Helps Keep Your Immune System Humming
“Sexually active people take fewer sick days,” says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD a sexual health expert.
People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other intruders. Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the a certain antibody compared to students who had sex less often.
You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:
- Eat right.
- Stay active.
- Get enough sleep.
- Keep up with your vaccinations.
- Use a condom if you don’t know both of your STD statuses.
Boosts Your Libido
Longing for a more lively sex life? “Having sex will make sex better and will improve your libido,” says Lauren Streicher, MD. She is an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. For women, having sex ups vaginal lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity, she says, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
Improves Women’s Bladder Control
A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence, something that will affect about 30% of women at some point in their lives.
Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contractions in those muscles, which strengthens them
Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure, says Joseph J. Pinzone, MD. He is CEO and medical director of Amai Wellness.
“There have been many studies,” he says. “One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically (not masturbation) lowered systolic blood pressure.” That’s the first number on your blood pressure test.
Counts as Exercise
“Sex is a really great form of exercise,” Pinzone says. It won’t replace the treadmill, but it counts for something.
Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV. It gives you a one-two punch: It bumps up your heart rate and uses various muscles.
So get busy! You may even want to clear your schedule to make time for it on a regular basis. “Like with exercise, consistency helps maximize the benefits,” Pinzone says.
Lowers Heart Attack Risk
A good sex life is good for your heart. Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate, sex helps keep your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance.
“When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease,” Pinzone says.
Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease as men who had sex rarely.
Before you reach for an aspirin, try for an orgasm.
“Orgasm can block pain,” says Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, a distinguished service professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. It releases a hormone that helps raise your pain threshold.
Stimulation without orgasm can also do the trick. “We’ve found that vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women have told us that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache,” Komisaruk says.
May Make Prostate Cancer Less Likely
Going for the gusto may help ward off prostate cancer.
Men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer during one study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
You don’t need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.
You may nod off more quickly after sex, and for good reason.
“After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness” after sex, says Sheenie Ambardar, MD. She is a psychiatrist in West Hollywood, Calif.
Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety.
Ambardar says touching and hugging can release your body’s natural “feel-good hormone.” Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness, too, Ambardar says. It’s not only a prescription for a healthy life, but a happy one.
Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gainor help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.
Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.
Exercise can be fun
Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.
Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
The bottom line on exercise
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefitsand have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.
- Have a plan. Eat a light dinner if you ate a big lunch that day. Or if you know ahead of time that you’re going to a restaurant, cut back on calories during other meals that day.
- Knowing menu terms and cooking basics makes ordering easier, especially if you need to control calories, fat and other nutrients. Look for foods that are steamed, broiled, baked or grilled, and limit fried and sautéed items or foods described as “crispy,” “rich” or “au gratin.”
Choosing a Restaurant
- Think ahead. Consider meal options at different restaurants and look for places with a wide range of menu items. Check online menus if available for menu and nutrition information.
- Balance your meal by including foods from all the different food groups: meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Look for freshly made entrée salads that give you “balance in a bowl.” For example, entrée salads with chicken, cheese or seafood provide protein along with fiber and vitamins. If you are counting calories, use a low-fat dressing or skip some of the extras, like croutons.
- For sandwich toppings, go with low-fat options like lettuce, tomato and onion; use condiments like ketchup, mustard or relish; and low-fat dressings.
- Round out your meal by ordering healthy side dishes, such as a side salad with low-fat dressing, baked potato or fruit. Boost the nutritional value of your baked potato by topping it with vegetables, salsa or chili.
- Substitute. Ask for a side salad with low-fat dressing to replace fries in a combination meal.
- Many restaurants honor requests, so don’t be afraid to be assertive, ask menu questions and make special requests to meet your nutritional needs.
- Many restaurants serve huge portions, sometimes enough for two or three people. Order menu items that contain fewer calories and eat a smaller portion. Bring leftovers home for another meal. Or, order an appetizer in place of an entrée and add a small salad.
- Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. Fast eaters often are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.
Eating Out with Kids
- Choose a restaurant that caters to children and has a healthy children’s menu that includes smaller portion sizes and meals designed to provide ample nourishment for smaller bodies.
- For kids’ meals, opt for milk as a beverage and fruit for dessert.
- Order plain foods with sauce on the side.
- Substitute healthier “sides” in place of fries, like carrots or apple slices.
- Choose two or three suitable menu items, then let your child pick one.
- Let kids order their familiar favorites when they eat out. For new foods, offer a bite or two from your order.
- Calcium is important at all ages, but especially for growing bones. To get more calcium, drink low-fat or fat-free white or chocolate milk or add a slice of cheese to their sandwich. Choose dairy-based treats like yogurt, a smoothie or frozen dairy dessert.
Restaurants may be intimidating to people trying to stick to a healthy diet, but with preparation and confidence, you can enjoy your restaurant meal without abandoning healthy eating.
If weight loss came in a pill, the list of side effects might include “May cause shortness of cash” and “Some users experience a loss of friendships.” After all, that’s what happens when you spend half a paycheck on healthy food and pass up happy-hour invites so you can avoid the bar snacks. And those side effects aren’t just misery inducing, they’re self-defeating too: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who turned these pitfalls into excuses were up to 76 percent less likely to lose weight than those who figured out ways around them. This advice will help you battle the bulge without missing a beat of your life.
SNACK, BUT SMARTLY
Grazing between meals used to be on the weight-loss hit list. But nutritionists now know that it’s better to satisfy a craving with healthy grub than ignore it and risk a junk-food binge later. The best picks are filling, protein-packed snacks, such as one stick of string cheese, a tablespoon of peanut butter on a piece of fruit, or a medium-size bowl of edamame.
STEP ON THE SCALE DAILY
If your regular weight increases several days in a row, it’s a red flag letting you know you need to cut back a little or beef up your workouts slightly.
SCULPT THREE TIMES A WEEK
Doing 5 minutes each of push-ups, lunges, and squats (in 30-second intervals) will help build and maintain muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be, so you’ll torch more calories as you go about your day.
TURN OFF THE TV
Dining while viewing can make you take in 40 percent more calories than usual, reports a new study. And texting, driving, or any other distracting activity during a meal can also result in your eating too much. Instead, make each meal something you put on a plate and sit down to, even if you’re eating solo.
REACH FOR YOUR CELL
Next time your mind gets stuck on a certain food, call a friend and redirect your brain by asking how her day’s going. Research shows that cravings only last about 5 minutes, so by the time you hang up, the urge to devour junk will have subsided.
WATCH THE BOOZE
One innocent-looking margarita or cosmopolitan can rack up hundreds of calories that do nothing to quench your appetite. Treat yourself just on the weekends and cut back somewhere else or stick to a glass of wine, light beer, or vodka and soda — three drinks that each have about 100 calories per serving.
EAT A BIG, BALANCED BREAKFAST
An a.m. meal made up mostly of carbs and protein with some fat keeps blood-sugar levels steady and hunger pangs away so you’re not susceptible to pigging out come lunch, studies show. Opt for something satisfying for your stomach and taste buds — like egg whites and turkey bacon with whole-wheat toast.
HAVE FRUIT TWICE A DAY
Fruit has no fat and is mostly water, so it’ll fill you up while leaving less room on your plate (and in your stomach) for high-cal fare. Don’t freak about fruit’s carb count — we’re talking the good kind of carbohydrates that contain lots of healthy fiber.
VISUALIZE YOURSELF THIN
When you feel your willpower breaking, conjure up a mental picture of yourself when you looked and felt slim. The visual motivation keeps you focused on your goal weight and reminds you that it is attainable, since you’ve achieved it before.
STAY ASLEEP LONGER
Getting to bed just 30 minutes earlier and waking up 30 minutes later than you normally do can help you make better food choices, researchers report. Also, when you’re well-rested, you’re less prone to snacking out of fatigue or stress.
Lastly, Weight Loss Can be a easy thing, With not much effort.