Working out is great – that much we can safely assume. But it seems like working out with your significant other can be even greater. Research shows that couples who regularly exercise together enjoy happier, more satisfying relationships. The stability of having a built-in workout partner can also be a great way to keep you motivated in the gym. But there are a few ways that you can make your couple’s workout more effective and enjoyable – as well as a few things to avoid.
- Stick to something that’s familiar to you both. In the realm of social psychology, there is a fascinating concept called social facilitation. This idea – which has been backed by numerous studies – states that the mere presence of someone else can increase your ability to carry out a given task. When it comes to fitness, this manifests itself in the form of increased strength and speed. But the research also reveals something that couples need to be careful of: The opposite is true when it’s an activity that you’re unfamiliar with. When working out with your partner, then, pick workouts that you are both comfortable with.
- Know your style. Some couples do great with a little competition. Others don’t. Understanding which category you fall into as a couple can make all the difference between a fun, effective workout and an… unpleasant situation. If you do like to compete – or even if you don’t – keep it fair.
- Have a common goal. Set a definite goal together that you can both accomplish, like running a 5K. The event will essentially become a project for you to conquer as a team. This will allow you to keep each other motivated while leveling the playing field if you happen to be one of the competitive couples mentioned above. If the workouts that you and your partner do together aren’t totally meeting all of your fitness needs – maybe you’re missing your strength training day – save those workouts for days that you hit the gym by yourself.
- Especially when you are both working toward the same goal, keep the lines of communication open. If you or your partner doesn’t like a certain aspect of your training or wants to change something, make sure they know that they can bring it up with you. And be willing to adapt to what they want to get out of your workouts.
- Keep it fun. Along the same lines, be willing to switch things up every once in a while. Even when you are going it solo at the gym, the same workouts week after week can get boring – the same is true when working out with a partner. Be on the look out for active things that you can do together that are outside of your normal routine. This could be something as simple as going for a bike ride instead of your regular run or even playing a sport together. Much of the research surrounding the connection between a happy relationship and exercise involved couples that do new and exciting things together. So, try to do new and exciting things together regularly.
For more ideas about how you can get the most out of your workouts – be they personal or otherwise – check out some of our other fitness articles.