Is it the motion in the ocean or does size really count? That debate is likely to rage on forever, but one thing's sure: Men's fitness and overall health will definitely impact their performance in the bedroom.
In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a whopping 52 percent of American men experience erectile dysfunction, which affects 40 percent of men age 40, and 70 percent of men age 70. As though that weren't enough, men who have sedentary lifestyles and conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at an even higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
But, guess what - hardening of the arteries, the condition that restricts blood flow to the penis, doesn't start when you're in your 40s, but during your teen years. So that means even a man in his early 20s may already have some signs of decline.
That's the bad news. The good news is that men who exercise more have better erectile and sexual function, according to a report published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
According to that report, men who did the equivalent of two hours of strenuous exercise (like running or swimming), 3.5 hours of moderate exercise, or 6 hours of light exercise a week had higher sexual function.
So exercise is good not just for your waistline; it does wonders for your sex life, too. And although this article focuses on men, exercise is equally good for women's sexual health (I'll focus on the ladies in the next column).
To help the fellows up their game, here are five tips to better sexual health and fitness:
1. Keep those arteries clean. Though it's easier said than done, eating a healthier diet is the best way to keep those arteries clean and blood flowing to your penis. For most men, that's going to mean eating out less. That's a tough one, but face the facts: Most restaurants are not in the nutrition business and they couldn't care less about clogging up your arteries and disrupting your precious blood flow. The only person who cares about your erection is you. So keep those arteries clean by cooking up sizzling, sexy, and delectable high anti-oxidant vegetables, fruits, and lean protein.
2. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Sure, you've heard this one before. Problem is, most people don't do it. The only beverage your body really needs is water. All your trillions of cells need H20, fellows. You don't need beer, juice, or soda - it's just more stuff clogging up your arteries.
3. Lace up those sneakers. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. Keeping your cardiovascular system conditioned is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do to maintain your sexual health. If running is not for you, try taking the stairs or skipping a little rope. Climbing real steps or jumping rope for as little as 10 to 15 minutes really gets the heart pumping. If that's too strenuous, try recreational bike riding or take a daily stroll for 30 to 45 minutes. Just get moving, because the last thing you want during sex is to get winded and lose your stamina.
4. Keep doing push-ups. To really maintain staying power, men need strong arms and shoulders. Good old-fashioned push-ups pack a powerful punch, especially if you like the traditional face-to-face, missionary position. Push-ups will keep your core tight and strengthen the triceps and shoulders to keep you going strong.
5. Practice vertical moves. If you have a preference for vertical positions, keeping the legs, quads, and hamstrings strong is a must. Strength moves like squats and lunges will keep your legs strong, improve your balance, and make you better between the sheets.
Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesdays monthly.