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Valentine's Day: Six reasons why being in love is good for you

February 14, 2013
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This Valentine's Day will be particularly special for Cheryl Cole as she celebrates for the first time with her new man, Tre Holloway. Since starting a relationship with the handsome dancer last year, Cheryl hasn't stopped smiling. And the good news is that love isn't just making her happy - it's making her healthy too. So whether you are single and looking, in a new relationship or have been married for years, here are some reasons why it's important to make room for love in your life.

Valentine's Day

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  1. Love is good for your heart. looking at the love of your life can make your heart race three times faster than normal, resulting in an increased blood supply to the body and a workout for your heart. What's more, studies have shown that hugging and handholding release a hormone that lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and improves both mood and tolerance for pain. 
  2. Love can make you live longer. There is a long history of research into the health benefits of being married; a 2004 study found that mortality rates were lowest in married couples. Even if you haven't tied the knot, people in committed, happy relationships generally experience less stress, and less stress means better health. 
  3. Love makes you look younger. The endorphins released by being in love increase blood flow to the skin, keeping it soft and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Also because stress levels are lower, there is less cortisol in the body - high levels cause stress-related acne, pimples and breakouts. 
  4. Love can make you brighter. Being in love helps to calm the body and the mind by increasing levels of the hormone known as DHEA which acts as a stress reliever. The relaxing effect of DHEA helps our nerves to both develop and improve leading to better memory recall.
  5. Love helps reduce pain. Holding hands with the one you love has been shown to minimize feelings of pain. According to Psychiatrist Joseph Hullett, MD, "Researchers studied people that experienced electrical shocks and found that holding someone's hand ameliorated the pain and perception of pain." Studies have shown that love activates a part of the brain responsible for pain relief; a survey of 100,000 adults found that married couples were also less vulnerable to back pain and headaches.
  6. Love can make you fit. Sadly, this doesn't mean you can bid goodbye to the cross trainer. But research has shown that men and women who exercise with a romantic partner are more likely to train harder, and more regularly than those who go it alone. What's more, it's thought half of those people who go to the gym on their own will quit after one year, but two-thirds of those who work out with a loved one will stick it out.

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