Thursday, 5 April 2007

Get Fit, Get Laid

What better way to spring into spring than with a romp in the sack to shake off winter indulgence! We often think that something that feels good can’t possibly be good for us. Now it’s time to re-think that mantra ‘No pain. No gain.’

The latest research suggests that not only will getting in shape get us more sex but better sex at that by following a sensible exercise routine.

“Sexual function is affected by general health so the more you can do to improve your health with physical activity, the betíter your sex life can be,” says Dr Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. “A growing body of evidence supports the notion that regular exercise may enhance sexuality through a variety of mechanisms that affect the mind and body,” he says.

While I've often said there's nothing better than sexercise as a way to get fit, it seems now there's a pool of researchers backing me up! Keeping active positively affects your mind and in turn your libido. Dr Bryant adds: “Exercise has psychological benefits too, such as stress reduction, improved self-esteem, elevated mood and increased confidence. Each of these can contribute to a more enriched sex life.”

Improved sense of smell
After sex, production of the hormone prolactin surges. This in turn causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain's olfactory bulb, its smell centre.

Reduced risk of heart disease
A 2001 Queens University study which examined cardiovascular health found that by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half.

Weight loss, overall fitness
Sex, if nothing else, is exercise. A vigorous bout burns some 200 calories-about the same as running 15 minutes on a treadmill or playing a spirited game of squash. The pulse rate, in a person aroused, rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150, the same as that of an athlete putting forth maximum effort.

British researchers have determined that the equivalent of six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year. Muscular contractions during intercourse work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax. Regular sessions can not only firm a woman’s tummy and buttocks, but also improve her posture.

Sex also boosts production of testosterone, which leads to stronger bones and muscles.
Magazine Men's Health actually went as far as to declare the bed the single greatest piece of exercise equipment ever invented.

Reduced depression
Such was the implication of a 2002 study of 293 women. American psychologist Gordon Gallup reported that sexually active participants whose male partners did not use condoms were less subject to depression than those whose partners did.

This could be down to the hormone prostoglandin, found only in semen, which may be absorbed in the female genital tract, thus calming female hormones. Paracaetamol-free pain-relief
Immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times their normal level. This in turn releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of everything from headache to arthritis to even migraine.

In women, sex also prompts production and release of oestrogen into the bloodstream, which can reduce the pain of PMS. The chemical promotes feelings of affection and triggers that nurturing instinct.

Live Longer
An active sex life may extend our life expectancy. Secrets of the Superyoung author Dr. David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist at Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital, conducted a study of 3,500 people ranging in age from 18 to 102. Weeks concluded that sex actually slows the aging process.

In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study was designed to compare persons of comparable circumstances, age and health. Its 1997 findings, published in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards.

Immunity against winter nasties
Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., author of Superimmunity maintains that sex in a loving relationship helps the immune system by increasing the flow of certain chemicals in the body.
Wilkes University in Pennsylvania says individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30% higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system.

In men, sex encourages the flow of testosterone, which strengthens bones and muscles and helps transport DHEA, a hormone that may be important in the function of the body’s immune system.

Fitter Bladders
Heard of Kegel exercises? You do them, whether you know it or not, every time you stem your flow of urine. The same set of muscles is worked during sex.

Pearlier Whites
Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay. I will assume most of our readers understand the unique mineral delivery system involved. Suffice it to say that it could be a far richer, more complex and more satisfying experience than squeezing a tube of toothpaste. Researchers also noted, that sexual etiquette usually demands the brushing of one's teeth before and/or after intimacy, which, by itself, would help promote better oral hygiene.

Harder, Harder, Harder!
Dr. J. Francois Eid, of Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York Presbyterian Hospital, observed that erectile dysfunction is an extension of vascular system. A lethargic member may be telling you that you have diseased blood vessels elsewhere in your body.
The urologist said: "It could be a first sign of hypertension or diabetes or increased cholesterol levels. It's a red flag that you should see your doctor." Treatment and exercise, says Dr. Eid, can have things looking up again.He says: "Men who exercise and have a good heart and low heart rate, and who are cardio-fit, have firmer erections. There very definitely is a relationship."

Sexual therapists remind us that frequent sex is a form of exercise. And feeling secure in a relationship leads to feeling happier, which could lead to greater health…and a younger look.

In fact, these studies indicate that intimacy plays a key role in the health benefits of sex. A promiscuous sexual relationship may actually produce an opposite effect by introducing a sense of anxiety and fear.

In spite of all these health benefits and the sheer pleasure of the act, many still need a boost. At least one-third of American couples report “inhibited sexual desire,” according to The Masters and Johnson Institute.

Sex therapists say sex acts on the principal of “use it or lose it.” So, for your heart, mind, and soul, the best advice may be to "Just do it."

1 comment:

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