 men indicated that aerobic training in particular was effective at treating erectile dysfunction.
So, where do you begin? The Mayo Clinic recommends you start slowly, with a regular walking routine, working up to a jog. But you can also use an elliptical at the gym, or go for a hike or swim. Anything that gets and keeps your heart rate up for an extended period of time works. Pick an activity that you enjoy so you will stick with it.
2. Core Training
When we talk about your core, we’re talking about all of the muscles in your midsection.
Training your core muscles can be done in a variety of ways, including pushups and planks. To ensure you’re hitting all of the muscles of your core, include side planks, which will tone and strengthen the muscles along your sides, making it easier to switch positions and stay balanced.
Perform a side plank by lying on your side and raising yourself up onto your elbow, hip off the floor and legs either stacked or staggered on the floor. Your shoulder should be positioned directly above your elbow, and your body in a straight line. When this becomes easy, raise yourself further by coming off your elbow and onto your hand. Breathe and hold for several seconds before switching sides.
3. Balance Exercises
Your core will help you maintain balance, both in bed and when and if you get more adventurous. But there are additional body weight exercises that can ensure stability.
Mountain climbers combine many of the muscle groups you use during sex, including your core, shoulders, and arms, and require balance and coordination, too. Get in pushup position and bring one leg forward so your knee comes under your chest. Keep your back straight the entire time, and switch legs. Move back and forth between legs like you are running.
Side lunges are another good way to improve balance and coordination. Lunge to the left, keeping your knee directly over your foot. Push off and raise yourself to standing, lifting the leg off the ground and balancing on one leg momentarily before going back into a lunge position. Make sure to do both sides.
4. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Dr. Werthman says that men can perform Kegel or pelvic floor exercises much in the same way that women do. “It’s unclear whether this can improve stamina, but it may improve control of ejaculation,” he says.
Identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping the flow of urine midstream. Likewise, the muscles that keep you from passing gas also support your pelvic floor. The Mayo Clinic suggests tightening these muscles for three seconds before relaxing for three, aiming for three sets of 10 repetitions each day.