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.


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.

Adiós, World Cup, and thanks for the memories 11

Well, World Cup 2010 is over, and what a tournament it was. There were lots of upsets, and lots of surprises. This Cup left some indelible impressions on me; chief among those is the one caused by my lumpy futon, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m talking about the stuff memories are made of.

Of course, you simply can’t talk about WC 2010 without mentioning the ubiquitous vuvuzela. One thing that drew more commentary than it warranted (not that that’s going to stop me from commenting further) was this yard-long injection-molded plastic trumpet. By my lights, vuvuzelas are a lot like children – taken one or two at a time, they’re merely annoying; more than that, however, and they become a motivation to kill. Surely, if Satan has a marching band, it will be composed largely of vuvuzelas.

My one consolation here is that bagpipes are insanely expensive and largely out of reach for your average drunken yobbo.

Another thing that struck me was the level of vitriol this enormously popular game provokes in some people. The most common complaint I heard is that soccer’s boring. Of course, most of the people I heard voicing this opinion were weaned on American football, which is typically 45 seconds of mayhem followed by 10 minutes of beer and truck commercials. And I have to admit, it’s hard to compete with that for excitement. In fact, about the only thing that even approaches that level of stimulation is golf, or perhaps reading federal tax codes.

Some football lovers compare the beautiful game to jazz, with its ebb and flow and emphasis on improvisation. To me, though, a soccer match is more like four years of high school — it seems to go on forever, and if you score even once, it’s a huge deal.

Another highlight of this Cup was Paul, the German octopus who accurately predicted the outcome of eight out of eight matches – including the Germany side’s loss to Spain, which knocked them out of the tournament.

The fickle Germans loved Paul – until he accurately forecast the loss to Spain in the semi-finals. Once that happened, public opinion turned against the prescient mollusk – in fact, he even started receiving death threats. But that’s the nature of fame, I suppose – one day you’re the toast of the stadt, and the next your adoring public wants you lightly breaded and fried, with a little lemon aioli.

Actually, this whole Paul the game-picking cephalopod thing puzzled me from the start. Why did the Germans have an octopus predicting games, anyway? Apart from U-boats, I don’t recall them having much of a seafaring history. It seems to me that they’d have something with a more Prussian personality doing their prognosticating — like maybe a badger with a toothache.

Also, I can’t help but reflect that it’s too bad they didn’t have Paul around predicting outcomes in 1939; he could have saved the world a lot of trouble.

Another thing that made an impression on me was the English commentators and the way they butchered Spanish names. A perfect example was the way they pronounced the name of the midfielder who scored Spain’s Cup-winning goal. For the entire final match, I thought they were talking about “Auntie Esther.” I found this confusing because I actually had an Auntie Esther. She was a sweet old lady but she wouldn’t have been much of a footballer – what with the oxygen tank and everything. Hell on wheels when it came to bingo, though.

One last thought while we’re on the subject of names. If it’s true that our names influence our destiny, then Gerard Pique should thank his lucky stars his name is not Bijay.