When it comes to fitness, abstinence won’t make the heart grow stronger Reply

It’s no secret that guys think about sex. A lot. And it’s not just the young bucks, either – sex is important to old dudes, too. For instance, just picture Hugh Hefner and his young girlfriends while … no, wait. Don’t picture that.

Sorry.

Let’s get back to the sex. Some older guys – especially those with cardiovascular disease – sometimes wonder if the horizontal bop might be dangerous for them, potentially triggering a heart attack in the midst of the excitement (also known as “coming and going.”)

On the other hand, exercise is supposed to be good for the heart, so maybe the same is true for sex. Lots of exercise there – especially if you count the pleading.

Well, fellow old dudes, wonder no longer. A new review by the Harvard Men’s Health Watch indicates that, looked on as exercise, sex is much like chicken soup. No, I don’t mean that it’s better with matzoth balls. What I mean is that, while it may not help, it probably won’t hurt, either.

Several studies have linked sexual activity to heart attacks; however, none of them sharply define “sexual activity.” As a result, it’s not clear if they’re using a very narrow definition that covers only the act itself, or a broader one that includes things like foreplay, going to the jewelry store, or procuring chloroform.

Anyway, the Harvard study showed that the rate of fatal arrhythmias during the act itself is about one in 200. For a healthy 50-year-old man, the risk of having a heart attack in any one hour is about one in a million; sexual activity doubles the risk, but that risk is still just two in a million.

For men with heart disease, the risk is 10 times higher, but that is still only 20 in a million. Factor in the odds of an old dude actually getting laid to begin with, and the chances of checking out during sex are about the same as getting hit by lightning while cashing a winning Power Ball ticket on the deck of the Titanic.

So much for the danger part; what about exercise? How does making whoopee stack up against more prosaic forms of exertion, such as running? Well, I’m sorry to say that sex comes up short (I apologize for my language; “coming up short” is not a phrase any man wants to hear in relation to sex).

Researchers studied 19 men, measuring their heart rate on a treadmill in the laboratory, and while having sex in the privacy of their homes. I think they should have studied them having sex on a treadmill – I would love to see those numbers (and the video).

As it turns out, sex burns about 5 calories per minute, about the same as walking on a golf course. In other words, if you’re hoping for any sort of aerobic gains through sex, you’re going to have to lose the cart – or at the very least, fire the caddy.

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