If you have been in any shops recently you won’t have failed to notice the sea of red roses, chocolates, cards, and all other love related items signaling that ‘the day of love’, Valentines Day is just around the corner. Tomorrow, actually!
To celebrate the true meaning behind Valentines Day, (not just a commercial dream, but actually the celebration of Saint Valentine and the celebration of love and affection) I thought it would be a good time to talk about exercise and how training together with your significant other can strengthen your relationship.
You’ll all have heard the phrase ‘couples who train together, stay together’ banded around and whilst this might not be strictly true there are definitely advantages of training with your other half. A lot of my clients are couples who train together and it is an increasingly popular way to exercise. This doesn’t have to be just at the gym, it could be running together, stretching together at the end of the day, swimming together, or any exercise that you enjoy.
Similarly, it doesn’t have to be every time you exercise, logistically that probably isn’t possible for many people, but even just one session together a week would be beneficial.
Here are just a few of the positive impacts you can expect:
Exercising should be a fun experience, regardless of it being hard it is still time to yourself to better yourself and improve your health. It can be really fun to see how you progress, try new things and put yourself outside your comfort zone. Doing this together is twice the fun!
You find with exercising that you are constantly learning, and improving. Its great to be able to share this with your partner; you have someone to bounce ideas from, to help you, to learn with you and striving to improve. There are countless ways to exercise, and each discipline will have its own deeper set of exercises/techniques - so much to explore and unlimited ways to learn.
TIME TOGETHER/EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
This is obvious really, but you will be spending extra time together with your partner. You get to enjoy each other’s company and connect. Exercising together has also been proven to increase an emotional bond, benefitting both your health and your relationship.
There is a great format for working out together - the ‘You Go, I Go’ format. Essentially this means that whilst one person works, the other rests and vice versa. This means you get your workout time and your rest time, one person is always working. Great for weight training, but you can also use this format in lots of other exercises/sports, for example, if you’re out running ( e.g. one person runs ahead for 30 seconds sprinting, then swap as the other jogs for recovery)
A gym buddy is brilliant, not only to keep you company but also to help you (they can spot you if you’re doing weights, or count down the reps for you) and also to motivate you and to hold you accountable. This will mean you stay on track with a dedication to your goals. Most couples are also a little bit competitive so this incentivizes them to work even harder, think of it like showing off to your other half – in the nicest possible way!
We love a bit of time efficiency in our household, Jess and I often train together at weekends because we have such busy weeks that our weekends are really precious to us to spend time together as a family. By training together, we both get our workout done in 45 minutes and can then go and continue with our family day, rather than one of us going to the gym, workout out, driving home and swapping with the other – that could take a whole morning just for us both to exercise.
This also works really well in the evening if you prefer to workout after work (we can’t as we have the little ones who are usually in bed by 7pm!) as you can both get a workout in within an hour and then have the rest of the evening together to refuel and relax.
It would be quite unusual for two people in a relationship to be working at the same pace or ability levels. We all come in different shapes and sizes and people’s abilities will be different from others. This doesn’t matter however, as the beauty of working out together means you can follow the same programme but just adapt the weights/rest time/intensity to suit your ability.
For example - when Jess and I exercise together we tend to do the same exercises but hers will be lighter than mine. If there are certain exercises she isn’t able to perform completely (for example, a set of pull-ups) we will adapt it by using a resistance band for support, and so on. There are ways around everything and we can all work at different levels whilst performing the same session.
SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT
As part of your shared experience, you will also share a huge sense of achievement when either of you has a personal best, reach your goals, or even just when you have ticked off another session together. Remember that when you exercise your body releases endorphins, chemicals that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Enjoy this feel-good mood together - you will be happier!
I hope this has inspired some of you to give it a go, you could even hit the gym or go for a run together for a Valentine's Day date idea.
Happy Valentine's Day all!