Sex isn’t only a pleasurable experience; there have been several claims that it has additional health benefits that a re compa rable to t hose of exercise.
In fact, the physiological response to sex is similar to that of exercise. Landmark studies in the 1960s showed people having sex had an increase in their respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure.
These are all signs the body is working at an elevated rate, similar to that experienced during exercise.
More recently, these findings have been replicated by a number of researchers. Comparing this to what happens during exercise, they showed sexual activity elicits a moderate level of physical stress- up to 75 per cent of maximal exercise.
But there is a catch. They also noticed these physiological stress levels were intermittent. Much of the average time of sexual activity recorded (33 minutes) was spent at lower stress levels.
A more recent study of young Canadian heterosexual couples showed that a bout of sexual activity was akin to moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking).
So then is sex exercise? Well, yes and no. It depends on your definition of exercise. If you compare the two purely by the physiological change that occurs then yes, because sex elicits a change in human physiology akin to exercise. But if you believe exercise should change human physiology for the better, in the long term, then perhaps no. This is because, for most, sex isn’t sustained long enough nor occurs frequently enough for a true physiological change to happen in the long term.