Whether you pace each other on long runs, spot each other in the weight room, or take each other down with Jiu-Jitsu, working out with your significant other can have loads of surprising benefits completely unrelated to your physique.
Abundant evidence suggests that couples who work out together work better…on the playing field and off.
Working out with a partner, especially if that partner is in slightly better shape than you are, may help you bring your A-game to your fitness routine.
A little friendly competition—even the subtle kind—can provide that extra boost you need to push yourself one more mile or throw another weight plate on the bar.
A caveat: If one of you is super competitive and likely to push the competition angle, you might want to avoid high-intensity workouts that could provoke a fightfest or an injury. Stick to lower-key exercise sessions like yoga or spin class, and keep the focus on mutual improvement.
Studies show that the endorphin high that comes after a tough workout session may function to intensify a feeling of closeness between partners. As a bonus, this can potentially enhance libido, particularly for women. Doctors at the New England Research Institute believe that men who exercise vigorously likely enjoy a reduction in impotence risk.
The aesthetic physical improvements of staying fit are a definite plus. When you look good, you feel good about yourself, and confidence is very sexy. Being strong, flexible, and having a certain amount of endurance doesn’t exactly hurt, either.
If both partners are working together, there’s an increased likelihood that each one will stick with a challenging exercise regimen. Sticking with a program to achieve a fitness goal over time is tough. Pushing through the inevitable plateaus, dips, and setbacks is one of the biggest challenges people face in managing their fitness. Jumping ship (or at least hiding in port) when the going gets rough is a huge reason many people fail to meet their goals.
Having the support of an engaged partner can be invaluable in helping one push through a rough patch and continue working toward the goal. This is true both in the short term—a single super-challenging strength workout or a half marathon, say—and the long term.
Mutual support can be the determining factor in whether someone perseveres long enough to see results and achieve continued improvement.
It’s a lot easier to get to bed at nine so you can hit the gym or the trail before dawn when both of you are turning in together. Eating habits, sleeping habits, and the hours dedicated to participating in a sport can become potentially tricky issues for couples who lead dramatically different lifestyles. Who wants to eat clean, get plenty of sleep, and stick to a rigorous workout schedule when your partner is chowing down on takeout and beer every night, staying up to watch TV till the wee hours, and lying around on the couch all weekend?
Getting your habits in sync not only makes it more likely that you will stick with them individually; it also makes it easier to accommodate both of your needs in the kitchen and the bedroom.
The shared experience of shedding blood, sweat, and tears together is surprisingly good for forming a bond. Committed partners who work out together see each other at both very low and very high points. From injuries to PRs, riding the emotional highs and lows together forms bonds of communication, understanding, and trust.
Working out together, whether that means running, cycling, hiking, or lifting, gives you the unique opportunity to share a broad range of emotional experiences with each other. Also, it gives you the chance to show support, to offer consolation, and to celebrate with your loved one. All these things contribute to stronger attachment to each other and help construct a firm foundation of shared experience.