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Can sex be counted as enough exercise to burn calories and lower blood pressure?

High blood pressure and obesity has been invariably linked. Researchers estimate that obesity causes around 26 percent of hypertension cases in men and 28 percent in women. Meanwhile, 36 percent of American adults are obese and about 29 percent have hypertension.

There is also a strong association between exercise and lower blood pressure and hypertensives are constantly told to get regular amounts of it.

Sex is one of several ways touted for its ability to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and for heart health. Studies have shown that that blood pressure is lower in people who live together and have sex often. However is sex enough exercise to lower blood pressure?

According to WebMD, thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. That means that forty-two half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions. However, that usually doesn’t happen in reality.

In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, titled ‘Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity,’ researchers identified and discussed seven myths about obesity. According to the seventh myth “a bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 kcal for each participant.”

How do you know what is myth and reality? The authors say you just need to ask “how could someone actually know that?” Instead, they offer a scientific way to estimate the energy expenditure of having sex — take the product of activity intensity in metabolic equivalents (METs), the body weight in kilograms, and time spent.

They give the flowing example: “a man weighing 154 lb (70kg) would, at 3 METs, expend approximately 3.5 kcal per minute (210 kcal per hour) during a stimulation and orgasm session. This level of expenditure is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace (approximately 2.5 miles [4 km] per hour). Given that the average bout of sexual activity lasts about 6 minutes, a man in his early-to-mid-30s might expend approximately 21 kcal during sexual intercourse. Of course, he would have spent roughly one third that amount of energy just watching television, so the incremental benefit of one bout of sexual activity with respect to energy expended is plausibly on the order of 14 kcal.”

The American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of both each week. The target is at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services people with hypertension who need to lose weight, must do it slowly. They say that one pound equals 3,500 calories, so, to lose 1 pound a week, one needs to eat 500 calories a day less or burn 500 calories a day more than usual. It’s best to work out some combination of both eating less and being more physically active.

Bottom line, hitting the bed instead of the gym may not help in weight loss or lower blood pressure! 

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