10 Sweet Health Benefits of Being in Love

woman opening heart shaped box

When you're married and juggling kid duties -- not to mention 3 billion other personal and work obligations -- it's easy to forget that you're in love. And not only that, but also how grateful you should be.

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In unscientific terminology, love is some serious magical s**t. Don't believe us? These 10 reasons should change your mind -- and remind you to worry less about whose turn it is to clean out the car and more about how lucky you and your partner are to have found each other.

1. Love makes you take better care of yourself. Happily married couples visit a doctor less and spend shorter times in hospitals. One theory is that in a loving relationship, your spouse motivates you (notice how we said nothing about nagging!) to have healthier habits.

2. It protects your heart. Of course, with love comes occasional heartache, but we're talking cardiovascular health. One study found that women in good marriages have a much lower risk of heart disease than those in more stressful relationships.

3. When you're in love, you heal faster. An Ohio State University experiment discovered that when couples had a supportive, loving talk with each other for at least 30 minutes, it actually sped up their body's ability to heal by at least one day. (In case you were curious, the researchers blistered participants' skin, then monitored how fast the blisters got better.)

4. More love = Less anxiety. When researchers looked at brain images of happy long-term couples, they saw something strikingly different than on MRIs of new couples: less activity in the brain area responsible for anxiety.

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5. You get fewer colds. When you're happy, content, and relaxed -- like in a happy relationship -- you're actually more resistant to the common sneezing, coughing, feeling-gross crud going around.

6. Human touch is so good for you. Not only does hugging lower your blood pressure, but women who give or get lots of hugs daily have the highest levels of oxytocin, the "bonding" hormone that helps you relax and trust others. (Oxytocin is also a key player in orgasms, FYI.)

7. And if you're in love, you're having frequent sex, which is better for your immune system. One study found that people who had sex once or twice a week had 30 percent more immunoglobulin A (a powerful antibody) in their blood.

8. If you're in love, you have a better chance of getting in shape. The caveat here is that you need to exercise with your partner. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who burn calories with their loved one were significantly more likely to stick with that healthy behavior. (Maybe a family gym membership's the way to go for a Valentine's Day gift this year?)

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9. Love makes you feel pain less. At least when your partner is holding your hand. In what's probably the oddest -- and sweetest --- experiment ever done, researchers gave an electrical shock to 16 married women. When the women were holding their partner's hand, they felt less stressed. And the stronger their marriage, the bigger the benefit.

10. You have a better chance of beating cancer. A Harvard study found that married patients were quicker to detect prostrate, lung, colorectal, and other forms of cancer than unmarried folks were. People in a loving relationship were also less likely to die from their condition, which is always a good thing.

 

 

Image via Masson/Shutterstock

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