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I Love Valentine’s Day

Ramp up the romance in your life and get a lot more than you bargained for.

I Love Valentine's Day Pin on Pinterest

Every year, around the middle of January, red hearts suddenly abound. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, you will see this icon of love. Some will be filled with chocolates, others adorning greeting cards, still others advertising special Valentine’s Day events. And, of course, red roses triple in price. Before you brand me a cynic let me state categorically that I love Valentine’s Day. I am a romantic at heart and in deed. I have written many a love letter and poem to the woman I love and I tell her every day. She deserves every bit of that devotion and more, and I am happily inspired to do these things for her as often as I can. Because, you see, Valentine’s Day should be more than just one day on the calendar. It can be a satisfying way of living with a host of delightful benefits. There’s the obvious, of course; but, believe it or not, romance and love are incredibly good for your health as well – especially your heart.

The Surprising Benefits of Love, Sex and Romance

It has long been accepted that maintaining a healthy, fit body will extend and enhance an active sex life as we age. Emerging research however, indicates that an active sex life, romance and love have very positive effects on our overall health and well-being. Here are some of the powerful health benefits of having more love, sex and romance in your life:

  • Improved Blood Pressure – studies indicate that people with more active sex lives react better to stressful situations and have healthier blood pressures then those less active
  • Better Immunity – frequent sex increases the levels of IgA, an antibody which helps protect from infections
  • Boosts Oxytocin Levels – known as the “Love Hormone,” elevated oxytocin levels are responsible for all sorts of healthy changes, including improved intimacy, elevated mood, improved wound healing, improved self-esteem, improved pain tolerance, improved sense of well-being and higher pain-tolerance. That’s a lot of good from one little hormone
  • Boosts Endorphin Levels – this natural opiate produced in the body enhances mood, sense of well-being, relieves stress and increases pain-tolerance
  • Reduced Stress – an active romantic life reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Improves Heart Health – CDC studies indicate that committed couples in happy relationships have a significantly lower incidence of heart attacks than single, divorced or widowed individuals
  • Live Longer – CDC studies indicate lower mortality rates in married couples

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Of course, the operative word in all these findings is HAPPY. Marriage and commitment don’t guarantee happiness and they don’t provide an unending supply of love and romance. It takes work and creativity to keep the spark alive. Here are some ideas from the experts:

  • Exercise Together – this one comes from me. Working out together is a bonding experience. Whether it’s pumping iron, Pilate’s, Zumba, or (our personal choice) kettlebell training – couples who exercise together are more likely to stick with it, maintain a healthy weight and fitness level, and be encouraging and supportive of each other in all aspects of their lives
  • Take Walks Together – long walks, whether silent or chatty, inspire a sense of comfort and contentment between partners
  • Hold Hands – do this a lot, especially when you are taking your walks
  • Cook Special Meals for Each Other – my wife like Eggs Benedict in bed
  • Cook Special Meals Together – see our Valentine’s Day menu below
  • Start Dating Again – Not Other People – set aside time every week to go out together or even just have an hour to sit and sip a glass of wine with good music and have a little social intercourse together
  • Keep Sex Alive – hopefully your date will end this way. Don’t let sex become the perfunctory “put your book down and roll-over” every Saturday night. Use all of the above and spice things up with music, pillow talk, cuddling, etc. to keep it new and exciting. It never has to get old; and neither do you.

However you choose to do it, bringing back the romance and spice into your love life will be good for your relationship, good for your health and, best of all, good for your heart. Now that’s a Valentine’s Day greeting anyone can appreciate.

Food for Thought

When you’re cooking those special meals together, remember that a proper preparation and the right ingredients will yield a beautiful, delicious, romantic meal that is wonderful for your heart. Here is the menu we will be having this Valentine’s Day using heart healthy foods and ingredients. You are welcome to use this one or just let it inspire you to do something similar.

Disclaimer: This is a special occasion meal, so it is more courses and higher calories than our usual dinner.

Appetizer

Jumbo Shrimp and Fettucine with Arugula/Walnut Pesto

Salad

Mesclun Greens with Orange, Cranberries and Walnuts

Entrée

Grilled Filet Mignon with Herb Butter
Sauteed Haricots Verts

Dessert

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Happy Valentine’s Day

And don’t forget the roses, fellas. Flowers never get old.

 

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods?print=true, 25 Top Heart-Healthy Foods, Jeanie Lerche Davis, Retrieved January 28, 2013, WebMD, LLC 2009.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplementing-your-heart-health, Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide, Jeanie Lerche Davis, Retrieved January 28, 2013, WebMD, LLC 2008.

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-sex?print, 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex, Kathleen Doheny, Retrieved January 28, 2013, WebMD, LLC 2008.

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/walking-for-wellness?print=true, Fitness and Exercise, Walking For Wellness, Healthwise Staff, Retrieved January 28, 2013, WebMD, LLC 2011.

http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-wel-being/stories/8-surprising-health-benefits-that-come-with-being-in-love, 8 Surprising Health Benefits That Come With Being In Love, Retrieved January 28, 2013, Woman’s Day, 2013.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/articles/2009/02/13/love-and-romance-get-the-health-benefits-even-if-you’re-single, Love and Romance: Get the Health Benefits Even if You’re Single, Deborah Kotz, Retrieved January 28, 2013, US News and World Report, 2013.

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