Couples who play together, stay together
There’s a saying: “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
If you want to become wealthy, spend time with wealthy people; If you want to become healthy, spend time with healthy people!
The idea here is that we tend to take on the behaviours, values, and patterns of the people we spend the most time with, as they take on ours.
With that being said, if you want to get fitter, stronger, and healthier, it only makes sense that you should bring your romantic partner along for the journey to help take advantage of the aforementioned effects. After all, they’re likely one of the people that you spend the most time with!
What you may not realize is that on top of the health and fitness benefits, there are a number of additional relationship benefits that can be gained from sharing your health and fitness related activities with your romantic partner.
Let’s look at a few of these benefits in more detail.
Training with your partner tends to increase the efficiency of your workouts.
Having that other person to help motivate and encourage you, and even to help change weights or equipment can really cut down the amount of time you spend working out, meaning you can either get more work done in the same amount of time, or you can get the same amount of work done in less time.
In the fitness world we refer to this as “training density” which is a great way of applying the principle of progressive overload as well as a marker of overall fitness level.
Training with your partner makes it easier to improve your other lifestyle habits.
It’s no secret that what happens in the gym is only part of the equation. Nutrition and recovery also play a significant role.
It can be hard to change your nutrition and recovery patterns without your partner’s help and buy-in. Imagine if you had to prepare two different breakfasts, lunches, and dinners every day: one for you to support your training goals and then a different meal for your partner… That sounds like a lot of extra work, and typically results in low compliance to healthy eating.
The same goes for recovery and sleep routines.
If both partners are onboard, EVERYTHING becomes exponentially easier because instead of obstacles and resistance you receive help and support.
(If you think you would benefit from improving your lifestyle habits in order to better support your training goals, our Beyond Nutrition Coaches are here to help.)
It increases your level of romantic attraction to one another.
The physiological response to exercise is almost identical to that of romantic arousal which – in turn – drives romantic attraction (Lewandowski, & Aron, 2004.) Further to that, a 2000 study by Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman found that “couples who participate in exciting physical challenges and activities together report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their romantic partner.”
Working towards a common goal increases cooperation, empathy and bonding.
Multiple studies have found that working (or playing) together towards a common goal can have tremendous benefits for your feelings towards your partner or teammate. One such 2010 study by Stel & Vonk found that exercising together often leads to non-verbal matching or mimicry (such as moving and breathing in sync) which help you feel emotionally attuned with each other.
Other studies have found that cooperative “play” helps build empathy towards your partner. One way you could accomplish this is with an “I go, you go” workout format where you are working towards a shared total volume of work (similar to a relay) or by signing up for an event like our Adventure Challenge where each stage needs to be completed as a team in order to move on to the next.
(The 2015 IF Adventure Challenge was the first physical challenge that my wife and I ever trained for together. We loved the experience so much that we’ve been teammates every year since!)
It improves motivation and accountability which can lead to life-changing outcomes.
Have you ever found yourself sitting there, knowing that you SHOULD workout, but just completely lacking the drive or motivation? Training with your romantic partner can help you overcome this obstacle!
As long as at least one of you has the drive to get up and say “let’s do this” you’re that much more likely to follow through on your plan. This can be true in training as well as in other aspects.
Blog credit: Sean Allt