Strenuous exercise may keep you in shape, but it will affect your love life, a study has found.
Men who perform grueling workouts have lower libidos than those who do lighter exercise, a new study claims, the Daily Mail has reported.
According to a UK based newspaper, for years, scientists have debated whether or not exercise affects sexual desire and human reproduction.
But this is one of the first studies to scientifically examine the relationship between men’s workouts and their sex lives, because past studies have focused on women.
Past research has found that many female athletes, such as marathon runners, develop menstrual dysfunction – abnormal uterine bleeding – from their intense training.
Caused by hormonal imbalances, these dysfunctions are rare and are usually resolved after the athlete lightens her training load.
Mean while, contradictory research has been published over the years regarding heavy exercise and its impact on men’s libidos and fertility.
There have been suggestions in the past that moderate amounts of physical activity increase the production of the hormone testosterone, which in theory should ramp up sex drive.
But other studies have concluded that long and grueling training sessions may actually blunt the testosterone levels in a man’s bloodstream both immediately and over the long term.
However, those studies examined only hormone changes related to exercise, and not differences in sexual emotions and behavior, which are tougher to quantify.
The recent study, conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, decided to ask active men about their sex lives.
Researchers developed a questionnaire that queried how much the men thought about and engaged in sex. A separate questionnaire asked about exercise habits, such as how often and intensely the men worked out each week.
A final set of questions asked about general health and medical histories.
Close to 1,100 physically active adult men completed all of the questions. Most were experienced athletes who ased on responses, the researchers divided the men into groups based on the extent and intensity of their workouts. They had groups whose weekly exercise was short, moderately lengthy or quite prolonged, and also whose weekly exercise was light, moderate or extremely intense.
They also categorized the men according to their answers about their sex lives, creating groups with relatively high, moderate or low libidos.
Lastly, the scientists compared the men’s exercise habits to their reported interest and engagement in sex.
Results showed clear patterns. Men with moderate or light intensity/duration of workouts typically reported moderate or high libidos.
Conversely, the men with especially long or intense workouts reported lower libidos.
Other causes of lower libido
Low self esteem
Alcohol or drug abuse
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep