Getting the motivation to exercise can be easier and more fun if you exercise together as a couple. Going to the gym, going for a walk and cycling are great healthy activities to do together.
Advisor: Jorge Palacio – Sports medicine doctor, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
The benefits of exercise are well known: it protects your heart, increases circulation, strengthens your bones and muscles, and reduces your levels of fat in the body. However, while its benefits are many, sometimes the most challenging thing can be to have the motivation to do it and make it part of your daily routine. One way to get inspired and to make your exercise more dynamic is to exercise as a couple.
For sports medicine doctor Jorge Palacio, exercising as a couple makes for a more versatile, enjoyable and even safer workout because “You can verify that the other person is doing the technique properly or even help them do a certain movements if they are having a harder time.” Another advantage of working out together as a couple is that not many machines or equipment is necessary, as the person’s own bodyweight in addition that of their partner’s helps expand your workout routine.
Palacio suggests including aerobic and strength training exercises in all workouts. He also recommends being very aware of each person’s individual abilities to avoid comparing what you or the other may or may not be able to do. Expanding on this point, Palacio warns against falling into what he calls the “ego exercise”: “It is quite common for one of the two to notice that the other is lifting more weight or has a higher endurance and cannot do the same, so it is very important to know how far each one can go, because the skills of one person are not equal to those of another. If you are just beginning, you can start by doing your own weight-bearing exercises and increase as you adapt. In a situation like this, for example, it is important for your partner to make sure you are doing the exercise right or to offer help if you need it.”
While these exercises clearly benefit your physical health, it is important to remember that they also benefit your mental health. Physical activity fosters the release of endorphins, which are the hormones that increase feelings of well-being, euphoria and vitality.
Therefore, in addition to being beneficial, saying goodbye to physical inactivity as a couple can also be fun. Read on to learn more about some of the advantages of working out as a couple.
1. It boosts your self-esteem. The physical changes that arise as a result of doing exercise help you to be more comfortable with your body. It will even make both people feel and look more attractive as a couple.
2. It improves your sex life. In addition to the feeling of well-being and pleasure that the release of endorphins creates, exercising together also increases your libido. Thus, those who do physical activity often have more and better sex.
3. It lowers your stress levels. After exercising, the body relaxes, which helps to prevent anxiety, tension and depression. Doing physical activities that bring enjoyment and positive feelings are therefore recommended.
4. It fosters a healthy lifestyle. Some say that being in a relationship makes you gain weight because couples often prefer to go out to eat or watch a movie at home. However, exercising together is a healthy and different way to break up your routine; it also motivates couples to improve their eating habits.
5. It protects you from disease. When couples have more creative and different routines, this increases the chances of preventing cognitive impairment, which refers to reducing the risk of having diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or having a stroke.
6. It improves your ability to learn. Exercise fosters neurogenesis, which is the process of creating new brain cells. If varied and different routines are added, this also benefits a person’s capacity to learn, memory and decision making.
7. It fosters productivity. Working out as a couple increases performance and allows people to be more active during the day, preventing fatigue and a lack of concentration. Exercise helps regulate the body’s cycles and helps you to sleep well.
The sports medicine doctor Jorge Palacio suggests taking the following recommendations and ideas into consideration when starting a sports routine as a couple.
- Use sunscreen, especially if the activity is outdoors.
- Wear comfortable clothing, preferably cotton, and the appropriate footwear for doing exercise.
- Have something to hydrate with for before, during and after your exercise. Water is the best liquid to hydrate with.
- Avoid exercising after a heavy meal to prevent dizziness, vomiting or cramping.
- Do warm-up activities before you start.
Sitting in front of each other, with your legs in a “V” position, hold your partner’s arms and bring them towards the floor to stretch their legs, back and arms. Have each partner repeat this 10 times.
2. Advanced alternate
When bending the knee, to avoid injury, do not go past the tip of the foot without the other knee touching the floor. Do 3 sets of 15, alternating legs.
Use a ball to do sit ups and when both are in the upright position, pass the ball to the other. Do 3 sets of 20.
Do squats holding on to each other’s elbows with straight arms and a straight back. When at the lowest point of the squat, make sure your knee does not go past the tip of the foot. Do 3 sets of 15.
5. Resistance skipping
Use an elastic band (or place your hands on your waist) to create resistance and increase the exercise’s level of complexity. Do 3 sets for 40 seconds each.
Sitting with your backs on the floor and with your knees bent, take a ball or a heavy object and turn together at the same time to pass the ball from side to side. Do 3 sets of 20.
7. Parallel push-ups
In a push-up position (one in front of the other), do a push up at the same time and then give each other a high five. Repeat the push up and use the other hand for the high five. Do 3 sets of 10.
Related: Twenty Minutes of High Impact