Can High Intensity Workouts Kill Your Libido?
Are Your Workouts a Real Boner Killer?
The wonders of working out have been proven time and time again with overwhelmingly positive results. Not only does an active lifestyle allow you to achieve a lean and fit physique, but also maintains your overall mental and physical health. From boosting your immunity for lowered risk of diseases, to reduced levels of stress hormones for a healthy mind, these are just the cliff notes of all of the amazing things working out does for you…
That’s why the fitness community was rocked when a 2017 study by the University of North Carolina found an inverse link between training intensity, training duration, and libido in men.
Naturally, news sites flocked to the counter-intuitive idea that went against the widely accepted previously conceived notions, suggesting that there is such a thing as working out too much when it comes to men’s sex drives.
But how much truth is there really to these findings? And if there is any, how much weight does it carry (no pun intended!)? Let’s find out…
Should We Be Worried?
For starters, it’s important to investigate the details of the study: Factors like volunteer numbers and representation, the evidence-gathering process, and the parameters of the study. All of these aspects have a massive effect on the results of a research study, and can even be manipulated to sway the findings to fit a certain hypothesis in a phenomenon called ‘confirmation bias’.
Now, before you get your sexiest underwear in a twist - we’ve decided to pay this controversial study a revisit and investigate just how much truth it holds and how it relates to you.
The Nitty Gritty Details
For starters, the study’s sample consisted of 1077 men who were overwhelmingly endurance athletes, having been recruited from running and cycling groups, with a measly 5 percent reporting strength training as their main form of exercise.
We already have a biased study in that different types of exercise have different effects on hormone levels. In addition, the definition of “high volume training'' was set as greater than ten sessions per week and more than ten hours per week, of which over 60 percent of the sample group maintained. Just to put things in perspective, that’s a lot of training… more than the average fitness enthusiast.
The Gray Areas
Finally, the process of research gathering was in the form of a questionnaire. It contained questions asking men how often they thought about or had sex, how often and how intensely they worked out each week, and other queries about their general health.
The problem with this method is that it relies on the participant to accurately report hard facts (again, no pun intended!) on extremely personal details about themselves. Subjectivity and human error are prone to run rampant in these types of studies and can really mess things up in terms of the outcome.
The Silver Lining!
Conversely, it’s been widely verified that exercise increases testosterone levels, giving more rev in your engine if you catch our drift. Also, cardiovascular exercise like HIIT workouts lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, and it’s no secret that stress is a number one silent killer of libido.
So, what can we take away from this study? Not much, really.
Just that there might be diminishing returns in terms of libido in men who are already extremely active, particularly in endurance training. The evidence for exercise increasing your sex drive massively outweighs that against it, so there’s no reason for you to put down your weights in the name of love.
Well, with that scare outta the way… We think it’s fair to deduce that moderate-intensity exercise (like the type most of us do to maintain our ripped physiques) won’t be a boner killer.
Of course, there’s lots of different factors that go into our general levels of arousal, but working out probably isn’t a deal-breaker unless you’re in extreme beast mode.
Still not convinced? Check out these 6 Ways Working Out Improves Your Sex Life so you can sleep better at night (or get busy between the sheets instead, as the case may be!)
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