Marriage is good for both men and women

London: If you are in a committed relationship, it`s better to get married soon, as scientists say entering the wed-lock keeps men fit and boosts women`s mental health.

Researchers at the Cardiff University in the UK found that committed couples live longer than singletons, with the health benefits of companionship increasing over time.

According to their findings, married men are kept physically fit because their wives ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle, while women`s emotional health benefits because they value being in a relationship, the Telegraph reported.

Study authors David Gallacher and John Gallacher of the Cardiff University`s School of Medicine, said: "Love is a voyage of discovery from dopamine drenched romance to oxytocin induced attachment.

"Making this journey can be fraught with hazards and lead many to question the value of romance and commitment."

Marriage is thought to provide huge benefits, because it involves "deeper commitment" than merely living together. And the longer the relationships are, the greater the benefits they receive, the authors said.

They said: "In terms of physical health, men benefit more from being in a relationship than women, but in terms of mental health women benefit more than men.

"The physical health premium for men is likely to be caused by their partners positive influence on lifestyle. The mental health bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship in women."

Meanwhile having lots of sexual partners can shorten lifespan and divorce can have a devastating impact, warned the authors.

They also cited evidence that romances among teenagers are linked to "increased depressive symptoms", while relationships among young adults do not improve physical health.

"So it seems that a degree of maturity is required before Cupid is likely to bring a net health benefit," they said.

The optimal time for women to establish a committed relationship in terms of health is said to be between 19 and 25, whereas for men it is after 25.

However, they conceded that"not all relationships are beneficial", and it is better to be single than in a strained relationship.

Splitting up is distressing but less so for women, because they have more "supportive social networks".

However, the authors concluded: "Although failure of a relationship can harm health, that is an argument for avoiding a bad relationship rather than not getting into a relationship at all."