Do you like hugs, massages and hand-holding? Well, experts say that there are benefits in touching that can boost our health and fitness.Getting a hug triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone sometimes referred to as “love” or “bonding” hormone, in the body which lowers levels of hormone cortisol and reduces stress which boosts immune function. Oxytocin also makes people feel more secure and trusting to each other. According to the health research done at the University of North Carolina, women who receive more touching via hugs from their partners have higher level of oxytocin in their system and their blood pressure and heart rate also appear to be lower.In addition to hugs, touching like holding hands with your beloved also has great effects to the health and fitness. University of Virginia assistant professor, James Coan, PhD, discovered that hand-holding is good in calming people by administering functional MRIs to 16 married women while telling them that they might feel a mild shock. The warning triggered brain activity showing stress and anxiety. But when the women held hands with one of the experimenters, the stress response decreased and totally quieted down when they were holding hands with their husbands. When stress is lower, immune functions get more effective.But pets and good massages can also give touching health and fitness benefits for our body. According to research, people’s blood pressure drops when they pet dogs, more so, if it is a dog they know and love. Dog petting and snuggling with furry pets have also been found out to improve immune function and ease pain.And who will say no to a good touching, massage, now and again? A massage can sooth tense muscles, slow down racing heart rate, relieve high blood pressure and decrease levels of cortisol which is good for over health and fitness. Due to the relaxed state, the body has the opportunity to effectively regenerate and recharge. When cortisol levels are lessened, the body’s immune function becomes more effective.So do not hesitate to give a hug or two to those you care about because it shows that you care in more ways than one.