With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I think it would be nice to see Cupid’s sweatier side. Everyone already knows about the fat, little, cherub who brings chocolate and candy, but what about the lean, buff cupid who brings a healthier and happier quality of life to couples? He is there to bring love to those couples by, instead of hitting them with an arrow, knocking them in the glutes with a set of squats or lunges.
All joking aside (mostly), couples are always looking for ways to spend quality time together, to connect in new and different ways. Becoming each other’s workout partner is the perfect solution. It brings both of you together with a common goal – health and fitness. The workouts become part of that often elusive “us” time where couples can strengthen their emotional bonds while working on their physical bodies. Most couples are busy, working professionals who find their only “together time” is in front of the television, where communication is limited. By carving out some time to work out together, you are making it easier to talk and communicate.
Because some couples are so concerned about making time for their significant other, they will use that as an excuse to not work out. They rationalize that the time spent together nurturing the relationship trumps the need to find individual time to exercise. It’s amazing how it never even crosses some couples mind’s to workout with each other! When you both choose to make that time with each other, you are creating a shared activity with amazing benefits for each of you.
There are huge benefits to making a commitment to get hot and sweaty with each other. Lab studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000). And there is no doubt that when you work out with a partner, studies show you tend to push yourself harder, either to keep up with or to impress the person with you. Additionally, at a more primitive, subconscious level, the fact that you are both getting hot and sweaty with racing pulses and shortness of breath is identical to the symptoms of physical arousal, reminding us of the thrill of romantic attraction. Moreover, exercise has been shown to reduce stress, boost self-esteem, ward off anxiety and can improve your deep restful sleep, all while strengthening your heart, lowering your blood pressure, increasing your energy level, reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle.
Another thought to take under consideration when approaching your wife, husband or significant other to work out together: it creates a commitment to the other person, which turns into accountability to stick with your health and fitness goals. When you work out alone, it is a lot easier to convince yourself to skip your gym day, eat that extra slice of pizza or avoid a run because of a light rain shower. When someone is counting on you to be there for them, studies reveal you are more apt to work through adversity and stick to your objectives.
Finally, let’s not forget those endorphins! Exercise releases a healthy dose of those morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings. They are often referred to as the brain’s “feel-good” hormones. The workout itself helps put you in a better place mentally, which is always a good building block for a healthy, happy relationship with your partner.