Early morning ‘tryst’ keeps the heart doctor away

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Couples should heed this advice: Several minutes of morning sex—right after waking up and before sipping that first cup of coffee—can keep both partners looking and feeling young, healthy and elevated all day long.

Experts said that while both partners would benefit from having an increased level of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone responsible for creating the feelings of intimacy and relaxation and help stave off anxiety and depression, men would appreciate that morning sex could also stave off cardiovascular diase.

At Queen’s University Belfast in Ireland, researchers discovered that of the 1,000 men they monitored for 10 years, those who did the morning sex at least three times a week, decreased their risk of heart attack or stroke by half. Even those who did the morning sex regularly showed improvement in blood circulation, thereby keeping their blood pressure at healthy levels.

And although some older individuals may worry that having sex first thing in the morning could cause a stroke, the study found no link between how often men had sex and how likely they were to have a stroke.

Great way

Dr. Adolfo Bellosillo, president and founder of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases, explained: “Sex is an excellent means of working out the body. It has also been shown to boost the immune system and provide stress relief, just like a good cardio session.”

Having sex for 30 minutes can burn up to 85 calories or more. Adding it up for over 40 sessions of 30 minutes sex every morning can burn over 3,000 calories, enough for one to shed a pound off their weight.

Bellosillo, who is also head of the Makati Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Cardiology Unit, also cited a study conducted at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania wherein researchers found that having sex once or twice a week also boosts the immune system.

In the said study, those who had  frequent sex had increased their Immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels by 30 percent compared to their nonsexual counterparts. The IgA is an antibody that protects against infection.

See a doctor first

But Bellosillo urged heart and stroke patients—those who had a heart attack, heart transplant, stroke, received an implanted heart device, or have other heart conditions—to see their doctors first so they could get advice on how to resume a healthy sex life.

“While it’s generally all right to engage in sexual activity, it should be best if the patient will undergo exercise stress testing first to determine if the heart is strong enough to resume sexual activity. Don’t be afraid to discuss this with your doctor,” he said.

Bellosillo explained that sexual activity, like any cardiovascular exercise, is a strenuous physical activity that makes one’s heart beat faster and lungs work harder.

And what is the risk of dying during intercourse? The American Heart Association has this interesting data: Only 0.6 percent to 1.7 percent of deaths occur during intercourse, and the factors that increase risk have been clearly identified.

According to the AHA report: “Of the subjects who died during coitus (sexual intercourse), 82 percent to 93 percent were men, and 75 percent were having extramarital sexual activity, in most cases with a younger partner in an unfamiliar setting and/or after excessive food and alcohol consumption.”

Bellosillo thus warned: “Couples in long-term relationships are far less likely to suffer heart attacks while having sex. It’s a different story for those having affairs or one-night stands.”

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