A Better Sex Life Through Exercise


There are many ways in which an individual can work to improve their overall health. For example, a person could create nutritional changes in their diet that could lead to living a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, an individual could learn to develop and improve his or her workout regime. Many people are also unaware of a specific unspoken health benefit of engaging in regular moderate-intensity physical activity.

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of engaging in regular moderate-intensity physical activity. These studies have demonstrated that engaging in physical exercise can help to improve sexual function, sexual arousal, orgasms, and libido. There are many different types of exercises that can help to improve an individual’s sex life. Some of these exercises can include running, swimming, yoga, and cycling.

A group of people running .

There are many different ways that individuals can work to include more physical activity in their lifestyles. Although it can be intimidating to start a new workout regime, it can be accomplished through goal setting and taking small steps at a time. Ultimately, individuals can receive these health benefits of physical exercise by increasing the duration and intensity of their workout regimes.

Health Benefits of Exercise

Physical exercise is best described as any bodily activity that improves or maintains an individual’s overall health and wellness. Additionally, both exercise and proper nutrition are essential factors that contribute to improving and maintaining a person’s health. Exercise has many widely known health benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds. Some of these commonly known health benefits include the following:¹

Two persons lifting weights.
  • Lowered risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Lowered risk for depression
  • Lowered risk for declines in cognitive function
  • Strengthened heart and lung function
  • Improved blood pressure management
  • Increased weight control management
  • Improved mental health and mood
  • Improved bone health

In order to receive these health benefits, it is recommended that adults, ages 18-64, engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. This can be distributed in smaller sessions throughout the week. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times per week is a common routine among active adults.² However, there is another unspoken health benefit for adults who regularly engage in physical activity, and that is an improved sex life.

How Exercise Can Improve Sexual Function

Two older women lifting weights at a park.

Engaging in regular levels of physical exercise has been proven to provide many benefits to an individual’s sexual function and performance.  Sex can be physically tiring, just like any other physical activity, so increased levels of moderate and vigorous cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming, and jogging can all help to increase stamina and conditioning for sexual performance. Additionally, exercise can cause the release of endorphins that can stimulate us, make us feel good, and release sex hormones that can help to increase libido and improve our overall mood.³

Individuals who exercise regularly are also more likely to have greater levels of self-confidence and a positive perception of self that can help them feel more sexually desirable. Regardless of age, research has shown that those who exercise on a regular basis have improved sexual desire, confidence, and orgasms. One study demonstrates a direct correlation between improved sexual function and improvements in physical health and wellness. Men who completed 6 hours of moderate exercise a week were more likely to have better erections, stronger orgasms, and more intercourse than those who did not.³ However, other factors like getting enough sleep, eating right, and reducing stress all play an important role for having a satisfying sex life.

Types of Physical Exercise That Can Help Improve Sexual Function

Regardless of skill level or age, the recommended amount of exercise remains at 150 minutes of moderate-intensity movement a week that can be achieved in a variety of ways.² It is  also important to note that it can be beneficial to consult with a health provider whenever starting a new exercise regimen. Starting small and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the physical exercise can help individuals smoothly transition into leading a more physically active lifestyle. Physical exercise can include running, swimming, jogging, hiking, etc. However, there are other exercises like yoga and kegel exercises that have been shown, by various research studies, to help lead to improved arousal, desire, orgasms and sexual function.⁵ ⁶

Animated characters of humans in different exercise poses.


Yoga is a method of exercise, relaxation, and healing that has gained a large following around the world. The exercises and stretches incorporated into yoga offer several noteworthy health benefits and improvements to an individual’s sex life. Some of these health benefits include the following:⁴

Three persons stretching on yoga mats.
  • Improved mood
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved joint pain and function
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved core strength

A recent research study has shown that regular yoga practice can improve several aspects of sexual function that include sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm.⁴ While yoga may appear to be an intimidating form of exercise, it can be learned in gradual steps. These gradual steps can be performed by modifying various yoga poses if a person is unable to perform the full versions at first. There are also different styles of yoga that can be more strenuous than others. If you would like to begin learning yoga, there are many free resources online like video instructions and classes that are widely available and easy to access.

Kegel Exercises

Anatomical descriptions of male and female perineal muscles.

Kegel exercises are exercises that can help a person strengthen their pubococcygeal muscles (PC muscle), these are the muscles that contract during orgasm. In fact, many people who practice kegel exercises experienced improved arousal and orgasm.⁵ The pubococcygeal muscles make up the pelvic floor muscles that lay along the bottom of the pelvic floor. Some people find it difficult to identify this muscle group since they are used less often than 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 determine 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. Kegel exercises are a discreet exercise that can be done in any place and at any time.

Concluding Remarks

One thing is for certain, the health benefits of physical exercise are enormous and help contribute to individuals living longer, healthier, and happier lives. However, it is estimated that nearly 60% of Americans do not exercise regularly, and only 18% of adults met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s physical activity guideline for physical exercise.⁶ Despite this, it is never too late to change exercise and lifestyle habits. Changes to help improve an individual’s diet or workout regime can be implemented in small and gradual steps. Implementing change through small and gradual steps can help individuals monitor their progress and stay positive and motivated. There are endless ways in which a person can work towards living a healthy, active, and happy life.

A person running.


1.  “Benefits of Physical Activity.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 June 2016.

2. “Physical Activity and Adults.” WHO, World Health Organization, 2017.

3. Simon, Ross M, et al. “The Association of Exercise with Both Erectile and Sexual Function in Black and White Men.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 20 Mar. 2015.

4. “Yoga and Female Sexual Function.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Health , The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Feb. 2010.

5. LeVay, Simon, Janice I. Baldwin, and John D. Baldwin. Discovering Human Sexuality. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2012. Print.

6. “Exercise or Physical Activity Data .” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Jan. 2017.

Last Updated: 16 October 2017.