Life & Style | Health

Couples who workout together stay fit together

If you think exercise is a solo pursuit, think again. It can be great fun with a partner

  • By Nathan Brown, pecial to Gulf News
  • Published: 07:00 February 14, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: OJO Images / Rex Features
  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by OJO Images / Rex Features (822088a) MODEL RELEASED Couple doing mat exercises in a fitness studio VARIOUS

There are many things that make a couple exercise at different times of the day or perhaps even head to different gyms. It could be the convenience that decides this (depending on where they work), what their family routines are, etc. It could also be that the husband works out and the wife does not or vice versa, citing lack of time, energy or inclination.

While all these possibilities are real, what’s also real is that when couples decide to exercise together, the benefits they reap are not purely physical. Working out together is a multi-faceted advantage; it creates a strong bond between the couple acting as a motivator every time one of them begs off a trip to the gym. It brings them to a better understanding of each other’s fitness needs and leads to a lifestyle that is more amenable to changes for the better. Instead of each spouse drawing up his or her fitness plans which ask of the other to work their schedules around it, a let’s-workout-together plan is a productive, convenient and a great way to achieve mutaully satisfying results.

Couples that work out together can use their strong personal bond to help improve their fitness.

1. Time together: In today’s rushed world, one barely finds extra time to spend with one’s partner. Working out together is a brilliant way to not just spend some quality time together but also to get fitter.

2. New experiences: One of the biggest complaints against working out together is that both parties have different tastes and therefore, cannot find a common ground. But this is the perfect opportunity to try out something new and maybe even find out that you do enjoy this new experience! You husband may have never considered yoga or kick boxing, you may have never seen yourself take up surfing or tennis. But all are great ways to get and stay fit and you may just enjoy the experience of learning something new.

3. The best moral support: Your spouse may just know you better than anyone else. They know when you need some encouragement and when you need to be shamed into doing better. Your spouse also happens to be one person who doesn’t need to appease or please you so their praise or criticism is genuine. It is also incredibly difficult to avoid your daily workout because there is no escaping your workout partner as you will have to face him or her across the dining table.

4. Spark and zest: You don’t have to work out together five or six times a week; you may agree to work out together just once or twice a week. While you share an experience once in a while, you also have your space the rest of the time.

Things to consider:

1. Exercise time: You are a morning person but your spouse prefers working out in the evening. If you are planning to exercise together, this is something you will have to work around and schedule in such a way that each person’s responsibilities and plans are taken into account and neither is left feeling that he or she is having to sacrifice too much. It is also not easy to change your routine at a whim because you have to consider someone else’s schedule too.

2. You tim: Quite a few people like to re-connect with themselves while jogging or lifting weights or biking. Why not combine a mixture of exercising alone and as part of a couple to get the best of both worlds?

3. Different tastes: You have agreed that you are going to exercise together. Now, you need to find out what it is that you are going to do. You like to walk, he likes to bike. You like yoga, he likes to do weights. Working out together will involve compromising and trying each other’s preferences.

4. Becoming mpre considerate: Consider different fitness levels and be generous in helping support each other and push each other.

It is important to know that adapting a few tips can make the experience of working out together truly beneficial and wonderful.

1. Go easy on lessons: If you are fitter and your spouse is a beginner, don’t presume that you have to take on the role of the gym teacher. Make suggestions but don’t ‘teach’. Most importantly don’t advice all the time – no one likes a know-it-all… not even your wife.

2. A new beginning: Pick an activity at which both of you are beginners. That way you have a level playing field and neither is left feeling incompetent. Both of you can thus enjoy the process of learning something new together.

3. Voluntary togetherness: Working out together is something you chose to do together. Nobody placed a gun to your head and made you do it. So make it an enjoyable exercise where both of you are on the same team and are not rivals.

Make exercising together fun

Since we are on the topic of couple’s working out together, it would be a good idea to look at the various ways a couple can incorporate a fitness programme into their daily lives. Working out together doesn’t have to translate into heading to the gym where one of you trundles on the treadmill while the other uses the elliptical. Here are a few fun options for couples;

• Shake a leg: Nothing can measure up to dancing as a viable and wonderful exercise option for couples. Head to a salsa dance class or a session of zumba or if in the mood for something more sedate, try out the waltz class. This is one form of exercise that will not only burn calories but add some spark to your relationship.

• Get some fresh air: We are not just talking about walking or jogging here. How about sailing or hiking or climbing or scuba diving or tandem biking? These sports combine fitness with adventure and will also break the monotony of a regular exercise schedule.

• Take a deep breath: This weekend head to the beach before breakfast and sit on the rocks near the waves and focus on your breathing for the next 30 minutes. It will be the best exercise you have ever done as a couple. It will calm you down, massage your organs, cut down stress and make you amenable to a peaceful and lovely day ahead. Follow it up with a gentle stroll along the beach and some stretches.

• Boot camp: This is a great idea if you are both at the same fitness level. It is great to have a partner to chuckle and gasp with when one is trying to finish one of these sessions. But if either one of you is more fit than the other, we suggest you stay away from this one.

Gulf News
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