You’ve seen them before: that married couple that looks so in love and connected they seem more like honeymooners than people who have listened to each other snore for over a decade. The secret to that crazy-in-love vibe they’re giving off could be that they’re getting physical—and we don’t mean in the bedroom. As it turns out, working out with your significant other can provide HUGE benefits to your relationship, from increased quality time to better sex. Read on to discover seven reasons why the couple that works out together, stays together.
1. Guaranteed Quality Time
When life, jobs, and kids get in the way, it can be hard to carve out alone time for you and your partner. We often have the best of intentions when it comes to “date nights,” but sometimes even those can get put off if you have to work late or something unexpected comes up. However, if you’re prioritizing your workouts, you probably already have them built into your schedule as “appointments” with yourself you can’t break. So if you’re already making time in your day to work out, why not do it together? Exercising together means built-in quality time during the day, and more quality time helps keep your relationship healthy.
2. Better Sex Life
As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, defending an aerobics instructor who’s on trial for murder: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make people happy! Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” Ha! It may sound silly, but she has a point. Feeling happier is a natural byproduct of exercise due to the feel-good chemicals (endorphins) that it helps you release. The release of endorphins also helps ramp up your sex drive, so not only will working out together make you happier, but it will up your desire. In addition, working out boosts your self-confidence and can help you get in touch with your body: two more things that translate to increased arousal and better sex!
3. Healthy Competition
Feeling like the spark of your relationship could use some reigniting? A little healthy competition can bring the playfulness back into your relationship. Often between bills, child-rearing, and obligations, we forget the playful, flirtatious behavior that helps us bond with our partner. But working out together can bring that back in the form of some friendly competition! Challenge your partner to a mini race or see who can finish a circuit workout first. See who can do the most squats or burpees. It not only keeps your workout interesting, but your relationship interesting, too!
4. Trying Something New Brings You Together
Trying something new together can bring you infitnely closer as a couple. Whether it’s cross-country skiing, yoga, surfing, or tackling a HIIT class together, trying something for the first time together is an amazing way to bond. This is because new experiences flood your brain with dopamine, a feel-good chemical—and when you experience those things with your partner, your brain links that positive feeling with him or her.
5. Built-In Accountability
People who are held accountable for their workout routine are more likely to be successful. And who better to hold you accountable than the person who knows you best? When you only have to answer to yourself, you’re more likely to skip a workout if you’re having a bad day or not feeling motivated. But letting your partner motivate you and keep you accountable—and vice versa—can bring you closer and ensure you get a killer workout in. A study in Prevention Magazine found that 94% of couples stuck to their workout plan when they did it together. Motivate each other and encourage each other and you’ll feel more positive about your workouts and your partner.
6. A Shared Goal Brings You Closer
There’s a quote from The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that says “love it not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” What a perfect metaphor for how having similar goals can bring you closer. Sure, we wouldn’t want our partners to be exactly like us, and every couple has disagreements. We all change and grow over time, too. But one way to really make your relationship healthy is to have a shared goal or activity. When you workout together, you’re both sharing the goal of getting healthy and prioritizing your fitness. The experience of being on the same page about something big brings you infinitely closer.
7. Deepens Your Emotional Bond
Psychologists found that one way to feel like you’re bonding with your partner is to practice nonverbal mimicry. Nonverbal mimicry or “matching” is when you coordinate your actions with another person; think lifting weights at the same time, matching your running or walking pace with theirs, or dancing to the same beat. Working out together provides tons of opportunities for nonverbal mimicry, helping you and your partner feel more emotionally attuned with one another.