Want a full body workout but can’t be bothered leaving your bed? Well you’re in luck, because apparently having sexy time with the one you love will give you just that! (If you don’t like sex, here are some other options… ;))
In addition, it’s been found that consensual sex also releases a feel good hormone that increases the feeling of love, helps to reduce stress and the endorphins can act like a natural anti-depressant.
A bit of action has also been known to boost self-esteem and confidence, especially for new mums who might be taking time to get used to their post-baby body.
But don’t just take our word for it; Kevin Netto, an associate professor of physiotherapy and exercise from Curtin University, has proof and recently shared some hard facts about the science behind sex.
He says that physiological response to sex is similar to that of exercise and that people having sex had an increase in their respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure.
These are all signs the body is working at an elevated rate, similar to that experienced during exercise.
Hint: Just had a baby and have a few questions about when is the right time to resume intercourse? Here are 6 common questions answered!
Prof Netto says despite the significant increase in markers of physiological stress during sex, when compared to what happens during exercise, research shows that sexual activity elicits a moderate level of physical stress, up to 75 per cent of maximal exercise.
He says a recent study of young Canadian heterosexual couples showed a bout of sexual activity was akin to moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking.
So that begs the question…
Is sex kind of like exercise?
Well this depends on your definition of exercise. If you compare the two purely by the physiological change that occurs then yes it’s like exercise because sex elicits a change in human physiology akin to exercise.
But if you believe exercise should change human physiology for the better, in the long term then probably no is the best answer.
Prof Netto says this is because for most people sex isn’t sustained long enough nor does it occur frequently enough for a true physiological change to happen in the long term.
How does exercise affect sex and vice versa?
In many cases exercise can also be helpful to sex and Prof Netto says research into pelvic floor exercises in women with pelvic pain, for instance, has shown they improve sexual function.
Women reported increased control, confidence, heightened sensation and less pain.
“So in answer to the question of whether sex is really exercise. Kind of. But you can test it out for yourself and see how you feel,” Prof Netto says.
If you’re looking for some advice on what to do if you and your partner have mismatched libidos, check out this advice from the director of Sexual Health Australia.