Recently I came across an article in The New York Times reporting that successful hip and knee replacement surgeries can increase sexual activity and improve the quality of one's love life: "Surprise Path to Better Sex: Hip Surgery."
Excited by the possibilities, I announced this finding to my workout class for men and women over 60. Knowing that several of them had had hip and knee replacements, I thought they'd be more than a little interested.
Everyone seemed to have a lively reaction to the news report, including a student who had recently had a hip replaced. "Don't tell my husband!" she shouted. A very fit, healthy class member said that if it would increase her sexual activity and improve her love life, she would post on her Match.com profile that she just had a knee replacement. Even a gentleman nervous about his upcoming hip replacement surgery laughed.
I wasn't expecting such amusing responses and it got me thinking. Could all the exercises I teach to enhance balance, flexibility, and confidence produce similar results in the bedroom?
As a fitness expert concerned with full-body wellness, it occurred to me that I'd like to develop a mini-regimen that also improves the quality of my students' sexual lives. Getting in shape for sex would increase their interest and help them enjoy it more, while adding to their overall strength and stability -- creating a cycle of improved muscular strength and sexual enjoyment. What could be better?
Keeping in the spirit of having fun, the following six exercises are designed to increase overall agility and strength, and also warm up the muscles used while having sex. Enjoy these exercises to keep you fit, flexible, and loose in the bedroom and beyond.
1. Pelvic Tilts. Lie on your back, both knees bent and both feet on the floor, arms lengthened to the side of your body. Press the pelvis up toward the ceiling in a slow controlled movement. Then bring the buttocks down, slowly releasing one vertebra at a time onto the floor. Up and down four times, then up and hold for 10 counts. Then, while still holding, gently open and close the knees 10 times. Repeat entire sequence three more times.
2. Airplane Wings. This wonderful exercise is relaxing, and a great way to prepare and stretch the legs for an open position during sex. Lie on your back with your knees on your chest, then, holding the soles of your feet together, open your knees out to the side. Now hold the inner thighs and extend your legs out straight to the side. The idea is to stretch your inner thighs and groin muscles. Once in this open winged position you can flex and point your feet. Don't force the movement. Let your body tell you how wide the spread of your "wings" should be. Bring your heels back together and repeat three more times.
3. Torso Twists. Lie on your back with both legs extended straight. Bring the right knee to your chest and hold it with your left hand. Stretch the right knee to the left across the body, twisting the torso; try to keep your right shoulder down. Hold and breathe for 10 counts, and repeat to the other side. This stretch helps loosen the hips and lower back.
4. Cheek Squeezes. Lie on your stomach with both legs straight. Contract and release the buttocks 10 times, and then hold for 10 seconds, release, and then repeat. Perform the contractions slowly and rhythmically to increase blood flow and stimulation.
5. Supple Spine (Cat and Dog). Start by kneeling on your hands and knees, with wrists under your shoulders, and knees under your hips. Exhale and round your back, looking at your belly button; inhale and arch your back, looking at the ceiling. In each position, engage abdominal muscles and take full breaths. Allow the spine to stretch and extend. Four times.
6. High Thighs. Start by kneeling on your hands and knees, and engaging abdominal muscles. Extend the right leg back until it is straight. Lift it up and down 10 times. Finish by pulsing the leg upward for a count of 10. Repeat on the left.
Try these warm-up exercises before having sex, and feel free to add some of your favorite music. Wear something that is loose-fitting -- or do them naked! Enjoy!