It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away. Usually about this time of year I get questions about the benefits of working out together from married couples and couples in a relationship. It's a Catch-22 because couples often feel that exercise time is their "alone time" — a time to meditate and clear their minds, burn calories, and even workout with friends they don't see outside of exercise.
The problem, as many of you can attest, is that if you have a busy lifestyle with work, children, and other obligations, your quality time with your mate can be limited and sometimes pushed aside. For that reason working out together is important, and you should make time to do it. And, here's the bonus, it's a lot of fun! Imagine taking a break from your normal routine and working out with your mate.
Here are some sample workouts:
• The two of you sign up for a great cardio conditioning class like Spinning, Bootcamp, Core Conditioning, or even Zumba. Some routines in these classes require a partner. The two of you would take turns playing different roles in the exercise, burning calories, de-stressing, and laughing through the pain.
• Another one is circuit training. Partners can take turns doing two exercises, or working on two different machines at a time. At the end of your set you switch to the other exercise or machine and you continue this, alternating exercises and machines, for 20 to 30 minutes with very limited rest, forcing both of you to push yourselves and each other, burn calories, strength train, and get a fantastic workout in the process.
• A final example is playing a sport like basketball or racquetball. Both of these sports are competitive and great conditioning exercise regimens. They require skill, focus, agility, and of course trash talk. There's no written rule that a game of b-ball has to strictly be with friends.
As a trainer, I've had my share of trying all of these ideas with partners, and it really was some of the best times I've ever experienced. If you have not tried working out with your significant other, do it!
I touched on the benefits of working out with mates, but outside of quality time, what else is there? How about creating a deeper bond? The fact that exercise increases endorphins in our brains that bring on feelings of euphoria and a stronger libido just strengthens the bond that two people share. There's also motivation. Outside of a personal trainer or coach, who better to lift your spirit and encourage you than your mate? And besides these things, there's also safety. Watching each other's form and spotting each other on particular exercises will both avoid possible injuries and improve your training.
Page 2 of 2 - The last thing I'll point out as a benefit is "respect." Taking care of our bodies and our health is a big deal. Doing that with the one person who wants to spend time with you for many years to come shows them how much you care about their well being. Roses come and go. Good health can guarantee a lifetime of shared memories.
One of my favorite sayings about couples is "Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." What better direction than your health and making it and each other a priority in your lives.
Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, a BLS CPR instructor, and a fitness model. He can be reached at www.michaelroyshaw.com.