When most people think about strategies to sharpen their minds and boost memory, they might consider crossword puzzles, meditation, or perhaps a diet rich in antioxidants. But there is another unexpected tool in our arsenal for cognitive health – and it is tucked away in our bedrooms. That is right, we’re talking about sex.
A fun and enjoyable activity for many, sex is not just great for the body and soul. As new research suggests, it is fantastic for the brain, especially in older adults.
Ageing Gracefully: Sex on the Mind
As we age, the search for the fountain of youth becomes more pressing. And while we might not have found the elixir of eternal youth, research has shown a tantalizing connection between regular sexual activity and maintained cognitive function.
Older adults, specifically those between the ages of 70 and 90, who have regular, satisfying sexual encounters often demonstrate sharper memory and overall cognitive abilities than their less active counterparts.
Nonetheless, it is not just the act itself. The deep emotional connection, physical closeness, and the bond shared during intimacy also play a pivotal role. Engaging in sexual activity taps into various sections of the brain, making it a holistic exercise for the mind.
Beyond the Sheets: What Happens in the Brain?
Sex, being both a physical and emotional act, triggers a cocktail of changes in our body and brain.
The Hormonal Surge
Engaging in sexual activity leads to a surge in several hormones. Dopamine, the pleasure hormone, not only boosts mood but also plays a vital role in attention and motivation.
Then there is oxytocin, known as the bonding or trust hormone. Both hormones have shown positive effects on memory and learning processes.
Cardio for the Brain
Much like a morning jog or an aerobics class, sex enhances blood flow throughout the body, including the brain. This increased circulation ensures that brain cells receive ample oxygen and nutrients.
Consequently, this can aid in improved function and longevity.
Keeps Stress At Bay
A satisfying intimate relationship can act as a significant stress buster. And it is no secret that chronic stress can be detrimental to cognitive health.
By reducing stress, sex indirectly promotes better memory and cognitive function.
Beyond the Brain: The All-Encompassing Health Benefits of Sex
However, the joys of intimacy are not limited to brain health. Engaging in regular sexual activity has numerous health benefits:
1. Immune Boost: Regular sexual activity has been linked to higher levels of certain antibodies, potentially giving your immune system a little boost.
2. Pain Relief: Orgasms can act as a natural painkiller, reducing the perception of pain, including chronic back pain, menstrual cramps, and even migraines.
3. Better Sleep: After intimacy, the body releases prolactin, a hormone that induces relaxation and sleepiness.
4. Heart Health: Regular sexual activity is a form of exercise which is beneficial for heart health.
Additionally, the hormones released during sex can promote better heart function.
5. Improved Bladder Control: Especially for women, the act of sex can help strengthen pelvic muscles, reducing urinary incontinence issues.