Exercising with your partner may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about strengthening your bond. However, exercising together can have some amazing benefits for both your relationship and your fitness levels. There are many potential benefits, but here is our top 4:
You may have heard that an easy way to make somebody like you more is to mirror their body language (Gueguen, 2009). Well this works with your partner too. As you are following along with the coach, you are both doing the same movements. This mimicry (nonverbal matching), and shared participation, can help to increase your emotional bond.
Another way physical activity can increase your bond is through the release of hormones. When we exercise, we produce feel good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins which can make us feel happier. If you are feeling happy while you are exercising with your partner, you may begin to associate these positive feelings with your partner and feel more positive about them as a result (theconversation.com, 2020).
In fact, studies have found that couples who take part in activities that they find exciting together, feel more satisfied with their relationship overall (Aron et al., 2000).
Exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal: sweating, breathlessness, and a racing heart. These symptoms mirror our response to romantic attraction. While you may not be feeling your most attractive, your partner may be feeling more attracted to you than ever! This is known as misattributed arousal, because the body misinterprets these symptoms caused by exercise as sexual arousal. But take advantage of this and get your partner to join in on your home workouts!
There are two main reasons why working out with your partner has been found to boost your fitness results: healthy competition and accountability.
Numerous studies have shown that when working out with someone we perceive to be better than ourselves, we push ourselves harder and this healthy competition leads us improving our performance (Irwin et al., 2014). There is also an element of wanting to impress your partner. This means you could both feel motivated to work a bit harder than you ordinarily would.
If you have an on/off relationship with exercise, having a training partner to hold you accountable could make all the difference! You can motivate each other, and you should find that you are skipping far fewer work out sessions because you are supporting each other’s fitness journeys, rather than just your own.
It can be difficult to find time together with work, children, and other responsibilities. So, having an hour or so of quality time together scheduled in is really important. While you are exercising may not be the ideal time to chat, but it gives you something to talk about over dinner. It is also great to have a shared activity that you can both look forward to. We should all be aiming to exercise for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, so why not do it together and spend some quality time together in the process?
Sign up to Move More
Fancy working out with your partner? Our Move More classes provide the perfect opportunity. Our classes are currently online so you can work out together from the comfort of your own home. Sign yourself and your partner to Move More here
Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273-284.
Gueguen, N. (2009). Mimicry and seduction: An evaluation in a courtship context. Social Influence, 4(4) 249-255
Irwin. B, Scorniaenchi. J, Kerr. N, Eisenmann. J and Feltz. D (2014) Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect