Exercising With Your Partner Will Bring You Closer Together

Exercising With Your Partner Will Bring You Closer Together

Joint workouts can give your health and relationship a boost, but they can also be tricky. Here are some tips from experts.

Instead of snuggling side by side on the sofa with your partner and letting another Netflix show wash over you, why not go jogging together? Or how about taking part in a sweat-inducing Pilates session in place of the umpteenth quiet evening playing a board game?

Joint workouts can give your health and relationship a boost, but they can also be tricky. Here are some tips from experts.

Exercising together is fundamentally good for relationships, according to Eric Hegmann, a couples counsellor and author in Hamburg, Germany. It relieves stress and frustration, you spend time together, and it sharpens the libido. “So go for it!” he says. 

jogging together

Experts say jogging together is especially suitable for couples. | Image source: Shutterstock

Your “we’re a team” feeling will get a particular boost if you compete against another couple in a sporting activity. In the words of Hegmann, who advises every couple to arrange regular date nights: “A joint afternoon workout once a week is definitely terrific, too.”

Jens Kleinert, director of health and social psychology at the German Sport University’s Institute of Psychology in Cologne, says: “When doing sport together, you experience your partner in a different role. This does the relationship good.”

As is so often the case in a relationship, you’ve first got to talk, talk and then talk some more.

“You need to put your heads together and figure out what you want to achieve,” Kleinert says. “You should agree on the purpose that sport and exercise will serve for you.”

Do you simply want to spend time together, or is your main aim to lose weight or get into better shape? Perhaps you want to challenge each other to develop six-pack abs.

Consider your options, based on social distancing measures in place in your area. Apart from fitness exercises at home, you can consider jogging, cycling and walking outside. And as restrictions ease, you might choose to go to a fitness centre together, join a sports club or take yoga lessons.

And finally: do you want to keep to yourselves or have a couple that you are friends with join you?

It’s important to plan your joint training sessions thoroughly, Kleinert says. You and your partner need to decide on their length, intensity and frequency, and set recurring, fixed dates and times for them.

“You should plan them so they fit well into your daily schedule,” he adds.

It doesn’t really matter if you try something new together, or if one of you takes up the other’s hobby. In the latter case, it’s only important that the novice not mind being less adept.

As for the type of exercise, Hegmann sees jogging as especially suitable for couples. “You’re outdoors, can hold a conversation and get into a state of flow,” he says.

Golf, tennis, surfing and kitesurfing are good choices too, Hegmann notes, adding you could hire a personal trainer to develop a programme that suits you both. This is a good way to get ideas for a joint exercise programme, especially for couples who are fitness beginners.

couples lose weight together

It’s important to plan your joint training sessions thoroughly. | Image source: iStock

Having different fitness levels is generally no problem during joint workouts. What’s important is that neither of you is over- or under-challenged. “If you’re a bit creative, you’ll find a solution,” Kleinert says.

One of you could do a more difficult version of an exercise, for example, while the other does an easier one. Or you could jog together for the first 20 minutes, and then separately.

The fitter partner should naturally show consideration for the less fit one, Hegmann says. “You shouldn’t overtax your partner, who’ll get frustrated and lose enjoyment.”

At some point it hits everyone ” a motivation slump. To counter it, Kleinert recommends clear agreements. First of all, this means sticking to scheduled workouts. One way to do this is to conclude a contract of sorts.

“It can simply be putting the agreed date in writing and pinning it to a bulletin board, which documents your commitment,” Kleinert says. This raises reliability and lowers the potential for conflict.

You should also discuss in advance how you plan to spur each other on should motivation wane. Can you find a way to challenge your partner to carry on, or is gentle persuasion preferable?

“You know each other and how best to deal with something like this,” Kleinert says.

It’s OK not to be OK

If it turns out that exercising together just isn’t your thing, it’s not the end of the world.

“If joint workouts are the only thing you can’t manage to do together, fine,” Hegmann says. But the inability to agree on any shared activities, and no effort to find any, is a bad sign.

“If you can’t rouse yourselves to take fitness walks together and don’t have much in common generally, you should ask yourselves why you’re together in the first place.”

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Exercising With Your Partner Will Bring You Closer Together

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