As if a better sex life isn’t enough of a reason to hit the gym together, couples who do so are more motivated and more committed to staying fit and healthy.
A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that couples who exercise together are more likely to stick with an exercise program. After 12 months, only 6.3 percent of married couples dropped out of their workout routine, while a whopping 43 percent of married singles did. Who says marriage means you’re doomed to become a couch potato?
The other bonus for couples who exercise together? It can be a good way to work through any conflicts, says Greer. “When you come away from a class with a renewed sense of strength and control, and you see your partner doing the same thing, it’s easier to look at a problem and say, let’s work this through.”
Ready to get your sweat on with your sweetie? Here are five tips for doing so:
1. Pick a race. Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, training towards something together can be especially bonding. Even if you aren’t the same speed and running side-by-side the whole time, encouraging each other and sharing workouts can be a great way to stay close. For even more perks, pick a race in a fun destination that you can travel to together. Explore a new city, push your bodies for a healthy accomplishment and make a vacation out of it!
2. Don’t compete. Not many couples can—or should—compare and compete. “There are times when people exercise together and one person in the relationship exercises more frequently,” warns Greer. “This can create friction if he thinks his partner doesn’t exercise enough or she thinks he exercises too much. But as long as the emphasis is on health and not competition, it’s OK.” Just pick something where you don’t need to compete, like spin class, yoga or hiking.
3. Think outside the box. Working out together doesn’t always have to entail a formal exercise class. “Rather than getting caught up in a gym class or yoga class, think in terms of what else you like to do,” advises Greer. “Dance, ride bikes together and move your body in ways that you can do it together.”
4. Respect likes and dislikes. You and your partner can go to the gym together, and each do your own workout. For example, one of you might like the treadmill while the other wants to lift weights. It’s all about honoring each other’s personal likes and dislikes, instead of trying to force yourselves to do everything together.
5. Go for a walk together. Exercising as a couple doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk. “Use this as your private time with each other,” says Greer. “Afterward, sit down and have cup of coffee together.” That’s a wonderful way to bond.
The bottom line? Exercise together for healthier bodies and a healthier relationship!
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