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A steamy romp between the sheets might sound more appealing than a sweaty cardio session, however if its weight loss you’re after, researchers claim you’re better off pulling on your walking shoes.

The study, led by David Allison, a biostatistician from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in England, found that the average sex session lasts a whopping six minutes – offering enough time to burn a mere 21 calories.

Researchers say this is the equivalent energy output as a walk around the block – if that. This news quashes the widely-held belief that sex offers superior calorie-crunching benefits.

As part of the report, featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, Allison suggests false health messages such as the sexercise myth are partly to blame for the country’s growing obesity epidemic.

Allison set out to investigate the sexercise myth as part of a broader study debunking popular health beliefs around diet and exercise, such as whether snacking or skipping breakfast causes weight gain, or whether physical education classes largely contribute to children's weight loss.

His verdict? Physical Education classes in the UK are not intense enough to make a difference to a child’s weight, sparking a larger concern. And when it comes to skipping breakfast or snacking, he concluded a lack of “high quality studies” had indicated whether snacking does lead to weight gain.

Sexercise aside, the report failed to highlight the numerous study-backed health benefits regular sex offers, such as boosting mood, improving immunity, reducing stress and promoting heart health.

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