November 10, 2020 12:57
A healthy sex life can help elderly people keep fit both physically and mentally and prevent various illnesses.
Regular sexual activity can help by offering increased intimacy and emotional stability. Moon Du-geon at Korea University Hospital said, "Sex discharges endorphins, which can help tackle depression and lack of motivation, and increase confidence."
There is the sharp decrease in sex hormones in later life to be reckoned with. But sexual activity in itself induces secretion of sex hormones. Testosterone prevents the shrinking of testicles and penis and prostatic diseases. It also helps maintain good bone and muscle health.
For women, sex increases the secretion of estrogen. Kim Soo-rim at International St. Mary's Hospital in Incheon said, "Even after menopause, if you continue sexual activity, you will see an increase in estrogen. The hormone blocks bacterial infections of the vagina, thus preventing various other diseases that women are prone to, and prevents osteoporosis."
Sex can also make you look younger because sex hormones are good for your skin.
Sexual activity is also related to dopamine and oxytocin, which are related to how the brain functions. Jang Il-young at Asan Medical Center in Seoul said, "The impact of sexual activity on the brain is similar to that of other exercise. Research supports the claim that elderly people who are regularly sexually active have improved cognitive abilities."
A study of 6,800 men and women between 50 and 89 in the U.K. revealed that people with regular sexual activity had 23 percent better brain functionality than those who did not.
As the body ages, it becomes harder for the elderly to exercise. Sex is a good way to do both cardio and strength training. Ten minutes of sex burns about 90 kcal of calories, which is similar to playing tennis, jogging, and playing basketball for 10 minutes. It also strengthens the muscles in various parts of the body including back and hips.
Choi Jung-yeon at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang said, "Sex in later life is an effective and natural way to increase physical activity. Doing it regularly brings many health benefits in later life."
But be careful not to overdo it. Those who have not had sex for a long time or suffer from hypertension or diabetes should not attempt to have sex suddenly. Taking erectile dysfunction pills without consultation with a doctor is also dangerous, as excessive intake can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Sexual activity is not confined to sex only. It can include other physically intimate actions such as holding hands and hugging that give emotional stability and intimacy.
"Sexual activity can be a barometer for how healthy a person is in later life. When something does not go right, then it can be a signal of other chronic illnesses, so don't be shy and actively seek medical advice," said Jang.
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