To be honest, I was never one to consider working out with my significant other. I always thought of my time working out as a period of solitude. It was peaceful, a stretch of time where I could think and not do so much talking. However, giving it a shot proved to be extremely beneficial for me personally, and my relationship. Although I still enjoy a private gym workout from time-to-time, I mainly find myself enjoying the company and real powerful benefits of exercising with my mate.
You can learn a lot from someone’s weaknesses. Getting backed into a corner usually reveals whether a person is a fighter or runner. And although no one is literally getting backed into a corner here (or shouldn’t anyway), the stressful nature of exercise and having to work as a team can reveal some very real weaknesses. If while exercising with your partner you take a deeper look, you will not only see an external struggle, but an internal one as well.
Noticing your partner’s weaknesses is important. These can range from them feeling discouraged due to fitness level to using all sorts of excuses as to why they cannot do what they are expected to do.
Finding your partners weaknesses – physical or mental – is not the end game however. In fact, finding their weakness has less to do with them than it does with you. Your job as their partner is to develop a way to motivate them to overcome those weaknesses. It is about being part of their self-improvement journey, and motivating them to keep pushing when their vulnerabilities start creeping back.
Exercising as a couple allows each of you the opportunity to practice lifting each other’s spirits, and becoming a strong bidirectional support system.
There are many moving parts when creating an exercise regimen – planning of times, days, workouts, etc. These important elements need to be determined up front to facilitate and maintain some type of consistency.
Exercising with your partner allows for two minds to come together and collaborate – using each other’s strengths – to determine the best course of action. It is also equally important as your mates partner to recognize and complement them on their strengths – being complimented is always nice and should be practiced regularly within a relationship. Learn to rely and depend on your partner’s strengths; leading to further development of trust, and respect towards each other.
Building on each other’s strengths will make you an unstoppable team, relying on each other takes weight off your shoulders, and collaboration will bring you closer together – all of this from exercise.
Having your mate exercise with you can automatically provide you with one of the most reliable accountability partners. Your significant other probably knows you better than most. This serves to discourage you from using faulty excuses to get you out of prior workout commitments. This can at times become particularly annoying (trust me, I know). However, it is important for both to keep each other in check and committed to the goal.
Speaking up, being honest, and sharing any concerns along the way is crucial. As a result, you will find the relationship will grow stronger, you will gain better understanding of what motivates your partner, and will make it more likely your fitness goals are met.
Working out together requires a fair amount of communication (more than I’d like unfortunately). Yet, there is some real benefit to this. Spending gym time together presents you with a rare opportunity to do some serious catching up.
Many a times we can become distracted with work, school, or simply life – forgetting to have frequent meaningful and purposeful conversations with those we love. Exercising with your mate provides you with time to talk about your day, discuss current events, or share new ideas. Of course good communication takes time, and like everything, perfect practice makes perfect.
A study by Gary Lewandowski Jr and Arthur Aron ventured to “disentangle the influence of arousal from novelty and challenge in the context of interpersonal attraction.” The study attempted to demonstrate the robustness of the arousal/attraction effect. They found that those “participating in highly arousing activities showed significantly greater romantic attraction to their partners than did those participating in less arousing activities.” The word “arousing” here can be a little deceiving. In the case of this study, arousing activities did not particularly suggest sex, although it can (I am sure), but specifically (non-sex) exercise type activities – although I am sure you know sex is also a type of exercise, but that’s another story.
Exercise serves as a highly arousing activity that not only improves physical health, but as suggested in the study above, facilitates a healthy relationship as well.
Another study by Marië̈lle Stel and Roos Vonk found that nonverbal mimicry helps people feel “emotionally attuned” with one another. Those who engaged or experienced this tended to report a greater feeling of bonding with their partner. In other words, lifting weights in rhythm with your partner, or matching walking/running pace with them create nonverbal matching that nurtures bonding. Exercising with your significant other allows you the opportunity to create a stronger connection benefiting both your health and relationship.