Sex in athletes

According to researchers and doctors, it is better not to have sex before sports because it will reduce the athlete’s performance

The ancient Greeks believed that athletes should abstain from intercourse before exercising, but modern Olympics and scientists disagree about the effects of intercourse during competitions and whether abstinence strengthens athletic performance.

Athletes have avoided intercourse on the night of major competitions, or even a few weeks before, for years, but many sports medicine coaches and practitioners are now skeptical of this old belief.

The famous boxer, Mohammad Ali Kelly, reportedly abstained from intercourse for up to six weeks before major matches, and during the 1998 FIFA World Cup, England coach Glenn Haddell banned intercourse for players during the one-month event.

“Mating makes you happy and you are not happy to run 5 kilometers,” said Marty LeCroy, an American runner and 5,000-meter runner four decades ago.

Experts say the old belief “intercourse before sports is forbidden!” It has not yet been fully studied scientifically, but so far most studies based on physiological effects have shown that this relationship does not reduce endurance, strength or physical vigor.

“When we examine people in the lab, we do ‘physical function tests’ on them,” says Ian Schreier, a professor of family medicine at McGill University in Canada. But psychology is likely to play a much more important role in competitions.

“People who claim that intercourse has reduced their athletic performance say that the reason is that their concentration, militancy and psychological pressure to win the competition have decreased.”

A review of scientific studies published in the Journal of Clinical Sports Medicine found that intercourse the night before the race had no effect on the athlete’s physiological tests. In one study, 14 ex-married athletes underwent a compressive strength test the day after intercourse, the same exercise test was performed after at least 6 days of abstinence.

The results showed that neither the strength nor the endurance of the flexor muscles of the hand was affected by intercourse the night before. Researchers at Colorado State University in a follow-up study tested 10 physically fit married men between the ages of 18 and 45. In their experiments, compressive strength, balance, lateral motion, reaction time, aerobic power, and maximal oxygen volume (a measure of oxygen efficiency in the body) were not affected by mating.

A third study, conducted in 1995, found that having sex 12 hours before a fitness test did not have a significant effect on maximal aerobic strength, blood oxygenation, or blood pressure.

Based on the results of these studies, it may be concluded that sexual activity in the night before the competition has no effect on the performance of athletes; But each of the studies listed above focused on the physiological effects of intercourse to determine whether pre-race sexual activity leads to athlete fatigue. Given that natural sexual intercourse between married people burns only 25 to 50 calories (energy required to climb two floors of stairs), previous sexual intercourse is unlikely to affect physiological function tests in the laboratory.

The theory that deprivation of intercourse increases militancy and ejaculation reduces testosterone, a hormone that affects athletic performance, has not yet been scientifically proven. “Even if this theory is correct, most experts now believe in the inverted U hypothesis in sports psychology, which says there is a good limit to combat or concentration,” says Dr. Schreier. “Too little of it, as well as much more of it, undermines athletic performance.”

If athletes are overly anxious or restless the night before the race, intercourse may have a calming effect; But if the athlete is already relaxed, he may not be interested in having sex in an important competition at all and may prefer to sleep comfortably tonight.

Martin Milton, an expert in psychotherapy and counseling psychology at the University of Syria, says the effect of intercourse greatly depends on who does it, how many, for how long and in what ways. “If excessive intercourse prevents the athlete from sleeping or resting and distracts him from the competition, it is clear that the athlete’s performance will decline,” he says.


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