Sex: Fitness that's free and feels great
In my last column, one of you kind readers commented on my reference to sex: "Love your articles. But must you always need to add something about sex into the columns? Every. Single. Time."
This week, I won't mention sex, but instead devote the entire column to it. Why? Because sex is free, fun and feels good. And because sex - like water, vegetables, and exercise - is healthy. And let's not forget, we do need sex to reproduce.
Yup. It's time for sex with a few health and fitness thoughts ('cause this is a fitness blog), and 'cause a life with a little lovin' is a healthier and happier one.
1. Sex breeds a healthier mind
Our televisions are littered with weak, formulaic, CSI-type dramas full of murder and kidnapping. Entertaining? No. It's emotional trash. Yet the masses are neutral towards violence and prudish towards sex; maybe this should be a 'Stretching Tips Pre-Robbery' column instead. That's just wrong. It's just sex, and it's so healthy.
No, I don't envision TV shows replacing violence with sex. So what about turning off the idiot tube, performing 30 minutes of a home fitness circuit, 30 minutes of passionate sex with your loved one, then jumping in the shower together?
That's the cheesiest advice I might give this year, but one hour fewer of violence and mindless reality TV, and one hour more of getting jiggy and drenching your body with water, is mentally (and physically) life-changing.
2. Love well, sleep well
People underestimate the power of sleep. Resting your body and releasing stress during sleep is a cure for too many ailments to list. And nobody can argue an orgasm followed by a cuddle sends us snoring like champions. Guys, just don't (always) let the chicken come before the egg, eh?
Sleep specialist Dr Dev Banerjee of Woolcock Medical Research Institute points out: "We spend one-third of our lives sleeping. A bedroom environment with 45-inch televisions, smartphones and tablets isn't one that will help you sleep. Sex aids sleep, and so does a healthy environment that's intended for rest, not distractions from it.
"Sleep even affects your sex life. When I treat men with sleep problems and sleep apnoea, an early question is, 'How's your morning glory?' It's usually slack, because blood flow lessens when REM sleep is lacking; the sex life suffers."
3. Get fit for sex
Does the 'escalator out' sign at the train station have you swearing at the prospect of hiking up 20 stairs? Read on, because your fitness might determine the quality of your sex sessions.
Ready yourself for action by running the stairs, skipping rope, rowing and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) running sessions. Bodyweight movements utilising Tabata training is the best non-penetrative practise to perfect those "I'm a bit tipsy and need a romp now" bedroom sessions.
Get involved with slow, sensual lovemaking - a bit more like Ridge and the crew on The Bold and The Beautiful. Ladies, get the squats, dead lifts, and lunges into your gym program. Guys, build upper body strength. It's yoga for all - breathe, stretch, and hold in that wind (on both gym mat and the mattress). Build core strength. While 'tightness' is good, it's not in your hip flexors, so stretch 'em.
4. Hug it out when it's not on
Sex isn't always available. Damn it. Relax, and come give me a hug.
The University of North Carolina studied the effects of holding hands and hugging, and 20-second, extended hugs caused more of a chemical called oxytocin that can lower stress, decrease depression and increase calmness.
I've done this for a friend, and I've needed it from a friend. You embrace, you breathe, you feel one another's heartbeats ... and you relax. Hold the hug. Stress goes down; feeling good goes up; no sex needed (even if it's still wanted).
Bust my chops in the comments if you'd like, because it might sound like I'm writing this wearing a leopard g-string, smoking a "j", banging on my drum (no pun intended) and singing Kumbaya. But I'm just throwing my two cents in, because I'm vice-captain for the team that believes more sex and a lot less violence is healthy for our country.
OK, I'm pushing my editor's word count. I'm off to practice what I preach.
Does sex play a part in your fitness regimen?
Sydney Morning Herald