Here at Mais Saúde, we like to tell you about medical research that gives you easy and even fun ways to stay healthy. Continuing that mission, today we summarize two major themes about sex and exercise.
1. Sexual activity is very unlikely to cause a heart attack
Beginning in the 1950s, when sexual health started to be seriously studied, researchers have been putting monitors on people during sexual intercourse so that they can measure blood pressure, heart rate, and energy output. And mostly to answer this question: is there a risk of having a heart attack or dying suddenly during a sexual act?
Happily, the overall conclusion from these studies shows that the risk of dying during sex is very remote (though it may be higher during extramarital sex).
A 2008 study showed that during sex, in middle-aged people, the heart rate increased on average only 21 beats per minute in men, and 19 beats in women, and that was at the point of maximal heart rate increase, at orgasm. That is about the same as if you were to do a few jumping jacks.
2. Sexual intercourse can count as a legitimate exercise session
In the earlier days of sexual research, subjects needed to wear lots of bulky gear to measure their heart rate and other vital signs (sometimes using plastic face mask to measure oxygen consumption). You can imagine that these monitors probably interfered with normal sexual activities.
But now we have smaller sensors and more discreet ways to measure vital signs, so a group of researchers from the University of Quebec at Montreal performed a simple study with these modern small monitors to check how many calories were expended in a typical sexual act, and to see if sexual activity could also count as an aerobic exercise session.
They studied 21 young (average age 23) healthy heterosexual couples from the Montreal, Canada area. They measured them while walking on a treadmill, and then for a month they measured their vital signs during sexual intercourse. For these Canadian couples, the average length of the entire sexual act—foreplay, intercourse, and orgasm by at least one of the man or the women—was 25 minutes, ranging from 10 to 57 minutes.
The men in these couples burned, on average, about 4 calories per minute during sex (though some men expended much more), and the women about 3 calories per minute. So if you want to estimate how many calories you use during a sexual session, you could multiply the minutes of the sexual encounter by 3 calories (women) or 4 (men).
The energy expended during sex is similar to what a person uses when walking uphill, which is significant, but not as much as if you were to jog (which uses about 9 calories per minute for men, and 7 for women).
According to these researchers, a sexual experience can be considered “at times, a significant exercise”, which would satisfy part of your daily requirements for aerobic activity.
We have already reported on how sexual activity is healthy, and now you have another reason to do it, and the longer your sexual encounter lasts, the more calories you burn. And it’s good to know that the chance of having a heart attack during a sexual encounter is very small. So, go have fun, and burn more calories!
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)