You may have heard that naughty proverb that “Sex is the best exercise.” And you probably hoped it was true.
Unfortunately, you’re not likely to burn as many calories in bed as you are going for a run or taking a bike ride, and the reason is pretty obvious. Even for the most virile among us, it’s right near impossible to spend as much time having sex as practicing other forms of cardio. Going for an hour long run will burn more calories than even the most athletic lovemaking, which, let’s be real, isn’t going to last you a solid sixty minutes.
Still, don’t be so fast to cast sex aside. This partnered exercise still offers some awesome health benefits.
Your Brain on Sex
When you’re having sex, your brain not only produces massive amounts of endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin, it also shuts down the part that’s responsible for logical thinking. This is why sex is considered a good stress-reliever. Shutting down the logic center means you stop worrying and stressing over work, bills, and other nitty-gritty bumps in life, giving your mind the same momentary clarity as meditation.
Whether you’re engaging in a hearty workout or enjoying sex, your body will release endorphins, those hormones responsible for blocking pain and lifting your mood. Additionally, your mind releases dopamine, the so-called “pleasure chemical,” when you orgasm. While a hit of dopamine gives you a temporary feeling of euphoria, that fleeting feeling can become addictive. Drugs like nicotine can also give your body a sudden boost of dopamine, which you will crave more and more. Thus, sex, like all things, should be enjoyed in moderation.
Stress Relief and Other Health Benefits
All these hormones have a synergistic effect of relaxing you and making you feel happy. This, in turn, increases circulation while decreasing levels of cortisol, the chemical in your body which is triggered by stress and can make you feel fatigued. Cortisol can also impede your immune system, so the positive hormones released by sex can ultimately help boost your ability to fight off infection.
But none of these benefits is unique to sex. Exercise in any form will help your body access endorphins and dopamine while benefiting your circulation and immunity. So at the end of the day, sex is good for your health but isn’t a full-on substitute for working out. The two are best used as part of a healthy life.