The Marriage Benefit
We can all exercise and adhere to healthy eating habits, but married couples automatically have an advantage. “Marriage is sort of like a life preserver or a seat belt,” University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite, PhD, author of The Case for Marriage, told The New York Times. “We can put it in exactly the same category as eating a good diet, getting exercise, and not smoking.”
Marriage helps health most when couples imitate each other’s healthy habits. When Brigham Young University researchers checked up on 4,746 married couples ages 51 to 61, they found that couples are mirrors when it comes to health status: A man in his early 50s in excellent health had a very low chance of having a wife in fair or poor health. But if the man’s health was poorer, the chance of his wife being in fair or poor health increased. Why? Couples live in the same environments when it comes to food, exercise, and stress reduction. They also share emotional stresses, which could lead to an emotional eating problem.
Healthy living is a win-win choice for married couples. You not only improve your individual health and longevity, but you also create wonderful opportunities to do things together.
1. Work out together
Kimberly and Gary Jordan of Spartanburg, South Carolina, find time for a daily three-mile walk in their neighborhood. They unwind, catch up with each other, and burn nearly 300 calories each per outing. “It’s such a blessing, having time to talk and walk together outdoors and unwind,” Kimberly says. Another often-overlooked couple’s workout you shouldn’t miss: sex. Making love gets the heart pumping and burns about 50 calories (hey, it’s not a marathon, but it will burn off an Oreo!). But that’s not all the health benefits you get from sex. Fun in bed triggers the release of feel-good endorphins, natural opiates, and the cuddle hormone oxytocin. It increases blood flow to the brain, boosts immunity (according to some studies), and improves mental health. Follow these tips to improve your sex life and get to it!