How would you define exercise... Elevated heart rate? Rapid breathing? A little sweaty? Does it bring you pleasure?
These descriptions are spot on, but also wouldn’t be out of place when describing sex. So why wouldn’t you look to include sex as a daily workout?
Canadian researchers from the University of Quebec have wondered the exact same, and have delved into the benefits of sex when it comes to weight loss. The crew studied the physiological and chemical benefits of sex by getting research participants to wear activity trackers during sex. The ‘sexperiment’ then took place over a 14 week trial period with “Sex” being defined by the study as beginning with foreplay, including intercourse, and must include an orgasm by at least one partner
Findings showed that on average men burned around 440 kilojoules while women burned slightly less at around 280 kilojoules per bedroom romp. Researches identified the average heart rate reached during sex to be the equivalent of moderate intensity exercise, somewhere greater than a walk, but lower than jogging.
These figures will obviously change in your own personal situation depending on how long you last. If you’re seeking to increase your own level of “sexercise”, you can either become more active and involved in the process (try going on top for once) or keep at it for longer. Or both. However on average, the couples burnt the same kilojoules during 12 minutes of sex as they would have during 30 minutes at a moderate pace on a treadmill.
Unsurprisingly, all of the men (and 95 per cent of the women) surveyed preferred sex over the treadmill.
However the benefits of sex as an effect method of weight management go beyond the physiological, and enter the chemical. When we have sex, the hormone oxytocin is produced in our brain and gastrointestinal tract. The "love hormone" oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus in our brain as well as in our gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Elizabeth A. Lawson from the Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston explains in an article that "experiments… show that oxytocin reduces caloric consumption." In non-science speak, it’s a great appetite suppressor.
"The authors found that oxytocin reduced consumption of a… snack, particularly chocolate cookies," Dr. Lawson explains.
Unfortunately, the same rate of calorie burning isn’t achieved with a solo session, so if you can’t make this your go to workout just yet, stick with the gym.