Marriage Can Make You Happier and Healthier

With more people living alone than ever before, and fewer couples deciding to tie the knot, the institution of marriage needs all the help it can get.

Whether it's fears about commitment or simply the cost of getting hitched, weddings aren't as popular as they once were.

But now scientists have come up with one unlikely reason why getting married is a good idea -- a study of 2000 people in Sweden found that married couples are less likely to get Alzheimer's disease.

The survey revealed that married, middle-aged people are half as likely to get dementia as their single counterparts, while getting divorced, or becoming widowed, raises the risk three-fold.

Scientists also say remaining socially active may be one of the reasons why married couples are at lower risk from the condition.

So what other reasons are there for going down the aisle? Here's our guide to why getting married is good for you...

 

Being married gives a boost to your immune system -- lowering your chances of getting all sorts of illnesses from the common cold upwards. stress hormones are kept at bay while levels of feel-good hormones are increased, leaving you better prepared to fight off infections. And it even reduces your likelihood of dying from conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart attacks and strokes, so if you want to lower the risk, it's best to stay happily married. A study in Canada found people with borderline high blood pressure who were happily married and spending lots of time with their partner were less likely to suffer a heart attack. So spending time with your other half as he watches the football or she goes shopping might be a sacrifice worth making.

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, which may explain why married couples endure less stress than other people. Not only does having someone to talk to work wonders, but having the odd dingdong argument can relieve stress too. And with stress being linked to a whole host of illnesses -- such as depression, stomach problems, rashes and anxiety -- being able to minimize it is no bad thing.

Any doctor will tell you that minimizing your drinking is good for your health, and getting married may be one way to achieve it. Government statistics have shown that married people drink less, as single people have more time and money on their hands.

Getting married can benefit the health of men and women in different ways. Married women are less likely to get breast cancer as they are more likely to have children, which has protective effects. And men who get divorced have twice the rate of lung cancer as those who are married. Men also benefit from having their wives around to look out for their health.

Ignore what cynics say, your sex life benefits from being married. Married couples enjoy more regular sex and also have better sexual health. Love-making boosts fertility, helps us to relax and releases serotonin which helps combat stress. Not only that, but we burn around 200 calories each time.

Research by scientists in Seattle found that married couples are likely to live longer than single people. They are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, stress and phobias, and are also less likely to have an accident. When all those factors are added together, it becomes clear why getting married is good for your life expectancy. For example, Scots couple Francis and May Smith, from Glenrothes, Fife, recently celebrated 75 years of happy marriage.

If you want to be happy, get married. That's because married people are twice as likely to say they are happy as people who are single.

This greater level of contentment is especially noticeable for married men, with one 20-year study finding that marriage actually leads to changes in the male brain which makes them feel happier.

It's not only your health which benefits from marriage, but your bank balance gets a boost too. While a wedding day may cost a fortune, married couples tend to have higher incomes and save more than those who are single. Being married makes us more motivated and leaves us better equipped to handle the stress that comes with our jobs.

The effect that getting married can have on your weight is complicated but, in the long term, tying the knot helps you stay slim. Your diet is likely to be better if you are married than if you are single as you are more likely to cook and less likely to eat convenience foods. You are also more likely to be physically active if you're married.


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