Karelis also compared sex with regular gym exercise. He found that men burned between and calories during a minute, moderate-intensity session on the treadmill, while women burned between and When asked to compare the two activites, all of the men and 95 percent of the women in the study said that sex was more pleasant than pounding the treadmill. So, we are not only making considerable headway toward reaching our minute weekly exercise goal when we have sex, we also stand to gain more pleasure than from a gym visit.
Exercise may not equal weight loss While some may argue that a study on healthy, young individuals may not be representative of the general population, the participants included a wide spread of weight categories. Body mass index BMI for men varied between For women, the range was from The study doesn't reveal anything about the participants' weight during the 4 weeks they took part.
But if you're looking to shift some pounds, exercise alone may not be the answer to weight loss we once thought it was, as we reported last week. Researchers from the University of Bangor in the United Kingdom found no discernible weight loss in women who had taken part in three sessions of circuit exercise training per week for either 4 or 8 weeks, despite burning around 3, calories in total during this time period.
On the contrary, the team identified changes in hormones that control appetite in overweight and obese study participants after exercise. Sex might fill a useful gap here because hormones released during our amorous experiences cause us to eat less.
Sex curbs food intake The "love hormone" oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus in our brain as well as in our gastrointestinal tract, and it has been accredited with key functions in sex, empathy, relationship-building, childbirth, and breast-feeding. Oxytocin levels shoot up when we have sex — specifically, when we experience orgasm. But that's not all the love hormone can do. Lawson — from the Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — explains in an article in the December edition of Nature Reviews Endocrinology that "experiments in rodents, nonhuman primates and humans consistently show that oxytocin reduces caloric consumption.
It's important to note that oxytocin doesn't stick around in our bodies for very long. Within 2—8 minutes of being released, half of hormone will be gone. The after-effect of a single sexual encounter on our food intake will therefore only ever be transient.
Still, every little helps, and a temporary curb on eating after sex is sure to contribute to overall weight loss. Sex and weight management Now that we've looked at the benefit of sex when it comes to burning calories and temporarily putting a halt on eating, how likely is it that we are going to lose weight by having sex?
That probably depends on how easy it is to incorporate sex into your personal schedule. Finding time to be romantic sounds easy, but the stark reality of busy lives make it less tenable for some. However, it is worth reminding ourselves that sex has a plethora of health benefits, and, unlike a gym visit, you don't have to stray far from your bedroom — or other location of personal preference — to make it happen.
So, if you are looking to shed a few pounds in the lead up to the peak holiday season, why not make the time to spend with your partner, enjoy sharing some intimate moments, and bask in the full effect that all that oxytocin and calorie loss will hopefully have on your scales. You might find that your diet plan will easily accommodate sex as an indispensable component.