Forget the medicine cabinet— romantic relationships can be a ticket to good health
Heart Healthy — The Need-to-Know
Love isn’t all about the butterflies. There are chemical processes in the brain that affect how we feel
Love Lockdown — Your Action Plan
In most cases, love and wellness go hand-in-hand. But beware: People in unsupportive and harmful relationships are at greater risk for developing heart problems, depression, and a weaker immune system
- Write a love letter. Forget texting— one study found writing love letters can reduce cholesterol. Signed, sealed, delivered— it benefits both parties!
- Grab a hand. Holding hands with a significant other can reduce stress more than holding a stranger’s (which would be weird anyway)
Lending a hand: social regulation of the neural response to threat. Coan, J.A., Schaefer, H.S., Davidson, R.J. Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Psychological Science, 2006 Dec;17(12):1032-9.. Looks likethe Beatles were onto something.
- Hug it out. Don’t forget the power of a good hug. Frequent hugging between lovers is linked to high oxytocin levels (the love hormone!) and lower blood pressure in some women
More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Light, K.C., Grewen, K.M., Amico, J.A. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Biological Psychology, 2005 Apr;69(1):5-21. Epub 2004 Dec 29..
- Get down n’ dirty. It’s no secret sex can reduce stress,so remember to fit in some quality time between the sheets to feel good in more ways than one
In the mood for love or vice versa? Exploring the relations among sexual activity, physical affection, affect, and stress in the daily lives of mid-aged women. Burleson, M.H., Travatahn, W.R., Todd, M. Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2007 Jun;36(3):357-68..
- Hit the gym (together). Studies suggest married pairs frequent the gym more often and are less likely to call it quits than when they go alone
Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse. Wallace, J.P., Raglin, J.S., Jastremski, C.A. Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Sep;35(3):206-13.. So become a power couple and sweat it out together, boosting some endorphins along the way Beta-endorphin response to exercise. An update. Goldfarb, A.H., Jamurtas, A.Z. Exercise and Sport Science Department, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina. Sports Medicine, 1997 Jul;24(1):8-16..
How does your relationship benefit your health? Tell us in the comments below!