If you’re reading this because you feel guilty about not exercising enough, there’s some good news and some bad news. The bad news (we always start with that, right?) is that you’re probably going to have to continue exercising for the rest of your life (even when you’re 96). The good news, however, is that sex (with another person) can be considered a form of exercise. Yes! You can burn calories getting busy on a Tuesday night.
It’s long been known that sex produces some of the same “physiological responses” that exercise does: The increased heart rate, the sweating, the uncontrollable urge to take the Almighty’s name in vain, all these are present both during sexual congress and a trip to your local 24-Hour Fitness. And, as News.Com.Au points out, studies have found that engaging in intercourse “elicits moderate physical stress” which is akin to “75 percent of maximal exercise.” Pretty cool, right? And while that may not sound as impressive as “sex is 300 percent more effective than exercise,” it’s nice to know that something so many of us enjoy (if you’re dissatisfied with your sex life, this might be why) can produce the same physical response as taking a “brisk walk.” (Masturbation, unfortunately is equivalent to a slow walk.) (Sexting hasn’t been known to burn calories, but the inherent anxiety between messages does.)
Here’s the flip side, though: While sex can help you stay healthy, it’s not — unless you’re constantly doing Cirque du Soleil maneuvers — going to give you that body you’re always seeing on TV. If that’s your bag, the gym is still going to be your best friend (as long as you’re not just going for free pizza night at Planet Fitness).
Here’s why you might want to do a light jog once in a while outside of sexual activity:
…for most of us, sex isn’t sustained long enough nor occurs frequently enough for a true physiological change to happen in the long term.
Also, we haven’t really explored the other benefits of exercise and contrasted them with sex. For instance, muscular health is recognized as a major component of a person’s health.
We know lots about gaining muscular health through resistance training and other exercises. But does sex give enough of a workout to change muscular health? Well … I sense a research project in the pipeline.
And then there’s the whole thing about doing sex exercises to make sure your performance is optimal in bed (lest you end up with less sexy time than you’d like): For women, training the pelvic floor will make the experience better, while men may benefit from exercises that involve the perineal muscles. No word on how many calories those burn, but at least they make your performance more impressive.
The biggest takeaway here? Sex is exercise, but you’re still probably going to have to diversify. If you’re having it on the regular, though, you might be able to skip cardio at least once a week.