Having Sex for a Healthy Heart

It shouldn't be a surprise that sex counts as exercise. It certainly burns calories — about five every minute — from using almost every muscle and increasing your heart rate. This fun cardio "workout" can actually lower your risk of a heart attack, improve your sleep and decrease your stress levels.

couple on couch

Having sex can lower your blood pressure. One study was able to link sexual intercourse with a decline in systolic pressure, the first number of your blood pressure measurement. That number reflects the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (measured in mL of Mercury). Click here for more ways to decrease your blood pressure.

Strip down the risk of heart attack. Coming from a hormonal perspective, having sex keeps your estrogen and testosterone levels in order. Women who have low levels of estrogen are more likely to be at risk for heart attack. The American Heart Association states, "Estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall, helping to keep blood vessels flexible."

Lay down your stress. Speaking of hormones, your body releases a "feel-good" hormone when you have sex. Oxytocin floods your system after an orgasm, leaving the brain to associate its effects with touch. This hormone is also guilty for giving people the "falling in love" feeling. Click here for 40 ways to help you relax and de-stress.

Good sleep follows good sex. Oxytocin isn't the only hormone released during sex. Prolactin is linked to sex as well and its effect is pretty tiring. If you think about, in order to have an orgasm, you need to be relaxed. In order to sleep well, you need to be relaxed. The release of anxieties and calms the couple into continued bedsharing, which works on the bonding aspect.


>> Read more: 5 Ways To Get A Better Night's Sleep