“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate cardio activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous cardio work out activity every week, plus two days of strength training.” ~ Rebecca Harrington
Let’s break down what Rebecca Harrington is saying: (a) we should be doing 90 to 150 minutes of cardio and (b) an hour or so of weight training per week.
“Check and check?” Good for you!
“Not so much?” Don’t feel bad about yourself. You’re not alone, believe us.
Yours truly absolutely despised the idea of working out before getting hooked. In fact, most people who work out regularly hated the idea of exercise at first.
Then they found out a little secret: the payoff – especially how much better exercise makes you feel – is well-worth the initial struggle of motivation.
If you struggle with a less-than-enthused attitude as it pertains to working out, any tip, trick, or “hack” is welcome. In this respect, you may want to consider bringing your partner along.
Why? Well, research gives us a few reasons why we should sweat it out with our better halves.
Here’s why you should work out with your SO:
1. Gives our workout a boost
A few of us appreciate a complete absence of people (as in, zero gymgoers) when hitting the gym. Most of us, though, like at least a couple of people around.
Why is this?
Well, humans don’t like doing things by themselves much – the whole “social creature” thing.
Now scientists are saying that your partner may provide an energy boost while working out. This is especially true if we’re already confident in our physical fitness, and have established an exercise routine.
2. A healthier relationship
Studies show that couples who engage in some challenging physical activity report feeling more satisfied with their partners.
Researchers attribute this effect to the physiological components of working out. This makes sense, as exercise is known for producing feel-good hormones, at least in the short term. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to think that prolonged exercise by our partner’s side would translate into some long-term relationship benefits.
3. Produces lovey-dovey feelings
The biological and chemical effects of exercise are potent. Few activities produce a natural cocktail of bodily elixirs – and vigorous exercise is one of them.
In fact, physiologists state that the chemicals produced by the body while working out are the same as those it makes while falling in love.
In short, you’ll probably feel more attracted to your partner by making them your gym buddy.
4. Helps us achieve our fitness goals
When both partners care about fitness, it’s easier to for them to support each other’s goals.
In a recent study involving married men of average weight, researchers found that men were more likely to care about health and fitness if their partner did too. Additionally, the men were more physically active when their wives expressed their encouragement and support.
Exercise is similar to intimacy in the sense that both involve emotional ebbs and flows; physical activity is just a healthier way of expression (and resolution!)
5. Strengthens our emotional bond
Researchers found that a certain synchrony exists between some partners when they work out together. They observed couples matching each other’s walking or running pace, lifting weights in rhythm, and even passing a medicine ball in similar time intervals (from catch to pass.)
Scientists call this phenomenon “nonverbal mimicry,” which assists human beings in their development and strengthening of emotional bonding.
6. Encourages healthy dissolution of stress
Anyone who goes to the gym will tell you about the extraordinary stress-relieving benefits of exercise.
The reason our body reacts so positively and fully to exercise is simple: the human body is not meant to be a stationary entity. Swiftness of movement and physical mobility are evolutionary traits passed down by our distant ancestors through the millennia.
Too many couples handle stress in unhealthy ways – through avoidance, grumbling, or conflict. We act out like this because we need an outlet – and it’s that simple.
Rather than release pent-up stress via a shouting match, it’s much healthier to allow our the body to take care of it for us. And there’s no better, more robust stress-buster than some physical activity.
Please do not fall into the trap of thinking that exercise is tedious. Gym memberships, spinning classes, and high-intensity training are not all there is – far from it.
While the “typical” environment associated with exercise may be the gym, it is by no means the only (or “best”) choice.
The “best” type of exercise is one that you enjoy and makes you feel good about yourself.
Find an activity – biking, walking, tennis, basketball, anything – that you and your partner enjoy.
As long as the chosen form of physical activity helps break a sweat, you – and your relationship – will experience the numerous benefits that exercise has to offer.