Can having sex be enough to replace your cardiovascular routine at the gym? And how many calories are actually burned during sex?
So you've decided you wanted to shed some pounds after the sedentary lifestyle you've been leading (what with the pandemic stripping us of our freedom and all)? Do you also find yourself in a pretty stable relationship where the sex is not lacking? Perhaps the idea has crossed your mind: can getting it on replace the treadmill?
'Sexercising' versus exercising
Well, for those of you who think that having enough sex can replace your cardio routine at the gym the answer might disappoint you. Although the benefits of sex are ample (simply doing it is pleasurable!), studies have shown that very little cardiovascular endurance is actually being exercised.
In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal, where 21 heterosexual couples were asked to wear fitness monitors to track their lovemaking, results showed that men on average burn 100 calories per sex session whereas women burn a mere 69 (get your mind out of the gutter...).
Researchers calculated that when having sex, men burned 4.2 calories per minute while women were burning 3.1 calories every minute. The participants were then asked to complete a 30 minute run on a treadmill to compare energy expenditure. Ultimately, results found that men burned on average 276 calories when running on a treadmill, which far outweighs the energy expenditure of sex.
Key factors to consider
Beyond this research, other studies have looked into how one must take into account some key factors when trying to calculate how many calories are being burned when having intercourse. First, at what frequency is a person having sex and for how long at a single time?
One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that the average sex session was no longer than six minutes. Other research concluded that penetrative intercourse lasted between three and seven minutes long. It's safe to say that a seven minute quickie is not enough to get you back in shape (although again, it can be very pleasurable!).
But don't get too bummed out, although getting lucky might not be the best exercise out there, the British Medical Journal found that men who have an active sex life (about 20 ejaculations per month) were less likely to develop prostate cancer.