Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
This is one of those columns that are best read with snicker-free maturity. Here’s why. That smile you see on the gym floor may be connected to far more than just completing a great core workout.
University-based research has confirmed that women experience “coregasms,” exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP), while working out. Kinsey first described this phenomenon in 1953 when he reported that approximately 5% of women have orgasms linked to physical exercise in his book, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.”
Research reported on just this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, from Indiana University Medical School and its Center for Sexual Health Promotion, provides far more updated qualitative and quantitative data.
It took only five weeks to recruit between 400-500 or more women for this online survey, all of who experienced EIO or EISP. The average age of the subjects was 30 years old, about 70% were heterosexual, and most were either in a relationship or married. Of course, the media leaped on this newest set of findings, though anecdotal reports about this phenomenon have circled for decades.
Here are the key findings from this new study:
40% of the women who experienced EIO and EISP have done so on more than 10 occasions, with some level of embarrassment.
Most of the women who experienced EIO or EISP were just exercising, not thinking of anything sexual or about anyone in the gym
51.4% said their first “orgasm” experience was related to multiple sets of crunches or other abdominal exercises (“coregasm” comes from the core and ab routines that they linked to EIO and EISP) 26.5% experienced an orgasm while weight lifting 20% while doing yoga (“yogasms”) 15.8% while biking or spinning 13.2% while running 9.6% while walking or hiking
The “Captain’s Chair,” in which a person supports her weight on her forearms on padded arm rests while her body hangs and she lifts her knees towards her chest, is the one exercise most woman mentioned as being linked to EIO and EISP.
Other core exercises that may give rise to a “coregasm” include hanging straight leg raise, hanging side crunches, single leg planks, arm pullover crunches, and medicine ball blasts on a slant board. The researchers, led by Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., MPH and J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, indicate that it’s more than core muscles that are involved in these physiological experiences.
What does all of this new data mean? For one, according to the researchers, exercise may potentially enhance women’s sexual lives. Further, the findings suggest that orgasm is not necessarily only a sexual event.
Whether these exercise induced orgasms or exercise induced sexual pleasures come from a tightening of the pelvic muscles, a build up of tension and nerve impulses, the common view among many women surveyed appears to be to care less why it happens, but to be happy it does.
The researchers have stated they don’t want their study to be “sensationalized.” Good luck with that one. They also hope that women who read about their findings don’t come to feel pressured to “perform” more than a good workout at the gym. Finally, they also stated concern that the thought of EIO or EISP might leave others at the gym “uncomfortable.” They left out, causing long lines at the “Captain’s Chair.”
Bottom line? Add this to the long and growing list of good reasons to work out.
Whether you are a newcomer to The La Jolla Sports Club, have been around awhile, workout a couple of days a week or are a six day a week enthusiast, everyone needs continued motivation. We all reach a plateau, slip in adhering to a training program and find reasons for why we “can’t” get to the gym this week. It’s normal and natural, but it’s not necessary.
When you consider what motivates people to join and stay active in a gym, according to the latest research by the International Racquet, Health & Sportsclub Association, (IHRSA), letting exercise go just doesn’t make sense.
The following were the top reasons members selected for joining a club:
- To feel better about myself (59%)
- To stay healthy (56%)
- To look better (49%)
- To lose weight (48%)
- To maintain strength (45%)
Members continue using their club for a number of reasons:
- Overall health/wellbeing (61%)
- To get in/stay in shape/stay healthy (61%)
- It’s in a convenient location (52%)
- The variety of equipment (48%)
- To make progress with my personal goals (41%)
Given these important reasons for joining and maintaining an active gym membership, particularly health benefits, finding motivation to continue deriving these advantages is critical. Here are five tips for finding your motivation to get in, and stay in, the best shape of your life:
1. Convenient If it’s not convenient, it’s likely to be a top-level reason to make exercise move to the bottom of the list. First thing to do is remove the obstacles such as, “it’s a pain to get to.” Pack your gym clothes the night before your workout, know your routine before you enter the gym, and keep to the “ideal 30 +/- minute rule.” What’s the “ideal 30 +/-minute rule”? Simple: Ideally, you should be able to get to the gym, dressed and start your first stretch within 30 +/-minutes. If it is much longer than that, it’s likely to add to your excuse list.
2. Results If you aren’t seeing the results that drove you to the gym in the first place, you’ll probably keep driving past the gym. Keep track of your progress—that’s on everyone’s list of top motivational tools. Before you see results in your body, you’ll feel that working out is easier to do and you’ll realize that you are exercising harder and longer. By seeing actual growth in your progress chart, before you see it in the mirror, your motivation to keep going will surely increase.
3. Enjoyable If it’s not fun, you’ll probably find your pleasure elsewhere. Getting bored on the treadmill? Is your free weight routine pressing you down? Have you tried the latest classes that might have more appeal? The explosion of group exercise classes means there’s so much more to choose from instead of solo exercise. Try a trainer for a month or two—he or she will surely shake it up for you.
4. Social If you feel like a stranger in the gym, you’ll find it strange to be there. You don’t want to be among the 95% of exercise dropouts do you? A key reason these folks fade away from their commitment to healthy exercise is they have no social support system. Workout with a group of friends or join a group ex class, attend the gym’s member socials, find an accountability partner – trainer, coach, friend, family member.
5. Schedule If it’s not a part of your weekly calendar, it’s not going to be a part of your week. Forty percent of people in a recent survey say they don’t have the time to exercise. Looking at busy schedules, family responsibilities, work pressures and other demands may seem like that’s entirely possible. It may be time to reevaluate your schedule. Can you get up earlier? Can you leave your child at the club’s child-care? What about breaking up your workout into smaller time sessions? Whatever you do, put it in your calendar.
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Ever wonder what world-class, elite level athletes do before they get on the field? They do the same thing that well-informed fitness enthusiasts, celebrity trainers and leading coaches do. They use relaxation and visualization techniques to boost their performance.
While there are many studies that document the value of visualization and imagery in enhancing muscular-related sports and fitness performance, one is worth noting. Russian scientists discovered that when a group of Olympic athletes spent 25% of their time in physical training and 75% of their time in mental training, their performance rose to their best level of performance. The famed Cleveland Clinic Foundation explored the effects of visualization on muscle strength and reported increases to muscle strength through visualization.
Visualization helps build concentration, confidence, control and commitment—the four main mental qualities related to elite levels of performance in most athletic related activities.
Do you? Here’s the low-down and just how to dream a bit before you pump it up!
With these five simple steps, you can develop stronger neural pathways in your brain (clusters of neurons in your brain that help form memory and learned behaviors) to fortify positive, energizing thoughts/images and turbo-charge your workout. It is as if when you mentally “see” yourself doing an exercise, that imagery transmits impulses from your brain to those muscles involved in what you visualize. This, in turn, leaves your body feeling as if it actually performed the exercise you imagined. It’s as if the workout becomes easier and more likely to be accomplished because “you’ve already done it.”
1. Find a quiet, calming and peaceful place where you can relax.
2. Visualize, mentally rehearse, as vividly and plainly as you feasibly can, engaging in a vigorous, healthy and invigorating workout.
3. Imagine in your mind doing your workout in the present tense (“I am…” not “I will…”), without rushing. This is not a “hurry up and get going” experience, but a “savor the imagery” preparation for a successful workout or training session. See and feel as many details of the perfect workout you are vividly imagining, and note how much more muscular, faster, stronger, and athletic you feel.
4. Mentally rehearse how good you feel completing the workout, achieving the goals you (and your trainer) set for yourself, imagining that you are leaving the gym feeling terrific about yourself.
5. Rid your mind of any negative, inaccurate, irrational thoughts that could undermine the value for yourself, of this training and fitness performance tool so many athletes worldwide find helpful. When you hear yourself filling up with “It won’t work for me,” or “Ah, it’s a waste of time,” or “I can’t do this right,” challenge, dispute and debate those thoughts. “How do I know it won’t work for me?” “Just because I think it is a waste of time, doesn’t mean it IS—maybe that’s just a negative thought.” “Am I expecting myself to do this perfectly the first time?”
It’ll take self-discipline to do this because of the tendency to want to get into your workout as quickly as possible. Think of it as part of your disciplined dynamic stretch warm-up routine. As Lou Holtz once said, “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Been to your doctor lately? If so, you may have noticed that in addition to taking your blood pressure, listening to your heart and weighing you, he/she may also have asked you a question that surprised you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new report this week that showed that only one-third of adults who have seen a doctor in the past year have been asked this surprisingly important question—one that can improve your health more than medicines.
In fact, if you have diabetes, it’s more likely that you’ve been asked this question than if you have cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer or hypertension. And if you are obese or overweight, you’re twice as likely to have this question popped on you than if you are healthy.
What’s the question? What is it that your doctor is now getting on board with and discussing with you that he/she has not done in the past? It’s simple—“Are you getting enough exercise?” That’s right, more and more physicians are discussing exercise during examinations.
Over the past 10 years, physicians have been increasingly more aware of the value of exercise for many illnesses and as a preventative. “Medical fitness” has become a thriving and growing area of medical practices, with some physicians having financial ties to fitness centers and gyms attached to their practices or hospitals. Still, far less than half of US adults do not receive any advice on exercise from their doctors.
The “exercise is medicine” campaign has helped bring exercise to the patient – doctor discussion. Only problem is that exercise is NOT medicine. It can help reduce dependence on medicine, can replace the need for medicine, and can push off the need for medicine. But exercise is exercise and while regular exercise and physical activity can lower the risk of chronic illness conditions, it trumps the need for medicine in many.
The value of physicians bringing up any discussion of exercise lies in the fact that people pay attention to what their doctors advise, as they should. But additional research also demonstrates that overweight doctors are more likely to prescribe medicine than discuss exercise or weight loss choices. With 67% of adults obese or overweight, that’s simply unacceptable.
Patients require a very personalize exercise program, so simply making a recommendation for exercise is not enough. And many physicians are not truly expert in exercise program planning. And more may not really know how to bring up a discussion of the value of exercise, especially if they, themselves, don’t exercise. But with 250,000 deaths attributed to a sedentary lifestyle just last year, and likely many more, physicians, more and more, will be including a discussion of the value of getting regular physical activity in patient visits. The World Health Organization estimates that physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death globally, leading to 3.3 million deaths annually.
My advice is that when your physician recommends that you exercise, ask your fitness professional which exercise is right for you. Side effects may vary, but will include reduced blood pressure, increased energy, decrease in weight, improvement in sleep and concentration, and reduction in depression and anxiety. Other side effects may include improved grades for children, reduced symptoms of ADHD, and enhanced feelings of happiness.
(ARA) – The baby boomer generation makes up an estimated 76 million people – roughly one-fourth of the U.S. population. This means that either you or someone you love is part of this aging group. According to Eye on the Boomer, a recent survey by the Ocular Nutrition Society, almost as many baby boomers say they worry about losing their vision as those that say they worry about having heart disease or cancer. What’s more, 78 percent of those surveyed ranked vision as the most important of the five senses. Yet, more than half of the survey respondents ages 45-65 said they don’t typically have a recommended annual eye exam, and even fewer are aware of important nutrients that can play a key role in eye health.
Experts recommend that disease prevention, including lifestyle modification, attention to dietary intake and vitamin supplementation must become a greater focus of primary vision care. Studies indicate that proper nutrition promotes healthy eyes, however many American diets are found to be deficient of the critical nutrients that help protect eye health.
“If people are at risk for heart disease they typically make lifestyle modifications,” says Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, president of the Ocular Nutrition Society. “This survey found that people are as concerned about their eyes but do not know the simple steps they can incorporate into their daily lives to take care of them.”
* Vitamin supplements can be used for your eyes, too While people take a variety of different supplements to support their health, vitamins specifically formulated to help protect the eyes are often not in the mix – and for many people, they should be. While more than half of those surveyed are taking supplements to protect their joints, bones or heart health only 18 percent say they take supplements to support their eye health.
“As we grow older, the need for certain vitamins and nutrients to support the eye increases – the survey revealed low awareness of these essential nutrients,” says Anshel of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. He adds that there is a “need for greater education on the lifestyle modifications that baby boomers can incorporate into their daily lives, including proper nutrition, to help safeguard eye health as they age.”
To help protect eye health as they age, Anshel recommends people aged 45-65 take the following steps:
* Stop smoking, exercise regularly and wear sunglasses with UV protection * Make an annual appointment with an eye doctor * Eat foods rich in eye healthy nutrients, such as tuna or salmon for omega-3s and spinach, kale and broccoli containing lutein and zeaxanthin * To help overcome shortfalls in the diet consider a vitamin supplement specifically-formulated for eye health
To learn more about the Eye on the Boomer survey as well as eye health, please visit ocularnutritionsociety.org.
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Obesity is not just a problem of adulthood. Yes, nearly 70% of adults are either overweight or obese. But, sadly, approximately one out of three children between the ages 2-19 are also overweight or obese.
When I wrote my master’s thesis on obesity at Hahnemann Medical College way back in the 70’s obesity in childhood was not nearly the epidemic it is today. The rates of obesity and overweight in childhood continue to escalate. It’s an easy disease to diagnose but a very difficult one to successfully treat.
What is overweight and what is obese? A body mass index of 30 or more is considered obese. A BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight.
Obesity is caused by a combination of over nutrition, inactivity and genetic predisposition. 80% of children who were overweight at age 10-15 were obese adults at age 25, according to one recent study. Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children. The latter study also found that if overweight begins before age 8, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.
If you have a child who is overweight or obese, you know the pain he or she suffers. I believe it takes a family to help a family get healthy. You know that overweight and obese children are teased, discriminated against and suffer with feelings of isolation and depression. And you also know the medical illnesses this disease brings your children: cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, as well as anorexia and bulimia. Teaching healthy living skills to your children may not be easy, but it’s just about the most important thing you can do. Before you modify your children’s lifestyle choices, you may well need to modify your own.
Here’s a game plan for you to follow:
1. Identify specific choices and behaviors in your child’s lifestyle that lead to their overweight or obesity. Inactivity? Improper Nutrition? 2. Set “SMART” goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. For example, “My child will watch TV or be sedentary and play with digital games no more than two hours a day, seven days a week.” 3. Insure your home promotes healthier choices when it comes to diet by limiting high caloric “junk-type” foods and instead, having more fruits, veggies and greater supervision over portion control. 4. Food should never be used as a reward nor withheld punitively. 5. Verbally praise healthy choices, and avoid criticism, especially derogatory name-calling. Encourage your child to be his/her best, not THE best. Nagging, coercive techniques and mealtime battles never work. 6. Parents should be positive role models for physical activity that is fun and engaging. Exercise and play WITH your children. 7. All children 2 years and older should be involved with moderately intense physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and ideally for 60 minutes each day. PE in school does not provide enough activity and the activity it does provide does not provide for developing healthy levels of fitness in children.