She is also an award-winning writer, whose articles have appeared in "Albuquerque Magazine" and "Mountain Parent Magazine," as well as on numerous online outlets, including The Huffington Post.
Slide 1 of 15 Photo Credit: It's as simple as hitting the gym. Exercise increases energy, tones your muscles, burns fat and improves your mood and self-image. But for more reasons than you may know, exercise can also improve your sex life. For instance, research shows that if you burn as little as additional calories a day, you can lower your risk of erectile dysfunction. In addition to cardio and strength training, stretching is also loosens you up, enabling you to experiment with different positions.
So even if you already have a pretty great sex life, try incorporating these 13 exercises and stretches into your workout routine and reap the benefits in the bedroom.
Kegels are a beneficial exercise for men, too. They improve endurance and control by toning and strengthening the pubococcygeus PC muscles the muscles that stop the flow of urine and the perineal muscles the muscles that support erectile rigidity and provide the power behind ejaculation. Start by interrupting the flow of urine when going to the bathroom to get familiar with the PC muscles.
Work up to five-second squeezes, relaxing in between each contraction, for 10 to 20 reps. Planks give your arms staying power for missionary or other on-top positions. They also strengthen your core, which helps to improve thrust and supports your back to prevent injury.
Start at the top of a push-up with your hands shoulder-width apart, arms strong and pelvis level. Think of your body as a solid wooden plank.
While there, engage the abs, squeeze the inner thighs and butt cheeks together, tighten the quads and press the heels back so the feet are flexed. Hold for at least 20 seconds and work up to two minutes at a time. Do one to 10 reps a day, depending on the length of your plank holds. You can modify the pose by doing your plank on your knees, keeping the arms fully extended to the floor or by doing plank on your forearms.
For an added challenge, place one foot heel to toe on top of the other and hold for 10 seconds, and then switch legs without compromising form in the rest of your body. A stronger core improves your thrusting ability and strengthens your back, which can often be injured during sex, and the ability to balance in a variety of sex positions.
Place your middle to lower back on a large stability ball, with your feet about hip- or shoulder-distance apart planted firmly on the floor. Place your fingertips behind the nape of your neck, roll the shoulders back and slowly, while lifting through the chest, raise your upper body until your abdominal muscles tighten. Take it as high as you can manage without compromising form. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat. Work up to three sets of 30 crunches. Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you.
If you have any back issues, fold a towel and put it under the small of your back. With precision and control, raise your straight legs up toward the ceiling and stop when your legs are perpendicular to your body and the floor. Then, slowly lower your legs back down until they are about an inch off the floor. If the exercise feels too easy, try to lower more slowly. Repeat five times then rest for 30 seconds. Start with three sets and increase repetitions and sets as you get stronger.
To modify this exercise, start with your legs bent at the knees and calves parallel to the floor. From there, straighten the legs to the ceiling then slowly lower the legs back into the bent-knee position.
Lower your bent legs toward the floor until the toes are an inch from the ground. Return to the start and repeat. Begin in a plank position, hands directly under the shoulders and feet hip-distance apart. Do not allow your pelvis to sag too low or lift too high. Lower your chest to the floor and slowly press back up. Do as many of these as you can manage at least twice a week.
To modify, take your feet slightly wider apart or drop to your knees, keeping a solid plank position from your neck to your knees.
For added intensity, bring your feet together and your hands in slightly. That increased muscle mass and decrease in fat though regular exercise and a healthy diet not only makes you look and feel better, it will also prepare your body for whatever you and your partner choose to do between the sheets.
Place your middle to lower back on a large stability ball with your feet planted firmly on the floor about hip- or shoulder-distance apart.
From a goal-post position, push a pair of dumbbells start with 20 pounds and increase from there straight up, directly over the chest. Do three sets of 25 reps.
Being on the stability ball will provide the added core and balance workout -- also great for enhancing your bedroom performance! With a dumbbell in each hand held straight down at your sides, bend at the hips and knees to squat as low as you can while keeping your back straight. Keep your shins as vertical as possible and your knees directly over your ankles.
As you lower, slowly raise your arms straight out in front of you to shoulder height. Drive through the heels and you will naturally lean forward a bit in the upper body for balance. Slowly rise to standing as you lower your arms back down to your sides to complete one rep. Do at least 15 reps. But lunges also increase blood flow to your pelvic region, enhancing your action in the bedroom.
Stand up straight and tall -- holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides for added intensity -- then step one foot forward about a foot and a half.
Bend both knees to 90 degrees, stopping when your back knee is about an inch from the ground. Be sure to keep your front knee doesn't pass over your front toes. Drive through the front heel to stand back up. Do 15 reps before switching legs or alternate legs as you go. And you can do intervals just about anywhere -- outside on a track, at the park or on a bike, elliptical, stair climber or treadmill.
After your warm-up, start your intervals at full speed, going as hard and fast as you can, and push yourself for at least 30 seconds. Then back off for a minute or two.
Repeat this several times. This stretch also protects your lower back for any heavy lifting you do at the gym or bedroom. Lie on your belly with your legs hip-distance apart and the tops of your feet on the floor.
Bring your hands to the sides of your chest and lift your torso by pressing through your hands. Breathe regularly for 15 seconds or longer. If you are advanced, your thighs will lift off the ground. Doing a straddle stretch will loosen things up, bringing blood flow back to the pelvic and groin region. Increased blood flow means increased sensation, which means better orgasms.
Sit on the floor with your legs wide apart. Flex your feet and make sure your knees are pointing up toward the ceiling. Roll your shoulders back, lengthen through the crown of the head and slowly lean as far forward as you can comfortably go while keeping your back straight. Reach for your calves, ankles or toes and breathe deeply.
With each exhale, take your stretch a little deeper without curving or hunching your back. Hold the position for five to 10 long breaths. Lie down on your back and bend your legs in toward your chest, soles of the feet together and your tailbone down. Grab your feet and pull them in toward your chest as you use your elbows to press the knees out. Be careful not to let your head arch too far back. Keep your neck and spine relaxed. Hold this posture as you continue to press the knees outward for 15 to 20 seconds.
It reaches the inner thighs, hamstrings, obliques, pecs, triceps and lats. Sitting on the floor, extend your left leg out straight, tucking the bottom of the right foot flat against the left inner thigh right thigh flat on the floor. Twist your torso so your chest is squared toward your bent right knee. Wrap your right arm toward the back and around the back of the waist and try to grab hold of your left thigh with your right hand. Roll the right shoulder back and open the chest by pushing the middle back forward.
Breathe and hold this stretch for several seconds up to a minute. For the second part, release your right arm and move it slowly up toward the ceiling and around toward the toes. As you do that, take the crown of the head toward your toes. Bring your right palm down toward the floor and, with each breath, lengthen through the right fingertips toward your left toes. Breathe and hold for about 30 seconds.
Slowly rise, bring both legs forward to shake them out and switch sides. Have you ever done any of these exercises with the intention of improving your sex life? Are there others you've tried? Share your experiences and suggestions with the Livestrong community in the comments below.