By now, many of you have met at least a few challenges regarding your new year's goal to exercise more and/or lose weight. February is National Heart Health Awareness Month, and the month in which we celebrate Valentine's Day with our sweetie; with that, it's a good time to multitask ... in a good way.

As you may know, sex is good for your health; it's good for what ails you. It is a stress reliever. It's a great way to burn calories and get aerobic exercise, all while bolstering your relationship.

Sex is not only for procreation, but recreation. It's a God-given, pleasurable experience to be shared with your loved one. Ladies need to remember that the sexual pleasure is not only for the man to enjoy; you, too, are to partake and enjoy the experience in all of its splendor.

Better than milk, sex does a body good. How, you ask? (From the 'Sexual Healing, Reclaim the Feeling' chapter of Living Well), sex affects the following in good ways:

Quality of Life: Medical research and psychological studies have proven that sex and intimacy have a definite, proven positive effect on your physical and emotional well-being.

Relieves Stress: Sex relaxes the entire body, head to toe!

Aerobic Exercise: Sex not only improves circulation, it also burns almost 200 calories per average act of intercourse. Now, would you rather be on a treadmill for an hour, or have sex with the man you love? Which sounds like more fun?

Reduces Chronic Pain: Regular sex has been shown to decrease ongoing chronic pain. This occurs via sustained endorphin release. Endorphins are the "feel good" hormones.

Sex releases endorphins. Sex gets all the cobwebs out of your system and clears the head. It causes those wonderful, feel-good endorphins to flow through your usually stressed and emotionally burdened body and mind; and, ladies and gents, don't you need some relief from pent-up stress? I know you do ... and you know it, too!

Emotional Benefits: People who have regular sex have less depression, fewer suicidal tendencies and decreased anxiety. Sex–especially if it's great–can put a smile on your face.

Prolonged Life Span: It has been reported that people who engage in regular sex experience better, more restful sleep and get heart benefits from the aerobic exercise sex affords.

Improved Partner Relations: Sharing regular moments of pleasure and passion helps improve the relationship and communication with your significant other. The closeness and touch is soothing and protective. It's comforting. And for those who are fortunately matched with their soulmate, it's been said that when you're close to your lover and your mouths are in close proximity, the chemical reaction of your breath with that of your loved one stimulates a biochemical reaction between you, which strengthens the emotional bond.

Valentine's Day is coming, but you don't have to wait until then to get your heart pumping; and would you rather be on a treadmill, or engage in hour-long titillation?

According to the Mayo Clinic and other sites–including Women's Day "Eight Sexy Ways to Burn Calories"–extended foreplay can burn approximately 238 calories per half-hour; compare that to 204-300 calories per hour on a treadmill, depending on your speed. Given that, which would you rather not only participate in, but actually enjoy?

Doctor's orders: Relieve your stress and boost your heart health, not only with treadmills, but enjoy some sexual titillation. Rediscover your sweetie's erogenous zones and have your honey rediscover yours. Your heart (and your honey) will thank you ... and you'll be better for it, as well. Snuggle right, then sleep tight!

Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell, a book about health, sex and happiness, with a foreword by Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington; and endorsed by psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere and others. The book includes current comparative data for Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. The first book in 8 years addressing (and changing the history of) Black women's health. (print and eBook).

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original post on Psychology Today, with author credit. Feel free to post the link to this, and any of my PT posts, to your social network pages. Follow me here at PT (mostly); and now (I've finally joined the fray) on Twitter: @DrMelodyMcCloud.

Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love (eBook with erotic love poems and more--just in time for Valentine's Day!!)

Medical Bloopers! Amusing & Amazing Stories of Health Care Workers (foreword by Dr. Neil Shulman, author of Doc Hollywood). (a little levity, now as an eBook)

About the Author

Melody T. McCloud M.D.

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

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