Sexual activity, heart attacks and longevity
Convention wisdom holds that after you have a heart attack, you should take it easy and avoid strenuous activity. On some level, that probably makes sense. But is physical intimacy is out of the question?
Well, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine, the answer is no. In fact, frequent sexual activity post heart attach may prolong your life.
Does that sound crazy? I thought so too until I dug into the data and looked at the specifics. Just for background, the investigation spanned a period of 22-years, beginning in 1993 and consisted of participants (men and women) who suffered some form of a myocardial infraction in 1992 or 1993.
Surprisingly, investigators found that the folks who got it on frequently (meaning multiple times per week with their partner) were a whopping 27 times less likely to have died during the longitudinal study.
You may be wondering about those who “did it” less frequently, meaning once a week? Well, according to the results, they too saw a slight benefit, with 12% less likely to die.
And finally, there were the participants who infrequently hit the sheets. Going by the data, they upped their chances for survival by 8% when compared to folks who didn’t get it on at all.
Now, it is important to point out that age, health and relationship status were also predictive death rate factors.
“Not surprisingly, the people who were sexually active were more likely to be in a relationship, were younger and generally healthier,” says Andrew Steptoe, head of University College London’s Research Department of Behavioral Science and Health, tells Reuters.
Other data points from the study revealed that participants who did it most prior to their heart attacks were 49 years old (on average). Additionally, investigators found those who weren't doing it at all were around 58 – and more likely to have high cholesterol, diabetes and other chronic health challenges.
“Sexual activity is often part of a close and loving relationship as people age, but the relationship is probably more important than the sex,” says Steptoe, who commented on the study but was not involved with the research. “Although regular sex is part of healthy aging, people should not feel that they ‘ought’ to have sex in order to try to live longer.”
So, there you have it, folks. Getting it on after a heart attack may help you live longer. Still, you’ll want to get the green light from your doctor as each person’s health situation is different.