by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
A couple of years ago, a series of studies came out that showed that couples who work out together increase their chances of sticking to their exercise program more than 90%! This can’t be ignored and it got me thinking about couples I treat for relationship problems. Maybe they ought to go from a therapy session to the gym, and they’ll not only stick to their exercise program, but also stick together.
You may know that I won’t take anyone into therapy/counseling unless they are working out or have a genuine plan to initiate a physical fitness program. So why not make working out as a couple a therapeutic recommendation?
After all, not only does going to the gym together enable couples to spend quality time with each other, it allows for discussion of mutual goals and fitness levels, sharing a common commitment to well-being, creating mutual motivation, developing a deeper bond with each other, and offers opportunities to celebrate each other’s successes.
I see couples at The Sporting Club working out together frequently and have often wondered about setting aside time once a month or so JUST for couples to enjoy an evening of fitness, perhaps dine on some of Minh’s great food, and finish with a brief discussion on some aspect of relationship improvement. Consider it a date night at TSC!
Matters of the heart beyond cardio benefits are only some of the rewards you can look forward to with couples exercise. Remember, there are studies that show that men and women who exercise regularly report better and more frequent sex with their partners—so how much more enjoyable can exercising with each other be?
Here are seven simple ideas to get started:
- Take a class or two together. From spinning to Yoga, stretching to Pilates, gravity to Zumba, The Sporting Club has enough classes each week to satisfy your interests and needs.
- Do cardio side-by-side by finding two treadmills, stair machines, or bikes and work at your own speed – double head phones in the same iPod lets you share music!
- Learn how to stretch each other – gently helping each other with a pull or push can ease each other’s muscles before and after a couples’ workout.
- Develop some trust with each other simply by serving as each other’s spotter. Knowing your partner is there to assist can aid in communication and trust building. And there’s nothing like saying “thanks” to help a relationship. Bench presses, chest flies, skull crushers all can provide opportunities to assist each other and demonstrate a feeling of safety with each other.
- Do resistance exercises using each other as the resistance. Push-ups against the press of your partner and leg raises with resistance from your partner are only two ways to begin partner-assisted resistance. It’ll help your arguments later.
- Eye contact and communicating while exercising offer chances for intimacy building that can extend to other activities that are, well, a bit more intimate and reserved for out of the gym exercise.
- One program I came across for at-home couples exercise is the “Fit2Touch” DVD fitness program that combines Yoga, Pilates and strength training. You can find it on line.
It’s been well known that exercise is good for the body, soul and mind. Now, we can add, it’s also good for our relationships. The Sporting Club may just be the best date destination in San Diego.
Live Life Fit