You know that working out is one of the healthiest things you can do or your body and mind. It helps keep your weight in check, reduces your risk of a myriad of diseases, boosts your mood, and keeps your mind sharp as you age. And research also shows that it can have a beneficial effect on your romantic relationships, especially if couples’ workouts are a part of your regimen.
In the study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, couples who joined a fitness program and worked out together stayed in the program longer when they had support from their spouse. “It's hard to stay motivated to work out, but having another person, particularly your spouse or committed partner, as an exercise buddy to encourage you to keep going, and push you to get up, put your sneakers on, get to that gym, or go to spin class, or make it to yoga, makes it easier,” says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., certified sex therapist and author of Getting the Sex You Want.”
In addition to strengthening your commitment to your workouts, a little sweat session can strengthen your relationship too. “Having something to do together that lets off steam, decreases stress, and improves self-esteem is bound to improve your relationship,” Dr. Nelson adds. “It gives you shared goals, a common purpose and something to talk about on the way home."
Need more incentive to get moving with your significant other? Here, relationship experts share more science-backed reasons why couples’ workouts can be quite beneficial.
Exercise gives you a boost in your sex drive.
“Physical activity improves sexual functioning and helps prevent conditions such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and reduced vaginal lubrication,” says Daniel Sher, clinical psychologist and consultant for the Between Us Clinic. “Research also shows that couples who have closer, more intimate relationships are more likely to experience sexual arousal.” In other words, the more you work out in general, and especially when you do couples’ workouts, the more likely you are to experience a boost in your sex life.
The physical challenge of working out gives you a common goal.
Joining your partner in a physical competition, be it against each other (in good fun, of course) or as a team against others, can lead to a stronger relationship, explains Rachel Needle, Psy.D, licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. She recommends creating exercise or physical activity goals together, checking in weekly about those goals and doing things together to support each other in reaching these goals. “Working towards these goals can lead to couples feeling more supported and closer,” she says. “In addition, committing to a common goal encourages partners to work harder and together, increases their bond.”
Exercise gives you a boost in your mood.
Working out is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost one’s mood, motivation and overall mental health. This is because when you work out, your body releases feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. “The physiological arousal and endorphins contribute to excitement and more positive feelings towards your partner,” explains Dr. Needle.
Working out together encourages you to stick to your goals.
You are more likely to stick to your goals when you and your partner commit to couples’ workouts. “Studies show that people are more likely to make a positive health behavior change when their partner does as well,” says Dr. Needle. “It is much easier to engage in an activity with a partner, especially your own partner.” When life gets in the way, be it work, children, household responsibilities, or social commitments, knowing that you can enjoy that release with your partner while simultaneously boosting your mental, physical and emotional health is a win, win!