During one of my recent holiday shopping sprees, I thought, "Huh, those ridiculous 'shopping is my cardio' tees may not be so far off-base!" Of course, I knew I was only kidding myself and made haste to the gym soon thereafter, because I know better. I know I need to actually go exercise ... to get results. We can tell ourselves time and again that "power-walking" around a department store, housework, or gardening are indeed subbing in for cardio, and while it's still technically physical activity (which is good, sure), I'm of the mindset that real calorie-torching happens when you actually work out. But no, no, no, say researchers. SEX counts, too!
Yup, sex. The one physical activity we constantly try to argue must be physical and sweaty enough to constitute a workout. And now scientists from the University of Quebec in Canada -- whose study involved just 20 heterosexual couples, mind you -- say sex = "significant" exercise. Hmm ...
Sounds like a dream come true, but let's not fool ourselves, shall we? For one thing, their 20 couples were between 18-35, so not really of the "aging and/or lowered metabolism" crowd, eh? What's more, men burned 120 calories from 30 minutes of sex, while women burned 90. But that's only about as much as you'd burn during a 15-minute jog.
Sure, that's better than nothing, but I would think it's more like the icing on the cake to your workout routine. "Extra credit," per se. And let's be honest: Taking the time to REALLY work out, build cardiovascular wellness and tone your body with weight training actually makes for better sex. So skipping the gym really isn't in any of our best interests at all. Not that I see health care practitioners ever advising that. Instead, this research just proves having sex is another way to bolster a healthy, active lifestyle.
Because when it boils down to it, no matter how much we'd prefer to stay between the sheets than hit the treadmill, we're likely far better off getting some and getting that workout in.
Do you think sex should count as "significant" exercise?
Image via Ashley Corbin-Teich/Corbis