The health benefits of being in love
Boxes of chocolates, lavish meals out and those late night fights; there certainly is an unhealthy side to love, but finding that special someone can bring all kinds of health benefits too.
If you’ve been considering ditching your partner, or are just feeling a little harassed by love, check out some of these relationship perks which might just remind you that being in love can be good for your health…
Love lowers risk of alcohol abuse
You may be footing a bigger weekly wine bill for all of those cosy nights in, but research has shown that you are less likely to abuse or depend upon alcohol if you are in a relationship. In the study, only four per cent of people who had been in a relationship for between two and four years misused alcohol; whilst only three per cent of those who had been in a relationship for more than five years reported abusing alcohol.
However, 12 per cent of the participants who were not in a relationship in their 30’s were described as misusing alcohol and 13.5 per cent of people who had not been in a relationship for more than two years treated alcohol in an unhealthy way.
Love keeps us young
We all know that being in love and making love are two very different scenarios and apparently so does Mother Nature. Being in love is often very trying and can age us; however, research suggests that making love keeps us young. A study conducted by researchers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland found that those women who have sex four or more times a week look 10 years younger than their actual age.
Consultant neuropsychologist Dr David Weeks said that loving couples not only look after their bodies more, but that they also benefit from the physical and emotional effects of sex. So, next time you reach for your anti-ageing cream, maybe opt for the baby oil instead?
Love: good for women, bad for men?
When you think of a married man, do you think of the grumpy, beaten-down stereotype? If you do, then don’t worry, apparently there’s some truth behind this well-worn notion. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing found that women report a higher quality of life when they are in a relationship, but their husbands or partners report having a significantly lower quality of life.
However, although it is possible that relationships fulfill the needs of women more than men, compared to single people, those in a relationship are still happier overall. In a separate study 40 per cent of married couples said they were happy, compared to only 25 per cent of single people.
Love improves our mental health
Love has many physical benefits, but it would seem that men and women who are in a relationship get lots of mental health benefits too. In New Zealand a team at the University of Otago examined 1,000 people. They found that people who had been in a relationship for longer than five years were less likely to be depressed and attempt suicide.
Other studies have found similar findings, stating that married people report lower levels of depression and distress. Apparently married men are also half as likely to commit suicide as single men, and one third as likely as divorced men. Perhaps the phrase “you’re driving me crazy” should no longer be used in reference to your partner?
Love gives us more birthdays
Sadly, being in love does not mean you get to have more than one birthday a year. However, it does mean that you get to see more of them. The mortality rates for single males aged between 30 and 59 are two and half times higher than their non-single counterparts! Don’t gloat too much though girls. Single women also face a 23 percent higher mortality rate than those who are married.
Researchers suggest that this difference in longevity is due to the fact that most single people have poorer health benefits, a lower income and are socially isolated. Being supported and connected to others is an essential part of keeping healthy.
Love heals the heart
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that love is often depicted using a heart shape. A recent study by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York found that those in a happy relationship are three times more likely to survive heart surgery. The researchers reported that a good marriage can be as beneficial to the heart as quitting smoking, staying at a healthy weight and reducing high blood pressure. Similar findings were found by those at the University of North Carolina and a study in Human Communication Research. They both found that being in love and expressing your emotions had a positive impact on cholesterol