At some time in his life, nearly every man gets exercised about sex. And as many men get older, they wonder if sex is a good form of exercise or if it's too strenuous for the heart. These questions may sound like locker room banter, but they are actually quite important — and they now have solid scientific answers.
To evaluate the cardiovascular effects of sexual activity, researchers monitored volunteers while they walked on a treadmill in the lab and during private sexual activity at home.
In addition to 13 women, the volunteers included 19 men with an average age of Despite their cardiac histories, the men reported exercising about four "Sexual activity heart disease" a week, and they reported having sexual activity about six times a month on average. Researchers monitored heart rate and blood pressure during standard treadmill exercise tests and during "usual" sexual activity with a familiar partner at home.
All the sex acts concluded with vaginal intercourse and male orgasm. Disappointedly perhaps, the treadmill proved more strenuous. On an intensity scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, men evaluated treadmill exercise as 4.
Sex was even less strenuous for women in terms of heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived intensity exertion.
Men seem to spend more energy thinking and talking about sex than on the act itself. During Sexual activity heart disease intercourse, a man's heart rate rarely gets above beats a minute, and his systolic blood pressure the higher number, recorded when the heart is pumping blood nearly always stays under All in all, average sexual activity ranks as mild to moderate in terms of exercise intensity.
As for oxygen consumption, it comes in at about 3.
Sex burns about five calories a minute; that's four more than a man uses watching TV, but it's about the same as walking the course to play golf. If a man can walk up two or three flights of stairs without difficulty, he should be in shape for sex. Raking leaves may increase a man's oxygen consumption, but it probably won't get his motor running. Sex, of course, Sexual activity heart disease different, and the excitement and stress might well pump out extra adrenaline.
Both mental excitement and physical exercise increase adrenaline levels and can trigger heart attacks and arrhythmias, abnormalities of the heart's pumping rhythm. Can sex do the same? In theory, it can.
But in practice, it's really very uncommon, at least during conventional sex with a familiar partner. Sexual activity heart disease studies show that fewer than one of every heart attacks is related to sexual activity, and for fatal arrhythmias the rate is just one in Put another way, for a healthy year-old man, the risk of having a heart attack in any given hour is about one in a million; sex doubles the risk, but it's still just two in a million.
For men with heart disease, the risk is 10 times higher — but even for them, the chance of suffering a heart attack during sex is just 20 in a million. Those are pretty good odds. Possibly so, according to a report from the United Kingdom. Researchers evaluated men who were in good general health when the study began.
A report from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study agrees that sex may be protective. The subjects were men between 40 and 70 who were randomly selected residents the Boston area.
A total of 1, men were eligible for the study and agreed to participate. None of the men had cardiovascular disease when they enrolled in the year study; of the men had erectile dysfunction and were analyzed separately.