Many people associate a healthful lifestyle with habits that are not always the most fun… like grueling workouts or skipping dessert. But this is a misconception, as many of the healthiest habits are also among the most rewarding.
Take sex. It counts as moderately intense exercise plus it boosts numerous aspects of both physical and mental health. As long as you're engaging in safe-sex practices, increasing your sexual activity is a surefire strategy to better health!
Health Benefits of Sex
Regular sex cannot be underestimated as a factor for reducing stress, bolstering self-esteem and fostering feelings of intimacy and bonding between partners.
But the real point of this article is the fact that a healthy sex life can provide for a longer, healthier and, most would agree, more enjoyable life. Among the many health benefits of sex are:
1. Improved Immunity
People who have sex frequently (one or two times a week) have significantly higher levels of immunoglobulin A . Your IgA immune system is your body's first line of defense.
Its job is to fight off invading organisms at their entry points, reducing or even eliminating the need for activation of your body's immune system. This may explain why people who have sex frequently also take fewer sick days.
2. Heart Health
Men who made love regularly (at least twice a week) were 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who did so once a month or less, according to one study.
Sexual activity not only provides many of the same benefits to your heart as exercise but also keeps levels of estrogen and testosterone in balance, which is important for heart health.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
Sexual activity, and specifically intercourse, is linked to better stress response and lower blood pressure.
4. It's a Form of Exercise
Sex helps to boost your heart rate, burn calories and strengthen muscles, just like exercise. In fact, research recently revealed that sex burns about 4 calories a minute for men and 3 for women, making it (at times) a 'significant' form of exercise. It can even help you to maintain your flexibility and balance.
5. Pain Relief
Sexual activity releases pain-reducing hormones and has been found to help reduce or block back and leg pain, as well as pain from menstrual cramps, arthritis and headaches. One study even found that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and cluster-headache patients.
6. May Help Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer
Research has shown that men who ejaculate at least 21 times a month (during sex or masturbation) have a lower risk of prostate cancer. This link needs to be explored further, however, as there may have been additional factors involved.
7. Improve Sleep
After sex, the relaxation-inducing hormone prolactin is released, which may help you to nod off more quickly. The "love hormone" oxytocin, released during orgasm, also promotes sleep.
8. Stress Relief
Sex triggers your body to release its natural feel-good chemicals, helping to ease stress and boost pleasure, calm and self-esteem. Research also shows that those who have sexual intercourse responded better when subjected to stressful situations like speaking in public.
9. Boost Your Libido
The more often you have sex, the more likely you are to want to keep doing it. There's a mental connection there but also a physical one, particularly for women. More frequent sex helps to increase vaginal lubrication, blood flow and elasticity, which in turn make sexual activity more enjoyable.
10. Improved Bladder Control in Women
Intercourse helps to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which contract during orgasm. This can help women to improve their bladder control and avoid incontinence. You can boost this benefit even more by practicing Kegel exercises during sex (a Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight, as if you're trying to stop a flow of urine).
11. Increase Intimacy and Improve Your Relationship
Sex and orgasms result in increased levels of the hormone oxytocin -- the "love" hormone -- that helps you feel bonded to your partner, and better experience empathic connections.