Want to fall in love with your husband or wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or a first date? Do something that increases your heart rate, especially something requiring cooperation together, like keeping a kayak in a straight line. Go for a hike, climb a mountain, go on a bike path, ballroom dancing lessons, workout together, or go for a run together. That’s what happened to me. I was training for the New York Marathon along the Charles River in Boston and saw someone, my future wife Joan, coming my direction and made the U-turn. Our hearts were beating faster. It didn’t take long, a few moments, to fall in love.
This is what happens. The feel good hormones and neurotransmitters like endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine kick in from the exercise, and when two people exercise, the bonding hormone oxytocin is flowing. In addition, with exercise and increased heart rate, both of you are in the alpha-brain wave world of happiness and bliss. Joan and I ran the Greek Marathon for our first anniversary and our favorite memories were running the three 20-mile training runs to Wellesley and back to Boston the three Saturdays before the marathon. We were together in the alpha-brainwave meditation state, a fantasy world filled with love, joy and peace. The hot-fudge sundae at the end was also a big plus.
I was talking with my friend during a Cape Cod ocean swim telling him about increasing the heart rate to fall in love. This reminded him of his first date with his wife, they took ballroom dancing together, just the two of them. Heart rate increased, they fell in love, and were married within the year. My friend John hiked a mountain trail with someone new and fell in love.
There’s a bonus. You will create lifelong memories that you will both recall 10 years later, 20 years later, and forever. Remember nighttime skating on the Brookline Country Club pond, remember the New Hampshire hike with cranberry nut bread and Mozart’s music, and remember running by MIT during a Boston wintry nor’easter.
Want to enjoy life together? Fist date? Do something that will you increase your heart rates. Run together, stay together. Love is in the air.
Gary R. Epler, M.D.
Award-winning author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy”