It can be a lot of fun, and it can make you sweat – but does sex really constitute a good workout? Many of us wonder whether enough hours spent in the bedroom might replace hours spent in the gym. The answer to this question is complicated, and largely depends on the specifics of your individual love-making situation.
Sex does indeed have its health benefits. One British study spanning 20 years showed that men who had sex two or more times per week were half as likely to die from a heart attack than men who had sex less than once per month.
The same study found that there was no link between frequency of sex and the chances of having a stroke, even in older participants. Sex can lower stress levels and blood pressure, and increase your overall sense of well-being.
Additionally, according to some calculations, an ‘average’ half-hour sex session burns about 85 calories. This isn’t a huge amount, but it can add up depending on frequency. An ‘average’ session, however, is very hard to define.
Ray Rosen, chief scientist at the New England Research Institutes, explains that the difficulty in quantifying sex’s potential as a workout option is that there are too many variables to consider.
When asked to estimate anyway, he said that an ‘average’ episode would be akin to walking up two flights of stairs, and in itself would not be a good weight loss strategy.
A recent study sought to monitor the cardiovascular effects of sex. In this study, the heart rate and blood pressure of volunteers were monitored during treadmill exercise, as well as during private sexual activity at home with their usual partners.
The volunteers were comprised of 19 men and 13 women with an average age of 55. About 70 percent of the men had a form of cardiovascular disease. Results of the study showed that the treadmill tests were more strenuous than the sexual activity in these volunteers. Sex was found to be especially less strenuous for the female participants.
While this may seem discouraging, the sheer variety in intensity, duration and muscle groups utilized from one sexual experience to another, and from one individual to another, is vast. Some of us may be getting all the exercise we need in a day from one love-making session.
Others, not so much; it truly depends on individual events. As sex is a very private matter for many people, likely only you and your partner know how fast your hearts are beating, how much you are sweating and how much energy is being expended.
As Los Angeles sexologist Patti Britton says, “sex is a great mode of exercise. It takes both physical and psychological work, though, to do it well.”
-The Alternative Daily