Written by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco as originally posted on the Philippine Online Chronicles
People often link a healthy lifestyle to boring and bland food, tough workouts, and sweet-deprived life. Contrary to the common beliefs, living a healthy lifestyle is not a punishment but a reward that you can give yourself.
Exercise plays an important role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Married couples will be delighted to know that sex is considered as moderately intense exercise. Although sex is not something that can replace the treadmill, it still has the ability to boost both physical and mental health. According to WebMD, “sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV.”
Maintaining a healthy sex life is a good way to improve health. Here are some known health benefits of making love.
1. Boosts immune system – The immune system is your body’s first line of defense. Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, a sexual health expert stated on WebMD that sexually active people are less prone to illness. People who engage in sex have higher levels of antibodies against germs, viruses, and other intruders. However, health experts still stress the importance of eating right, staying active, getting enough sleep, keeping up with vaccinations, and exercising safe sex to maintain good immune system and protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Based on a study from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, people who make love one to two times a week have three times as much Immunoglobulin A (antibody) in their systems compared to those who do not engage in sex or have sex less than once a week.
2. Promotes positive emotional responses – Having sex brings physical pleasure but it also has a chemical effect that has been suggested to lift the mood and reduce depression. Making love is linked to a cheerful mood. During orgasm, the body releases serotonin and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). The former is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and promotes a happier and hopeful disposition while the latter has antidepressant effects.
Making love can improve a person’s overall well-being. According to CNN.com, the body releases cortisol-lowering oxytocin while getting a massage, hugging, holding hands, and making love. This hormone has been dubbed as the “love hormone”, “hug hormone”, “cuddle chemical”, and “bliss hormone”. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain which promotes positive social behaviors and emotional responses that are linked to relaxation, trust and psychological stability. It is also known to reduce stress responses, such as anxiety.
3. Increases libido – If you want to bring the sizzle back to your sex life, it’s time to plan more date nights with your husband or wife to rekindle the romance. End the evening by going under the sheets and making love.
Lauren Streicher, MD says that making love regularly makes sex better and boosts your libido. The more you enjoy making love, the more you crave for it.
4. Makes your skin glow – Sex is a natural beauty enhancer. Health experts say that making love improves blood circulation and oxygenation of the blood. The skin is said to have a certain glow after sex or a temporary brighter complexion. During organism, endorphins and growth hormones are released, like DHEA which helps heal skin damage attributed to sun exposure, smoke and cortisol buildup.
Making love also helps get rid of toxins and give the lips a fuller look. Regular sex increases production of estrogen in women which results to shinier hair and more luminous skin. It also increases production of collagen which is responsible for making the skin appear supple and firm. When you feel good about your appearance, you feel more confident.
5. Improves female bladder control – Sex can help minimize incontinence. Regular sex is a good exercise for the pelvic floor muscles. When a woman reaches climax during sex, the muscles contract which strengthens them.
6. Promotes better sleeping habit – Regular sex is a good remedy for people who are having trouble sleeping due to anxiety or stress. After making love, the body releases the hormone prolactin which has a relaxing effect and the hormone oxytocin which promotes sleep.
7. Lessens aches and pains – A wave of oxyticin rushes through the body just before reaching an orgasm. Fitness Magazine claims that during this time, the body releases endorphins with pain relief effect. Sex has the ability to offer fast relief from aches and pains such as leg pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and headaches.
8. Lowers blood pressure – Some studies show that making love lowers systolic blood pressure (the top number that appears on your blood pressure test). The hormone oxytocin which is released during orgasm also helps lower blood pressure.
9. Decreases risk of heart attack – “Sex is a good aerobic exercise, and aerobic exercise is good for heart health,” says Dr. Nukta, medical director of interventional cardiology at Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital.
Making love regularly is good for the heart. It raises heart rate and balances estrogen and testosterone levels. WebMD cites a study where “men who had sex at least twice a week were considered half as likely to die of heart disease as men who had sex rarely.”
10. Lowers risk of prostate cancer – WebMD also stated that sex, nocturnal emmision and masturbation can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
11. Strengthens relationship – Making love can enhance the intimacy between a couple and strengthen relationship. After engaging in sex, a couple often feels the desire to cuddle and hold each other. The release of oxytocin promotes the feeling of closeness which fulfills the need for loving physical contact.
Photo1 c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved; Photo2 c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a chocolate lover, full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.