Studies show that couples who work out together have stronger, happier relationships. It makes sense because many sports require communication and team work—whether you’re out mountain biking or spotting each other at the gym. Sharing a passion adds depth to your relationship, and learning a new skill builds confidence. You may even make new friends together. Plus, those increased adrenaline levels associated with exercise have a direct effect on arousal—meaning you’ll have more sex. So, next time you’re looking to improve your health, why not make it a couple’s activity?
Sign up to receive inspiring, expert advice on living your best life from Books for Better Living and Penguin Random House.
Try Something Scary
Upping the adrenaline can be an excellent way to build trust in your relationship. Just ask Al and Molly Solomon. Al, a whitewater rafting instructor, got Molly into the sport when they first started dating. Though Al acknowledges that not many significant others progress beyond “just going along for the ride,” Molly is now learning a style of rafting called R2ing, meaning she and Al can now both guide the boat down the river, instead of just following his commands. “Al needs to trust that I can handle the boat if he were to fall out, so it’s nice that he trusts me that much,” Molly says. Al adds that he couldn’t “imagine being in a relationship with someone who hasn’t embraced his passion the way Molly has,” something he hadn’t known he needed until he met her.
In addition to sharing a major passion, rafting has provided them with a community all their own. “It’s great to have shared friends through an activity as opposed to our ‘own’ friends that we each came into the relationship with,” Molly says. “The river community has played a huge part in shaping our life together, and helping us better define what we want out of it.”
Go to the Gym
You don’t have to navigate rapids to see the positive benefits of exercise on your relationship. Just head to the gym! Not only are there tons of great partner exercises out there, but you’re also less likely to skip a workout when someone is counting on you to be there with them. Even better—mimicry is a big component of why partner exercise is so effective. By matching your partner’s pace, reps, or even by tossing a medicine ball back and forth, you’ll be pushing each other to work harder—as well as feel a deeper emotional bond.
Leave the Kids at Home
Melissa and Tom Duffy started playing tennis together after Melissa joined a women’s league to meet new friends, and it quickly evolved into a way for them to spend time together, too. “We started making a date night out of booking a court and going to dinner somewhere after. We even make time to play with other couples.” Melissa adds that tennis gives them something to be passionate about—besides their two kids. “That’s important since you tend to lose sight of yourselves as the kids get older and require more of your attention.” She adds that sharing a love for the sport and impressing each other with their progress also gives them “a sense of pride” in themselves and each other.
Embrace the Outdoors
Go for a hike. Or kayak. Or SUP. Or jog. Getting outside has so many benefits, such as upping your vitamin D intake, promoting muscle confusion on unpredictable terrain, getting fresh air, and more. My husband and I love going for a hike most weekends. Not only is it a good way to disconnect from the stresses of our lives for a few hours, but it also offers us a quiet place to talk—or simply enjoy each other’s company—in a beautiful place.
While plopping down on the couch for a Netflix binge might be easier—especially after a long day or week—you, your partner, and your relationship will thank you for breaking a good sweat together, first.
Photo Credit: People Images/iStock