Checking marital status - single actually has advantages. From avoiding "marriage weight" to having a strong heart, not being in a relationship kind of rocks!
For years, research has suggested that tying the knot provides loads of health benefits—everything from greater happiness to better mental health and a lower likelihood of developing chronic disease. The support of a marital partner seems to help couples buffer the storm during times of stress. But for the unattached, there's no need to worry that a single status will negatively impact your health. (In fact, Science Says Some People Are Meant to Be Single.) Want proof? Here are a few perks you'll only get while flying solo.
You Might Very Well Be Happier
Don't believe everything you read. Lonely, single cat lady? Nuh-uh. In a New Zealand study of 4,000 men and women between ages 18 to 94, researchers discovered that those who weren't too keen on relationship-related conflicts were just as happy single. On top of that, a 2014 study from the Journal of Psychophysiology found that men and women who had long-term, ongoing distress in their marriages are less able to enjoy the happy moments that should trigger a positive emotional response—which researchers say is a risk factor for depression.
You're Less Likely to Pack on Pounds
"Relationship weight" is very much a thing, especially among recently-married women. According to a 2014 Australian study of 350 brides, researchers found that women tended to gain almost five pounds in the six months after they uttered, "I do." In addition, 2013 research of 169 newlywed couples in the journal Health Psychology showed that the happily married tend to put on weight in the four years after their wedding, likely because bound couples tend to "relax their efforts to maintain weight" when they're no longer looking for a life partner. (Find out how else Your Relationship Can Sabotage Your Healthy Lifestyle.)
You're More Likely to Hit Your Exercise Goals
Single ladies must be opting for extra runs and bike rides instead of dinner dates. According to a survey of Brits, only 27 percent of adults met the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise (yikes). However, among women who weren't kicking up their activity enough, 63 percent were married—and just 37 percent were single or divorced. The researchers say this is likely because, with marriage, you have an increase in responsibilities—your plus-one's work party, fixing up that new house, eventually kids—which cuts into the time you spend on exercise. So if you want to get flatter abs or train for a marathon, staying single isn't a bad idea.
You're Tighter with Your Pals
From research performed by Boston College's Natalia Sarkisian and the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Naomi Gerstel, it's more likely that married women will sacrifice non-marital social connections in favor of their man. Ladies (and guys), who have never been married are far more likely to have tighter bonds with their parents, friends, siblings and community members—relationships that can help you lead a fuller, happier and healthier life. In a 2010 study of 300,000 men and women , researchers found that those without a strong social circle had a 50 percent higher chance of death during the 7.5 year follow-up period. Although the mechanism behind this major immunity bump isn't fully understood, it's likely because our friends and family help us laugh, unwind and ward off stress, as well as help us when we're weathering illness or injury and need shoulders to lean on. (Plus, you get these 12 Ways Your Best Friend Boosts Your Health.)
You Have Fewer $ Woes
When you're in a relationship, you're merging two lives... which isn't exactly sunshine and roses, especially if you've got a spender and a saver in the mix. In a 2014 study of 2,000 adults, one in three people copped to lying to their partner about money. Among the fibbers, 76 percent said the little (or big) white lies strained their marriages, while nearly half said the untruths caused a full-blown argument. If you're single, there's less stress about where, when and how you spend your money. You decide. (Whoo!) (Which means you can take advantage of these Money-Saving Tips for Getting Fiscally Fit.)
You're More Likely to Excel in Your Career
Staying single early in your career might be a wise decision if you want to rise to the top of the pack—even higher than the boys. A 2010 study showed that young, childless, unwed women in big cities like New York and LA were earning around 15 percent more than their male counterparts, and that success might lead to an attitude boost later on. Focusing on career over a relationship early in life allows more energy and mental space for climbing the ladder—and that doesn't mean you'll never tie the knot. Research shows highly-educated women tend to marry and reproduce later in life. So, take that time to set yourself up in your 20s and early 30s. (And while you're at it, master these 17 Life Skills You Should Know How to Do by 30.)
You're Protecting Your Heart
While staying single will definitely keep you from romantic heartbreak, it also might reduce your risk of long-term heart problems. According to 2014 research from Michigan State University, after analyzing data on more than 1,000 married ladies and gents for five years, researchers found that a bad marriage caused more harm to the heart than a good marriage provided a boost. This was especially true among women. Makes sense if you're stressing less, exercising more, and maintaining a stable BMI, right? (In a happy relationship? No worries, learn How Your Relationship Is Linked to Your Health—in a good way!)