It is no secret that Doug and I love to exercise! Since the beginning of our relationship we were always trying new and challenging workouts! Over the last few months we have stepped up our game even more and now lift together! I never thought I would say this, but I love lifting! When we are together we tend to push each other a little harder and build each other up! Here are a few reasons why couples that lift together tend to stay together! Working out can:
- Increase your happinesswith your relationship. Studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000). Exercise is a perfect example of the type of invigorating activity that can have these positive effects. It’s the physiological arousal, rather than the novelty or challenge of the activity, that drives romantic attraction (Lewandowski, & Aron, 2004). This suggests that sharing a fitness goal (such as training for a 5K or triathlon), taking regular runs together or having a date night at the gym can boost the quality of your romantic relationship.
- Improve the efficiency of your workouts.A long-standing concept in social psychology is that the mere presence of someone else affects your ability to do an activity (Zajonc, 1965). Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output. Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence (Bond & Titus, 1983).
- Make your partner fall in love with you. Exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal—sweaty hands, a racing pulse, shortness of breath. These symptoms mirror, in many ways, the thrill of romantic attraction. Interestingly, people can easily mistake the two and misattribute physical arousal for romantic attraction (Dutton & Aron, 1974). Use this phenomenon to your advantage by inviting your romantic interest to workout with you. The results? A likely boost to your attractiveness in his or her eyes.
- Help you achieve your fitness goals. When partners care about fitness—their own andtheir partner’s—it becomes easier to achieve fitness goals. Sharing in the ups and downs of a daily morning walk, a tough bike ride, or a strenuous Zumba class, can provide the perfect context for such comments.
- Increase your emotional bond. When you work out together, you create a context in which you can coordinate your actions. For example, you might lift weights in rhythm with your partner, match your own walking or running pace with his or hers, or toss medicine balls back and forth. Such behavior creates nonverbal matching, or mimicry, which benefits you both (Stel & Vonk, 2010). Nonverbal mimicry helps people feel emotionally attuned with one another, and those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of having “bonded” with their partner. Exercising together provides an opportunity to create such connection, benefiting both your health and your relationship.