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Can Exercise Boost Your Sex Drive? Here's What Science Says

Studies show how working out can impact a woman's libido.

The female body is quite complex and deserves to be treated with utmost self-love, celebration, respect, and tender care. Health-conscious women know the importance of nourishing their minds and bodies with goodness on a regular basis. After all, science has repeatedly proven that a nutritious diet, good exercise, restful sleep, stress control, wholesome friendships, and even a relaxing glass of wine (Many of the world's centenarians drink one per day!) can be incredibly rewarding in more ways than one. But there's another area of a woman's health that needs TLC, and it has to do with your libido.

Women can experience pain or deficits when it comes to sexual desire, arousal, satisfaction, lubrication, and more. These symptoms can result from a myriad of reasons, including a past hysterectomy or depression. If you are one of the women who suffers from any of these symptoms, don't despair. Science says that working out can help boost your libido. Of course, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional, like your OBGYN, before adding any major increases to your daily workout routine.

Read on to learn more, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Acute and chronic exercises can positively impact a woman's sex drive

woman running in nature in the cold weather

According to a review of previous studies, which was published by the Sexual Medicine Reviews journal, performing acute and chronic exercises may positively affect sexual dysfunctions in women. If you don't already know the difference between the two workouts, we spoke with Tim Liu, CSCS, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, who explains, "Acute is higher intensity, but shorter periods of work, whereas chronic exercises would be activities that are sustained for a longer period of time."

The review revealed that both workouts—acute and chronic—can constructively impact a woman's sexual function.

Related: 21 Foods To Increase Sex Drive & Libido, According to Science

Here are the acute exercises you can add to your routine

athletic woman bikes down hill with scenic mountain backdrop

The women who were observed had hysterectomies or have antidepressant-induced sexual disfunction. The review revealed enhanced physiological sexual arousal after the participants performed acute exercises. It was noted the workout generated a boost in both their endocrine system and sympathetic nervous system. Liu suggests strength training or HIIT on a cardio machine (such as a bike, treadmill, or rower) for acute exercises that can boost your libido.

Here are the chronic exercises you can add to your routine

woman relaxes while doing yoga by the water

Chronic exercises seem to improve sexual satisfaction "indirectly by preserving autonomic flexibility," the review notes, which in turn can positively impact your mood and cardiovascular health. The review also notes that having a confident self-body image resulting from doing chronic exercise can boost your sexual health. Liu suggests swimming, yoga classes, or cardio (such as hiking, running, or cycling) for longer periods of time. These exercises can also give your libido a nice boost.

Related: Amazing Weight Loss Foods for Better Sex

Here's how researchers measured sexual arousal in another study

doctor and patient having a somber conversation

A study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy tested 33 sexually active females between 18 and 27 years of age. The researchers measured the sexual arousal in the female participants by vaginal pulse amplitude (VPA). They recorded the VPA before and after autogenic training—"a relaxing technique." The training led to noticeable increases in heart rate variability (HRV), VPA, and subjective sexual arousal.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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