Exercising with your partner can make you happier, healthier and more intimate.
By Grace DeRocha
While everyone knows exercise is good for the mind and body, most people are unaware of the many benefits associated with working out with a romantic partner. Individuals can often unconsciously mimic their partner’s behaviors — both healthy and unhealthy ones. In fact, a 2013 article by the American Council on Exercise stated couples were 94 percent more likely to stick to a fitness regime with their partner as opposed to doing it alone.
However, the benefits don’t stop there. From bonding to built-in accountability, partners can take their fitness and relationship to the next level by following couple’s workouts. Here are three benefits:
Motivation: An extra push from a significant other is sometimes needed to get moving and work out on days when lying in bed is preferred. A partner can also provide valuable feedback about correct form or serve as a spotter for weight-training moves. Similarly, working out with a partner can spur healthy competition and increase performance. A 2013 study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships showed the average husband engaged in more physical activity when his wife offered health-related support and encouragement. Try seeing who can do the most squats or lunges, and then cap it off with a race around the block to create a friendly challenge.
Accountability: Hitting the snooze button or justifying a skipped workout due to time constraints is much harder when it affects other people. Exercising with a partner maintains accountability to squeeze in a quick workout or get out of bed early for some cardio. This also holds true for those extremely important diet changes. A partner can provide encouragement on those would-be binge days when pizza and ice cream sounds like the perfect dinner option. Try enjoying a night in cooking a healthy meal together, or make an extra effort to order responsibly at a restaurant. When both people in a relationship are on board with being healthy, it’s easier to make good choices and ensure consistency.
Connection: Not only does working out together guarantee quality time, it can make partners feel closer to each other and more connected. Physical activity triggers the production of endorphins, feel-good chemicals in the body that heighten happiness and increase libido. An increase in testosterone and heart rate as well as an elevated body temperature can boost feelings of attraction too. Couples who make an effort to try new exercise experiences such as yoga, cardio drumming or kickboxing also benefit from additional bonding opportunities. Having a shared goal keeps partners more attuned to each other’s prioritizes and needs, and the team camaraderie can carry into all aspects as a couple.
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.