They say ‘couples who train together, stay together…’ However there is certainly an argument for allocating the time you spend exercising, as the time you have to yourself especially if you have a family. But who says exercise can’t be the new date night, there is strong evidence that working out with your partner can enhance and strengthen the bond of your relationship. This is my experience.
After my partner and first I met, we got to know each other through a shared interest in fitness. For our first proper date (I don’t include the actual first time we met up, as it also included a best friend who didn’t realise we were on a date…but that is another story) – for our first proper date, we went out for a run.
Reflecting back on this, it was a great first activity to do together (easily replicated by going on a walking date), as it meant we weren’t sat opposite each other in a more confrontational situation and the exercise and the environment was there to fill in any quiet gaps. This was positive because there was the acceptance that we might not look our best, but also it is known that a side by side position makes it easier to talk openly. We felt good after our run, which likely got our relationship off to a good start – having that initial positive feeling towards each other.
With all the blood and endorphins flowing, it can have a great effect on your relationship because you are sharing the high and feeling happy together. However training together is also very much about being supportive of one another, so you might have to choose carefully the activities that you do, so that it doesn’t have the opposite effect!
In order to have this shared time, we have had to compromise and therefore we’ve found activities that we can do together. Our differing levels of fitness (and our male/ female dynamic) has meant we’ve also adapted the activities we enjoy when doing them together. For example when we were members of a gym, we’d decide to do a workout of 8 (or more) exercises, but alternate between who chose the exercise – I’d say one, then he would, all the way up to 8 (or more). This was great as we’d both end up doing a different type of workout to the one we would have done on our own. You could say, this was the start of our team work.
In the sea, he has much more water confidence than me, so surfing doesn’t work as a joint activity – however we can both go body boarding together. Swimming is also great as we can do our own thing in the pool, but share time in the steam and sauna (we should be so lucky).
Nowadays our runs have turned into long Nordic walks as we can happily go along at a similar pace and talk while we do it compared to being a bit out of whack when trying to go running. Sharing the views and even teaching Nordic Walking together certainly feels like quality time.
Training together makes you much more likely to stick with an exercise routine and I have certainly found this. We are currently doing an online yoga programme over 30 days which has definitely required one of us putting the yoga mats out when the other hasn’t felt like it. But once we are there, we can wait to discuss the virtues of sticking to a routine and how our ability to ‘do yoga’ differs in areas of our bodies. Competitive happy baby pose is ‘a thing’ in our house!
This healthy leisure time, shared with my partner has been so important to me, as it is not just about shared time. We are also looking after ourselves, for ourselves and for each other. Exercise takes us both away from any stress that might be happening in our working or home life. I certainly recommend exercising with your partner, but I do have a couple of tips:
Understand and be sympathetic to each others limits
This works both ways. One of you might be braver, faster or more experienced than the other. Healthy competition is fun, but be sure to develop at your own pace and allow your partner space to do that as well. You don’t want to put the other off or even fall out!
Have a willingness to try different activities
You might enjoy it!