Cancel the gym membership, scrap the diet and forget about plastic surgery. Scientists have today announced what all women want to hear - that shopping is good for your health.

The study, by Chevrolet, found that spotting a bargain saw the average shopper experience a surge in positive emotions, reflected by changes in the way their brain was working, together with an increase in heart rate and sweating, reflecting both their physical and mental excitement.

Over 93% of those studied said they got more of a thrill from a thrifty shop, preferring bagging a bargain to kissing their partner (91 per cent), getting a promotion (85 per cent) or eating chocolate (73 per cent).

Additionally, over half of women (57 per cent) said they actually felt physically healthier after a successful shop - and a further 44 per cent thought that an hour on the high street burnt off just as many calories as an hour in the gym.

After a study of the neurological and physiological reactions of female shoppers comissioned by Chevrolet results showed that as they hunted for bargains and compared these to other experiences to chart the effect of retail therapy on the body and mind.

The study looked at neurological and physiological reactions of female shoppers as they hunted for bargains and compared these to other experiences to chart the effect of retail therapy on the body and mind.

"When we're excited, neurons in the brain go into overdrive and powerful chemicals - related to amphetamines - are released into the blood that produce the feeling of a giddy high." said Dr David Lewis one of the neuropsychologists at Mind Laboratories who studied the shoppers

"The "buzz" people receive from value for money purchases also creates a physiological reaction that is very similar to that experienced with physical exercise: heart rates increase andblood pressures raise, which all lead to the body functioning more efficiently and healthily."