Regular exercise has a great number of benefits, like reducing your risk of cancer and diabetes, improving sleep and, of course, helping maintain a healthy weight. There's at least one more important benefit—regular exercise can improve your sex life.
According to an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, physical activity is associated with a lower risk for erectile dysfunction. The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that clinical exercise interventions have been shown to improve sexual responses. And the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality reported that people who exercise often "feel better about themselves, believe they are more physically attractive and enjoy sex more often than those who don't."
In line with my Pilates and alignment training, I created a series of exercises for those who want to improve their sexual performance. Each of these exercises targets the reproductive areas of the body with increased blood flow and muscular strength. In addition, these exercises target the small stabilizing muscles that aid in the biomechanics of basic sexual positions.
If you are going to make love often and at your best, you'll want to practice Love-ilates.
Circle of Love
Stand with your knees soft and in a relaxed posture. Slowly breathe in and circle the arms up and around to the side, opening the oblique muscles between the ribs and hips. Hold this position and breathe two deep breaths. Circle your arms down toward your pelvis and up around to the other side. Hold this position and breathe two deep breaths. Reverse the circle and repeat five times.
This stretch helps strengthen the abdominals, internal and external obliques.
Start on the floor with your knees bent and hips lifted off the floor in a bridge position. Keeping your rib cage lower and belly pressed into the spine, sway your hips side to side like swinging in a hammock. Rock side-to-side for 30 seconds, lower the hips to the floor and repeat.
This strengthens the pelvic muscles and helps increase hip flexibility.
Start by lying face down on the floor with arms and legs extended. Lift your arms and legs 1 to 2 inches off the floor while keeping your gaze downward and chin neutral. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight to 12 times.
This exercise strengthens the back and glutes to help stabilize the spine. It reduces lower back injuries, which, according to research, have been reported as a common injury that reduces sexual activity.
Start on the floor with your knees bent and hips lifted off the floor in a bridge position. With feet wide, squeeze your knees together and add a Kegel contraction at the same time. Exhale on each thigh squeeze and repeat for eight to 12 repetitions.
Increasing strength in the pelvic floor muscles is important for sex. Incorporating the muscles of the inner thighs, hamstrings and glutes in conjunction with these movements heightens sensitivity to this area.
One More Tip for Better Sex
One other healthy regimen to include with regular Love-ilates is eating watermelon. According to a recent study at Texas A&M's Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, watermelon contains ingredients that relaxes blood vessels similar to the effects of erectile dysfunction prescription drugs and may even increase sexual drive.
Snack healthy, exercise often and Love-ilates!
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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