Having sex at least once a week halves the risk of early death, say, researchers, adding that regular action between the sheets is linked to lower odds of dying from cancer, heart disease, and other illness.

According to researchers from Washington University in the US, sex is equivalent to "moderate-intensity exercise," and has similar health benefits for those partaking.

A bedroom set up is pictured in IKEA's first city centre store in Hamburg

For the findings, the research team picked more than 15,000 adults. They had an average age of 39 and were quizzed on their sex lives for around 11 years, the mirror.co.uk reported.

Study Reveals More

The researchers found that almost three quarters engaged in sexual activity at least once a month and 36 percent at least once a week. Over the course of the lengthy study, 228 died, including 62 from cancer and 29 from cardiovascular disease.

The study showed that those who had sex weekly were 49 percent less likely to die than those who only had sex once a year or less. Their odds of dying from cardiovascular disease were 21 percent less and from cancer 69 percent lower.

According to the media reports, The researchers said that sex releases feel-good chemicals, which boost mental health and promote the activity of "natural killer cells".

Those cells lower the risk of cancer and viral illness, prevent infections of the lungs, and improve other conditions, such as asthma, they claimed.