Studies have shown that people work out longer and harder when they have a fitness buddy. The University of Oxford found that the endorphin release from activity is significantly greater in group training than in individual training. So who better to get that fitness high with than your special someone? Here are 8 ways you can stay in shape together.
There’s no need to go your separate ways at the gym. Your partner can be a spotter, making sure that your form is perfect and that you’re not taking on too much weight, and offer encouragement if you’re feeling tired. You can also try two-person exercises like medicine ball V-sits.
Stretch Your Limits – Partner yoga can strengthen both your practice and your relationship. Poses that are meant to be performed together, such as Double Downward-Facing Dog allow you to stretch more fully and deeply than you could on your own. But the poses also require trust, teamwork and communication.
Cardio is better with company, so go for a run together. “Set a destination, tie your shoelaces, and just go,” Borden says. Somewhere scenic is good. A route that has views and breakfast at the end is even better. If the great outdoors isn’t an option, head to the gym and hop on to two side-by-side treadmills. Keep the pace easy, so that both of you can comfortably maintain a conversation.
If running isn’t your thing, hiking is a great way for couples to spend time together at a more manageable pace. Whether you’re exploring a new trail or traveling down a familiar path, you’ll have more time to take in your surroundings and enjoy each other’s companionship. And the activity is for couples who have different fitness levels. “If one of you is thinking ‘this isn’t enough of a real workout for me,’ ” Borden says. “The more athletic of the two of you can put on a weighted vest, to add extra challenge.”
Do you and your honey have a competitive streak? Find two friends and try some doubles tennis. “Doubles teams are fun because you’re working together as a couple, to beat the other couple,” Borden says. Win or lose, you’re in it together.
A bike ride with your beau can be as challenging or as leisurely as you like, just make sure you commit to a route that is in line with both of your physical abilities. Cycling is a great cardiovascular workout without a ton of impact, meaning it’s a good way to work your heart without a lot of pounding to your body.
Traditional exercise isn’t the only way to get your heart rate up. For a fun workout that’s surprisingly challenging, try salsa dance lessons. “Salsa combines a physical activity with a romantic atmosphere,” says Craig Ballantyne, CSCS. “And when you take on a new activity, it stimulates dopamine, the brain’s pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter.”
Not all physical activity is meant to be demanding. In fact, rest is a key component of training, because your body gets stronger not during activity, but during your recovery from it. So set aside some time to take it easy together.
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