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Does sex help or hurt the heart as we age?, from Harvard Men’s Health Watch

June 07, 2011

Is sex a form of exercise that can keep us healthy or a threat to those with heart disease? The June issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch reviews research on the connection between sex and health.

According to one study, sex doesn’t count as heart-protective exercise. This research monitored middle-aged male and female volunteers while they walked on a treadmill in the lab and during private sexual activity at home, the two are not equal—the treadmill proved more strenuous. During sex, the men raised their heart rates only 72% as high as they did on the treadmill. Sex was even less strenuous for women in terms of heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived exertion. All in all, average sexual activity ranks as mild to moderate in terms of exercise intensity.

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