According to von Borstel, exerting yourself between the sheets is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do for your heart. “As well as an entire cardiac workout, before and during intercourse there is a big release of hormones that have a protective effect on our cardiovascular system,” he explains.
An orgasm can release 50 different chemical messengers. One substance, oxytocin, the so-called cuddle hormone, triggered by affectionate physical contact, is proven to lower blood pressure, promote the healing of wounds and reduce stress.
Having sex with someone you love, rather than a stranger, is far better for hearts because genuine affection causes the release of higher levels of oxytocin, says von Borstel.
This was borne out in a recent study of 2,200 people by Michigan State University, which found women over 50 who had regular sex tended to have lower blood pressure, and so a lower risk of heart problems – but the benefits were only seen in those who reported high levels of satisfaction and enjoyment from sex.