Many couples make it a priority to enjoy a range of activities together—from fine dining and movie going, to travelling and binge-watching their favourite shows on Netflix. But one of the healthiest routines a couple can get into the habit of is actually working out together. Stars are no strangers to this notion—how many times have you spotted Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, or Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth together, hand-in-hand in their workout gear? Studies have shown that exercising with your significant other has the power to strengthen your physical and emotional connection. Not only that, sweating side by side has proven to help couples meet weight-loss and health goals too. So the next time you and your partner are sitting around on a Saturday afternoon wondering where the day will take you, why not hit up a yoga class or pay a visit to your favourite gym? Below, see the facts that link healthy relationships to couples that get their cardio on together.
In an article on Psychologytoday.com, Theresa E. DiDonato PhD reports: “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.”
DiDonato states: “Exercise is a perfect example of the type of invigorating activity that can have these positive effects. It’s the physiological arousal, rather than the novelty or challenge of the activity, that drives romantic attraction….This suggests that sharing a fitness goal such as training for a 5K (try Running, The Beginner's Guide: From the Couch to 5km in 12 Weeks, $29) or triathlon, taking regular runs together, ballroom dancing, or having a date night at the gym can boost the quality of your romantic relationship.”
“When you work out together, you create a context in which you can coordinate your actions,” DiDonato says. “For example, you might lift weights in rhythm with your partner, match your own walking or running pace with his or hers, or toss medicine balls back and forth. Such behaviour creates nonverbal matching, or mimicry, which benefits you both…. Nonverbal mimicry helps people feel emotionally attuned with one another, and those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of having ‘bonded’ with their partner. Exercising together provides an opportunity to create such connection, benefiting both your health and your relationship.”
Dr. Jane Greer, New York–based marriage and relationship psychotherapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship ($25), told YouBeauty.com: “When a couple works out together, the actual exercise itself can physically and emotionally have a positive impact…Both partners come away with feelings of synchronicity, cooperative spirit and shared passion. Then you throw in some spicy endorphins and it can be a real power trip for the relationship.”
“That time you would spend at the gym suddenly becomes ‘us’ time, and that otherwise-boring walk you were planning to take after dinner becomes more fun with good company,” Greer says. “Not to mention that if you’re walking with weight loss in mind, you’re more likely to meet your goals with social support.”
Do you work out with your significant other? Do you feel exercising together has the power to strengthen your bond? Please tell us in the comments below!