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Valentine’s Day is here. While some of you may groan and retreat into a duvet cave upon sight of anything red and heart-shaped at this sickening time of year, others may be interested to know that the day of love is not just a way of celebrating your partner, but it can actually be beneficial to your health. That’s right, being in a loving and committed relationship can actually decrease blood pressure and make your hair shiny. Who knew that those little flutterings of “lurve” not only make us feel giddy but also make us BEAUTIFUL. Sign me up!

Love can improve your overall physical fitness
First things first, as is the H&H way, let’s talk about exercise. It has been suggested that exercising with a partner delivers results more quickly, and encourages both parties to work between 12-15% harder than if they were working out alone. Some believe that this could be due to the excitement you feel at being together, which pumps more adrenaline around your body while others suggest that a little competition between couples pushes each person harder. Either way, we like the sound of sweating with our beaus, which brings me on to my next point…

Love can regulate you menstrual cycle
Getting frisky in the bedroom (or kitchen/ office/ forest…) is a great way of improving fitness, cardiovascular strength and burns off those last Christmas calories. We all know that. However, did you know that it could regulate your period? Studies show that women who have sex at least once a week have more regular periods as they release higher levels of the sex hormone, oestrogen (which is the regulator of our monthly friend), compared to women who have it less frequently. Add that to the idea that being in love can increase tolerance of pain, and we aren’t as wary of cramps as we once were (although I am yet to experience this one).

Love can reduce pain
According to a study by the University of Carolina, cuddling and holding hands releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel good, reduces blood pressure, improves moods and could even cause injuries to heal faster. If that wasn’t an incentive to hold hands while crossing the road then I don’t know what is!

Love improves the appearance of your breasts
Being aroused and having sex (how many benefits are there to this popular activity?), can improve the size and shape of your breasts. According to some studies, being turned-on causes the pectoral muscles to contract leading to an increase in blood flow around the nipples making your breasts ‘stand up’ and look larger.

Love makes you more attractive
Continuing with the lovely theme of aesthetics, being in love could improve your physical appearance. From sparkling eyes, to shiny hair and clearer skin, the reduced levels of stress that a happy and stable relationship can bring go a long way to making us more attractive. The stress-induced hormone, cortisol, is a culprit of breakouts so rather than reaching for an abrasive exfoliator, sit back, relax and enjoy the company of your partner. Oestrogen once again plays a part in enhancing beauty by making our eyes sparkle, and our hair shiny and healthy.

Love increases our sense of wellbeing
Arthur Anon, a social psychologist from Stony Brook University in New York has spent much of his professional career exploring the science of love. He performs MRI brain scans on groups of people at different stages of their ‘love-journey’ (those newly in love, in long-term relationships, and married couples) to gauge the affects of being love. Regardless of which stage each participant was in, Anon found that being in love showed an increase in the hormone that triggers our dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a strong neurotransmitter that influences pleasure and motivation and having more of both is integral to our overall wellbeing and happiness.

Love keeps you clean and healthy
Lastly, couples in committed relationships care about the health of their partners. It has been found that loving partners encourage healthy routines, such as staying fit, eating well and dental-flossing, as well as deterring unhealthy habits like drinking too much.

So, for those of you in a H&H relationship you’re in luck. For those you aren’t, why not spend this Valentine’s Day with friends and practice what we preach by perhaps going on a jog together or snuggling in front of your favourite anti-romance film with something chocolaty! Try our super delicious (and healthy… yes, healthy!), Raw Chocolate Truffles! http://www.hipandhealthy.co.uk/raw-chocolate-truffles/

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