Why You Should Exercise With Your Significant Other

bonne marcusGuest blogger: Bonne Marcus
A fitness industry expert for 27 years, Marcus holds numerous certifications from the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), including Step, Spin, Bosu™, Pre/Post Natal, Youth Fitness, Aqua, and Personal Training. She has taught for New York City’s top health clubs, including Crunch, New York Health and Racquet, and Reebok Sports Club. A recognized name on Long Island, Bonne has taught at Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds, North Shore Health Club, LA Fitness, Sport time, Equinox and currently teaches at the Sid Jacobsen JCC in Roslyn. Learn more at getfitwithbonne.com.

couple exercising together
Photo Credit: Iofoto/iStockphoto

If you've ever gone for a long, challenging run or toughed it out in the weight room with your significant other, you know that sweat can bring you closer. Working out produces endorphins, and endorphins give you that "exercise high." When you exercise together and both produce these endorphins, you end up associating those positive feelings with your partner.

However, differences in fitness ability can cause frustration on both sides, so you'll need to find a compromise. If you’re more fit than your partner, be the role model. Give encouraging words. Use healthy competition. Let the person who is going slower set the pace, because you will still be getting a good workout. You’ll be working in your heart-rate zone and burning calories and, eventually, you’re both going to get on the same level. And encourage the more-fit partner to push ahead at the end of the run to finish strong. 

Want to reap the benefits of couples’ workout? Here are some suggestions:

► Level the playing field and start a new workout together. Start something fresh for both of you, like a class in kickboxing, yoga, or weight training. This way, neither of you has an edge. You can support each other on this new adventure. You can try a martial art, Pilates, or it could be something as simple as walking.

► Alternate weight training, spotting and encouraging each other, adjusting the weight and intensity that's right for you and him.

► Find low-impact activities you can enjoy together that improve fitness on a daily basis. We sometimes think we’ll save walking for when we can’t workout anymore, but it provides excellent health benefits, and the opportunity for long talks is great for any relationship. Walk together to the store or on other errands. Start with a 20-minute walk three to five times a week, working up to walking three miles five to six times a week. Take it slow, increasing distance by no more than 10 percent each week.

► Make plans to do something special that incorporates exercise, such as a dance class or going hiking in the mountains.

Despite the benefits of working out together, there are still days when you will get a better workout on your own. Unfortunately, just because you and your honey get along in life, it doesn’t mean you're always compatible as exercise buddies. If there's a great disparity in your shape, experience, or temperament, or if you find you're too competitive to share any activity, don’t push it. Just work out separately around the same time or in the gym. And with your blood pumping and your bodies glistening, you can always meet up later for a shower!

Having fitness as a common pursuits will not only get you exercising, it will lead to better diet, higher self-esteem and more energy to do and share other things. If you respect each other's individual needs and goals, working out with your sweetie can only do you good, both individually and as a couple, so get out there and enjoy it together!

—Bonne Marcus, master fitness trainer and author. Learn more at getfitwithbonne.com.