You can probably think of many good reasons for sharing quality time with your spouse or partner. Spending time together – even if it’s just relaxing – helps you stay close and feel connected.
And, it turns out it may also help you stay healthy for years longer.
More than 150 years ago, a doctor named William Farr looked at birth, marriage and death records from across Britain. One trend really stood out: Married people seemed to live longer than unmarried people.
Farr’s numbers were rough. But recent studies show he was on to something. Today, you’ll discover what that “something” is.
Loneliness raises your risk of death
A good relationship is a little like health insurance. A German study found that men living alone had a 50% higher risk of death – from any cause – than married men. For women living alone, the risk increased by 60%.1
A Japanese study got similar results. They followed 94,062 adults for nearly 10 years.2 And married people just seem to stay healthier, longer.
But does marriage itself really make you healthier? Not according to several recent studies. It appears that it may be the quality of the relationship that matters.
Happily married women are healthier
Researchers from Pittsburgh and San Diego took a closer look. They discovered that married women have a lower risk of heart trouble – but only if they’re happily married.3
Another study found that women with satisfying marriages sleep better.4 Of course sleep is key to good health.
A third study discovered that happily married women have clearer arteries. Even after 14 years, the happy women had healthier arteries.5
In other words, having a good relationship is probably more important than being married. And the benefits can be terrific. Besides those I’ve already mentioned, you may experience…
- Healthier blood pressure
- Lower levels of stress
- Less chance of feeling blue
- Greater overall satisfaction with life6
A team at the Medical University of South Carolina recently uncovered another benefit of a satisfying relationship. One that could help you fight the effects of aging.
You may have read articles I’ve written on telomeres. They’re caps that keep your chromosomes from “unraveling” during cell division.
Each time a cell divides, it’s telomeres get shorter. Eventually, the telomeres are too short to protect the chromosomes, and the cell dies. As this happens more and more, you begin to see the signs of aging.
The South Carolina researchers discovered that people living in relationships have longer telomeres than single people.7 In other words, their cells appear “younger.” And that could translate into keeping a more youthful look longer.
So the next time you’re celebrating a special occasion with your partner, don’t just thank them for being your sweetheart. Thank them for the gift of better health, too.
1 Baumann A, et al. Family status and social integration as predictors of mortality: a 5-year follow-up study of 55- to 74-year-old men and women in the Augsburg area. Z Gerontol Geriatr. 1998 Jun;31(3):184-92.
2 Ikeda A, et al. Marital status and mortality among Japanese men and women: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. BMC Public Health. 2007 May 7;7:73.
3 Gallo LC, et al. Marital Status and Quality in Middle-Aged Women: Associations With Levels and Trajectories of Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Health Psychology, 2003, Vol. 22, No. 5, 453–463.
4 Troxel WM, et al. Marital Happiness and Sleep Disturbances in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Middle-Aged Women. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2009, pages 2 – 19.
5 Gallo LC, et al. Marital status, marital quality, and atherosclerotic burden in postmenopausal women. Psychosom Med. 2003 Nov-Dec;65(6):952-62.
6 Holt-Lunstad J, et al. Is there something unique about marriage? The relative impact of marital status, relationship quality, and network social support on ambulatory blood pressure and mental health. Ann Behav Med. 2008 Apr;35(2):239-44. Epub 2008 Mar 18.
7 Mainous AG 3rd, et al. Leukocyte telomere length and marital status among middle-aged adults. Age Ageing. 2011 Jan;40(1):73-8. Epub 2010 Sep 4.
Dr. Woliner is a board certified medical physician and modern day pioneer in the world of alternative men’s health and nutritional science. Using a unique combination of modern “Western” medicine and traditional holistic healing practices, Dr.Woliner has revolutionized men’s health care treatments for many of today’s most common male health concerns – specializing in alternative treatments for Prostate enlargement (BPH) and a myriad of erectile concerns and men’s sexual health issues.
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