Just because sex uses every muscle doesn’t mean it’s a “workout.” You use every muscle getting out of bed, too; does that mean THAT’S a great exercise also?
I was inspired to write this article after seeing yet another outlandish article touting the workout virtues of sexual intercourse.
He got that body from lots of sex; the weights are just props…
Well, it’s about time that these claims be refuted.
The latest sex is good exercise article (on a site that encourages living strong) actually states: “It turns out that breaking a sweat in bed is actually the best exercise you can do.”
Later on in that post, it states: “…you will probably need to supplement with other workouts.”
Sex as a great workout is one of the most ridiculous and nonsensical fitness claims ever to make the rounds.
I’m sure that there are plenty of flabby, easily-winded, totally out-of-shape men and women out there who do plenty of romping in the bedroom. And they’re always out of breath after walking up just 10 steps.
I’m sure there are reams of women and men out there, overweight who tire easily playing with the kids, who have sex five times a week.
The article that’s on the healthy living site was obviously inspired by another article on a different site called “Sex: The Ultimate Full Body Workout.”
According to that absurd, extremely misleading title, sex is more strenuous than any of the following:
• CrossFit WODs
• The same amount of time doing deadlifts, pull-ups, squats, bench presses and overhead presses
• Hill dashes, parking lot sprints or any form of high intensity interval training
• Advanced yoga poses
• Martial arts training
• Shoveling snow
• Chopping wood
Get outta here.
The body has 657 muscles. According to Mike Aunger, a physiotherapist who’s quoted in both stories, sex uses all of them.
So what. If you break out into a sweat during sex, you probably also break out into a sweat when dusting furniture or walking your 30 pound dog.
Compound Strength Training vs. Sex
When I was a personal trainer I preached the benefits of compound strength training exercises. These work several muscle groups at the same time.
Examples are the deadlift, leg press, squat, kettlebell swing, seated row, standing overhead barbell press and any kind of chest press.
So if sex engages every muscle, why shouldn’t sex count as a great workout?
Because there’s no resistance.
• This is why elderly people who use walkers can still enjoy sex.
• It’s why obese people who get winded after just a hundred slow steps can still have sex.
• Sex is easy to do. It’s why people with diabetes and congestive heart failure can do it.
• Your grandparents, for all you know, have sex several times a week.
Americans are getting fatter, yet they’ve been having sex all along. So why NOW is sex suddenly a great workout? Because an article about this can go viral on the Internet?
What next, sex is as good a workout as climbing a 50 foot rope while wearing a 30 pound rucksack?
News Flash: You Use All Your Muscles in Everyday Activities
Why should sex be an exception? Between the time you get out of bed in the morning and the time you’re out the door to go to work, you’ve used every muscle in your body – repeatedly.
The second story says that “sex is a full-body workout.” When’s the last time you saw a hooker who looked like a CrossFit athlete – or even just a group fitness class instructor?
Sex is not a workout unless you define “workout” as activity that engages nearly every muscle.
If you’re snoozing in a flimsy hammock, few muscles are working. Now get out of that flimsy hammock and you will be working a heck of a lot of muscles as you struggle to exit it. Does this mean you had a “workout”?
According to physics, sex IS activity. But it is NOT a workout. It’s not exercise, even if your heart races.
Your heart will also race if a big spider suddenly dashes across your computer screen. Does that mean you just had a workout? Smoking causes your heart to speed up. Does this mean smoking is good exercise?
If you’re breathing heavily during sex, this doesn’t mean it’s a workout. You breathe heavily when you’re fearful, too. Does this mean that your wait in the dentist’s office is a workout?
If you think that having sex more often will make you more physically fit, your entire body is deeply stuck in the sand. The efficacy of a physical activity shouldn’t always be based on how many muscles are “engaged.” Other variables must be considered, like, um, the presence of resistance.
Enjoy your sex, but remember, you will “probably” need to supplement with other exercise.