Bonding over Fitness
Today’s busy lifestyle has you running from pillar to post – rushing off to work, ferrying your children back and forth from school, grocery shopping, washing the car, cooking… The common lament is, “We wish there were more hours in a day!”. We get so caught up in our busy schedules that each one at home is doing his or her own thing. Not that you have no time at all with each other; you just may not be spending quality time with your partner.
Exercise with your partner
If you don’t have a spouse or significant other, find a friend who shares your fitness goals. Post a notice in your local gym and specify the timings and schedule you are aiming for. Or start your own walking group.
It’s more than two birds with one stone – greater fun, better fitness and more bonding with each other. Talk to each other and set realistic goals. Decide what kind of exercise will work well for the two of you – you could walk, jog or swim, go cycling or hiking, join a gym, or a dance or yoga / Pilates class.
Studies have shown that exercising with your partner comes with real and tangible benefits; researchers have found that “those who sweat it together, stay together.” You can support each other and discuss your fitness goals and successes / failures. Having common goals and shared routines does make for stronger relationships.
Couples who exercise together report that they find it easier to stick to their exercise regimen and make lasting lifestyle changes for the better. Working out as a team does make you more committed to your practice. You don’t want to let your partner down or mess up the schedule, so you feel motivated to keep to your exercise plan.
Stay in love
It is not just about boosting your own health and well-being, it also fans the romance in your relationship. People who exercised with their partners say they find themselves happier, more satisfied in their relationship, and more in love with your partner. And here’s a big bonus – physical exercise perks up your sex life. It improves blood flow in a way that can really get you in ‘the mood’!
There come moments in every relationship – hopes, fears and tears about children, work or bills. One woman, who regularly went walking for exercise with her partner, says they were able to discuss and resolve many such issues during their walks – it was their ‘our’ time away from their busy schedules. As they grew older, they simply moved on to different exercise routines to suit their changing needs.
The Happiness Factor
We’ve heard and read a ton of things about the benefits of exercise in general – less stress, better sleep, sharper brain, more energy. Working out releases endorphins and serotonin – particularly Dopomine – the happiness-inducing neurotransmitter. All this is true; relationship psychotherapists also add that actual exercise itself can have a positive impact – physically and emotionally – on the relationship.
A few tips
- Plan your exercise schedule together, so it fits both your schedules.
- Make your exercise routine your one-on-one time for sharing, laughing and catching up on the news with each other.
- If you and your partner are both active, friendly competition will spur you on to more exercise. (‘Friendly’ is the key-word here.)
- On occasion, you may need to say something to your partner about doing things your way or not liking the way he or she is doing it, be gentle – suggest rather than criticise. And be open to suggestion too.
- Working out together helps you to encourage and watch out for each other. Your aim is to exercise together, so if you’ll at different fitness levels, be patient with each other.
- Adjust your plan to suit each other. Here’s an example: You and your partner have decided to walk for an 45 minutes everyday. One of you walks faster than the other. Begin at the same pace and walk together for three minutes. The faster partner can then walk briskly for the next three minutes and jog in place or do a series of stretches while waiting for the other to catch up. Repeat this till you reach your 45 minute goal.
Working out together boosts performance and increases output by up to 24%. So, even if your partner is faster than you are, keep exercising together and you are sure to catch up with him or her soon.
Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!