And now for a topic you don’t see very often on the pages of running magazines or in the posts of your preferred online running forums: Running and sex. If you haven’t heard by now, numerous studies have proven time and time again that regular exercise can have positive effects on sex drive for both men and women. Obviously, running is no exception. But how will a regular training schedule improve performance both on your next race and between the sheets? Let’s check it out:
I’m listing this one first, because in my humble opinion, it is the most important. The saying “you must love yourself before you can love others” rings true in this case. Admit it: it’s hard to enjoy sex when you aren’t comfortable or confident in your own body. But the good news is that regular exercise, like running, has been proven over and over to have a positive effect on self esteem and an improved perception of body image. How many times have you started a run in a bad mood, then at the end of the run felt like you could conquer the world? I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Running makes you feel good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself can result in a more relaxed, more enjoyable sexual experiences. And let’s face it, the more enjoyable sexual experiences you have, the more likely you are to want MORE of those in the future. Increased sex drive for the win!
There’s no denying that sex is (or at least can be) a vigorous, physical activity. And like any vigorous, physical activity, it’s not nearly as easy…nor fun…if you aren’t in shape. The more you run, the greater your cardiovascular capacity and muscular strength become, and the longer you are able to endure vigorous, physical, activity before fatiguing. I’ll let you use your imagination as to how this may carry over into bedroom activities. Bonus: the increased endurance also results in an increased blood flow to all parts of your body…including the genitals. And that increased blood flow can cause an overall feeling of increased arousal for both men and women.
Testosterone, Endorphins, and Adrenaline
Regular exercise promotes the release of testosterone in both men and women. Increased testosterone in women, leads to the desire for more frequent sex, heightened sexual arousal, elevated moods (see “self esteem” above), greater muscle and bone density (see “increased endurance”) and higher energy levels . For men, increased testosterone levels can result in more frequent erections, increased sexual urges, and greater muscle and bone density. For both men and women, increased testosterone levels reduce depression and chronic fatigue, which can both be mood killers in the bedroom. Now, we’ve all heard of the “Runners High”; after prolonged exercise, our body releases the chemicals endorphins and adrenaline, which leave us feeling happy and on top of the world. But did you know the runner’s high isn’t the only positive outcome of endorphins and adrenaline? The release of endorphins has been shown to increase sexual arousal or even orgasm, as well as reduce stress levels. In short, happy people have more sex, and people who have more sex are happier…and healthier.
But, as with anything good in life, too much can be a bad thing.
Over exercising and over training can not only cause a fatigue and injury, both of which can negatively affect your sex life, but the body may respond to overtraining by limiting production of the hormones related to sex. So, as always, moderation is key. Respect your body with a balance of regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep and recovery, to ensure you’ll be showing up with your “A game” to your next run and your next romp in the sack.