Love. It’s exciting, romantic…and healthy?

Yep!

Being in a positive and committed relationship is actually good for you. Among other things, love helps you live longer, improves your mental well-being, and can even reduce pain and help you fight cancer. Let’s take a look at its other benefits:

1. Happy Heart: People in loving and committed relationships have lower blood pressure than those who are single. (We should note, though, that people in troubled marriages have higher blood pressure than either of these first two groups.) Plus, happy couples experience less stress over all, which improves cardiovascular health.

2. Longer Life Span: Even when they’re driving you crazy, know this: Loving spouses keep you alive longer! They encourage better self-care and reinforce healthy behaviors, while dissuading bad habits. This is especially true for married men, who live longer than their single counterparts. Moral of the story? Ladies, let some of his quirks slide. And, fellas, she nags because she loves.

3. Clear, Glowing Skin: Sebum – the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog hair follicles – feeds on stress-inducing hormones like cortisol, and that can cause acne. When you’re in a happy relationship, you have less free-floating cortisol, which means fewer breakouts and pimples!

4. Better Mental Health: Feelings of love trigger the release of dopamine in your brain. This powerful neurotransmitter affects pleasure and motivation. Other displays of affection – like hugging and handholding – emit the hormone oxytocin, which lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, improves your mood and increases tolerance for pain.

5. Boosts the Immune System: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that happy and relaxed people are more resistant to the common cold than those who felt anxious, hostile or depressed. So if you’re currently in a happy relationship, consider this – your partner is keeping you strong and healthy!

6. Keeps You Fit: Couples who break a sweat together have better fitness results than those who work out on their own. We also work out 12 to 15 percent harder when we’re training with a romantic partner. (Someone to impress? Healthy competition?) Reap the healthy rewards by scheduling fitness dates with your honey.

7. Reduces Pain: Holding your spouse’s hand can minimize feelings of pain. When studying people who experienced electrical shocks, researchers found that holding someone’s hand eased discomfort. The results were even more positive when the female subjects held their husbands’ hands. All together now: Aww…

8. Regulates Your Cycle: A Planned Parenthood study found that women who have sex at least once a week have higher levels of estrogen – and that makes them more likely to have regular periods. So now you have it: an excuse to hit the sack. As if you needed one.

9. Helps Kill Cancer: According to researchers at the University of Iowa, ovarian cancer patients with strong emotional connections had more resilient cancer-killing white blood cells. And researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center found that affection between couples can bring positive change to health, even if one of the partners is fighting disease.

Katarina is a freelance writer specializing in travel, spa, and beauty and wellness. She’s the author of The Food Lovers’ Guide To Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about interesting destinations and fashionable travel. Her work has appeared in publications like American Spa, The New York Post, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Travel + Leisure online and more.