By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
It’s that time of the year again when everything turns to the shape of hearts. February 14th is Valentine’s Day…ok, the day before my birthday too. It’s also the time when most New Year’s Resolutions have essentially evaporated, including the big three: having a better relationship, exercising more and eating healthier.
What’s this have to do with La Jolla Sports Club? Our La Jolla gym can be the central address for health and fitness 3600. That means not only can LJSC help improve lifestyle habits of physical and emotional health, but relationship health as well. Data tells us that adherence to exercise and healthy eating improves significantly with a supportive partner. When that partner is our significant other, research says there’s a 90% increase in the likelihood that we’ll stick with our goals, including exercise. Not only does adherence to exercise improve, leading to healthier and happier living, but there’s advantages to relationships when couples work out together. And, what better time to focus on this than on Valentine’s Day?
You’ll grow more connected when you workout together. Not only does going to the gym together promote quality time with each other, it allows for discussion of mutual goals and fitness levels, creates opportunities for sharing a a common commitment to wellbeing, creates mutual motivation develops deeper bonds with each other and offers many chances to celebrate each other’s progress. You are required to focus on each other in ways that couples often don’t.
Further, your workouts will actually be better. You have an accountability partner and it’s likely you’ll push each other, kindly of course, to do more, go further, and press your limits. What’s the rush home? Your partner is with you! No resentment, no upset—you are already sharing face time, goals, communication and connection.
Perhaps most important to couples who work out together, regularly, not just on Valentine’s Day, are matters of the heart that go beyond the gym. Exercise is simply a wonder drug for your libido. With the touching, support, encouragement, sweating, moving, pheromones endorphins, dopamines and other feel-good hormones that are released, you’re more likely to be in the “right frame of mind” for post-workout enjoyment. A survey by Brooks Running of 1,000 adults 18 and older who run at least once per week outdoors or on a treadmill, found that 66% believe they have more sex when they run as a couple. But wait. There’s more. Almost 50% of those questioned said running more than six miles together left their hearts pounding even more in the bedroom.
James White, Ph.D., author of “The Best Sex of Your Life” (1997, Barricade Books), professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego and former director of the exercise physiology and human performance center, believes that runners have 15-20% more sex than those who don’t run or exercise. So with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, hit the HIIT (high intensity interval training), do planks face to face, crunches on a Swiss ball or Bosu while tossing a ball to each other, leg raises with some manual resistance from your partner, push ups with your partner pushing gently on your back or face-to-face in “missionary form,” single leg lunges helping each other up and down, and sit-ups sitting on your partner’s lap, legs wrapped around his/her waist.
Plan on a Valentine’s Day workout date. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling, and it’s an inexpensive way to connect, communicate and celebrate each other. Perhaps most importantly, sweating it out with your sweetheart will add more sweet to your hearts.
Have fun and Happy Valentine’s Day!