Pounding heart, hot skin, mental thrill...
The two activities have more in common than you might think. And according to new research, they can benefit each other in surprising ways. Here’s how satisfying sex helps you get stronger, fitter and happier.
CONSIDER IT AN EXCELLENT WARM-UP
Sex revs up your heart rate, increasing blood flow to your muscles and joints, which primes them for movement, says Yvonne Fulbright, the author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking. This greater flexibility gives you a full range of motion when you exercise, so your form will be stronger and you’ll get better results from your reps.
YOU MAY WORK OUT FOR LONGER
Having an orgasm turns on the area of the brain that dulls pain for up to 24 hours, found research from Rutgers University. Increased pain tolerance may help you pick up heavier dumbbells than usual or log an extra couple of kilometres on the treadmill.
THE AFTERBURN IS POWERFUL
Your body produces mood-lifting endorphins during sex, and that happiness can also make you more confident, Yvonne says. The more you believe in yourself and your abilities, the easier it is for you to tackle a tough routine like Crossfit or a HIIT session.
THERE’S THE REFUELLING FACTOR
During sex, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone linked to better sleep, says Mark Anshel, a professor emeritus in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Middle Tennessee State University. Getting quality shut-eye means you’ll recover quicker from your last workout and have more energy for your next one.