Exercise is known to be essential for one’s overall health. A new study states that this includes sexual health as well. It notes that men with higher waist circumference or a higher BMI have 50 per cent more chances of erectile dysfunction. The results were published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
In yet another study published in 2021 in the same journal, it was noted that women who worked out six hours per week showed lower sexual distress and resistance in their clitoral arteries compared to those women who did not exercise. It also indicated that those who exercised showed higher levels of desire, arousal, lubrication and orgasm.
With obesity and lack of exercise, 43 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men have some form of sexual dysfunction, according to the National Institutes of Health.
According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information review, available literature provides ample evidence of the beneficial effects of physical exercise on hormones, such as oxytocin, cortisol, or estrogen , which seem to affect sexual function and arousal in particular. Similarly, exercise appears to activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in both sexual arousal and orgasm. As for traditional forms of exercise, it has been proven that physical resistance training and aerobic physical training are effective in improving sexual function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Dr Sheetal Rane, Head of Department, Physiotherapy, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai mentioned that a regular exercise routine helps improve flexibility, strength and endurance which “increases stamina needed for sexual activity”. “Aerobic exercises improve overall blood circulation and prevent blockages in blood vessels. This is beneficial in maintaining blood flow to sexual organs as well. In this way, it helps to prevent erectile dysfunction in men which is quite common as one age,” said Dr Rane.
According to Rane, exercises also help in the release of endorphins in the body which are also known as ‘happiness hormones’. “These are known to inhibit pain, relieve stress, boost happiness, and promote pleasure,” said Dr Rane.
Exercises in any form keeps a healthy flow of blood, which is instrumental in keeping a sound mental and emotional health, along with intimate relationships, added Dr Tushar Tayal, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Superspecialtiy Hospital, Gurugram.