04 March 2020

7 Surprising Benefits of Working Out as a Couple

By Mandy Enright

Does the thought of going to the gym with your boyfriend have you picturing his Grunt Face while heavy lifting?  Or constantly waiting for your girlfriend to finish up on the treadmill bring tears of boredom to your eyes?  These are some of the reasons that discourage couples from exercising together.  But did you know that separate workouts can actually be doing your relationship a disservice?  Couples exercising together strengthen both their bodies and relationship.  Working out as a couple can make the most important muscle of all stronger: the heart. Get these benefits of working out as a couple.

1. Spend quality time together
While cuddling up on the couch after work is one way to spend time with your honey, a better way to multi-task is exercising together.  Go for a jog together or take turns spotting weight reps as you catch up on your days.  You can also test how hard you’re working by doing the Talk Test- if you can still have a conversation with ease, then you need to increase the intensity of your workout.

2. Constant motivation
Research continues to show that couples engaging in fitness together are more likely to stick to an exercise plan.  Not only is the effort of getting to the gym sometimes a major hurdle, but also making the most of your workout and challenging yourself.  Your significant other becomes a cheerleader and conscience all in one.  And if you live together, that motivation follows you home.  Pizza and beer for dinner?  Not after that tough workout!

3. Improve the efficiency of your workout
Are you more efficient at work if your boss is hovering around?  When your partner has their attention on you during a workout, you’re more likely to push yourself a little harder without even realizing it. And what harm is there with a little friendly competition of doing more reps than your partner?

4. The Guilt-Free Workout
Our days get busy, and fitting in a workout can take time away from the people important to us.  But exercising together is another way of not only spending time together but lessens the guilt of neglecting your partner or your own health.  And who needs to spend time worrying if your partner is really at the gym, or staring at the attractive trainer across the room when you’re too busy out-repping them to care.

5. Be happier in your relationship

Participating in intense exercise alone stimulates endorphins. Exercising with your partner can intensify endorphins released as you both work towards a physical challenge that can make you feel more satisfied and in love with your partner.  Joint exercising creates a sense of “nonverbal mimicry”, which allows you to fall into pace with each other, match breathing, and find a rhythm during reps.  Becoming more in sync with our partner deepens the emotional connection.  Spotting a partner also provides a sense of commitment and security towards the relationship.

6. Exercise is foreplay
Exercise unleashes symptoms similar to physical arousal - sweaty palms, heart beating out of chest, and difficulty catching breath.  Use this to your advantage throughout the workout and fall in love all over again.  Hey, those sweaty clothes need to come off sometime, right?

7. Get out of a rut
Individuals are less likely to change their exercise routine when working out alone.  This causes the body to no longer be challenged, less successful results, and ultimately boredom that can cause giving up. But when a partner is involved, you’re more willing to branch out of your comfort zone. They may teach you something new.  Or help you progress with certain exercises.  If you have separate fitness interests, training together is a great way of introducing your favorite moves without dragging your partner to a Pilates or Crossfit class kicking and screaming.

Mandy Enright is a certified Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in Nutrition Communications, Corporate Wellness, Yoga & Fitness Training, and Mealtime Solutions.

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