The Truth About Sexercise: And Other Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life
Fitness can be boring – sprint, lift, crunch, repeat. So, what if there were another activity that could break you free from a fitness rut? Sexercise as a concept isn’t new and it’s time someone shared with you all the benefits of a healthy sex life. From stress relief to calorie burning here’s all the ways your latest romantic encounter is doing you good.
Can we really count sex as exercise?
A small Canadian study says absolutely, yes! Research conducted by the University of Quebec focused on how much energy is expended during sex. On average men are burning 4.2kj per minute while women are on 3.1kj per minute for a 30-minute romp, including foreplay. This is about half of what you’d burn in a typical exercise session, so it’s not exactly the result many were hoping for. But the study noted this counts as moderate intensity exercise which means it’s more effective than a light walk but still less than going for a run. As your main form of exercise, sex just isn’t gonna cut it. But as a fun way of filling in the gaps between the gym, it’s more than adequate.
There’s other physical benefits
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you. Research shows it protects against disease like heart attacks and stroke, lowers your stress levels and increases your self-confidence. But what about sex? Luckily, scientists are just as interested in this area of research as we are and multiple studies have found some interesting results.
One study suggested that frequent sex can help maintain a strong immune system. Individuals in the study who had more frequent sex tested higher for levels of IgA – an essential antibody which helps prevent illness.
Following this, a White Paper published by Planned Parenthood summed up many of the other well-researched benefits to a healthy sex life. These included, but were certainly not limited to:
- Increased life expectancy
- Improved sleep quality
- More youthful appearance
- Lower risk of heart disease
- And even some relief from migraines
There’s some mental health benefits too
So far sex is great at keeping your body fit and healthy. But what’s it doing for your mind? We all know great sex puts you in a great mood but what we really want to know is whether this will last.
A review published online summarized some important findings from recent research surrounding male-female intercourse and mental health outcomes. One important finding was that persons having more sex reported greater satisfaction with their mental health overall, for both men and women. Another worthwhile point was that women in relationships who had frequent sex reported greater satisfaction and trust in their partner.
Other studies have noted that intimacy between couples lowers their stress levels. According to a Harvard Medical School article, sex releases the love hormone oxytocin which leaves you with feelings of closeness and contentment; AKA intimacy. So, if sex increases your intimacy then by default having more sex is going to lower stress. The Harvard article also specified that sex was great for activating the brain’s reward centers which means it’s an all-around dose of happy for your mind.
Bonus good news: being fit equals better sex
A US study posed the question does fitness really matter when it comes to sex? They found for both males and females higher fitness levels led to increased perception of sexual desirability and performance. The researchers theorized that the boost in self-confidence you achieve from being fit makes you more willing and able to have sex, and perhaps even helps you perform better in the sack.
How to boost your sex life
With all these benefits to a healthy sex life it can be frustrating when your relationship is experiencing a dry spell. If you’ve let the fire burn out between you and your partner there’s still hope. Refreshing your bedroom is the first step. Your bed should be comfortable and inviting for more than sleep. A silky sheet set or quilt cover gives extra incentive to jump under the covers. Plus, a plush mattress-topper can reinvigorate even the longest-serving bedding.
When you’ve been together a while the thought of date night is less butterfly-inducing, and more burdensome. Bring back that first date feeling with a romantic evening meal. If you’re hoping to get lucky by the end of the night then some natural aphrodisiacs can help. There’s the classics like oysters, chocolate and red wine but then there’s a few lesser known libido-raisers from hot chilies to figs, strawberries and even saffron.
The bottom line is sex and fitness go hand in hand. They’re both an important part of a healthy lifestyle and they work together to improve one another. Having more sex helps keep your fitness levels up while keeping fit leads to better sex.
Julia Hammond is an Australian writer who currently publishes weekly content for the Mydeal.com.au blog. When she’s not busy writing you can find her enjoying a classic Melbourne coffee and brunch.