The couple that trains together stays together, or so it seems according to recent research funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute on Ageing.
Scientists at UCL (University College London) addressed the issues of becoming more active and living a healthier lifestyle and how this was affected by behaviour within relationships. The study which looked at 3,722 couples, found that partners were more likely to make positive health changes if their spouse joined in. Both men and women alike found it easier to stay active and committed to an exercise routine if they were doing it with their partner. But this isn’t surprising, as lab studies have shown that when couples work out together they report feeling happier and more in love. By sharing fitness goals they become aroused in a physiological sense and this makes the couple unified and motivated to reach their specific target. Interestingly, when we work out with someone else we tend to mimic their moves and match their pace. This kind of copy cat behaviour helps us form an emotional bond with that person, so training together could actually help you fall deeper in love. Not only that, but the presence of someone else encourages you to do your best and improve all aspects of your performance, particularly if that person is your other half. There’s a healthy sense of competition but also an innate need to impress and make the other partner feel proud of your achievements. So it makes sense that having them there to cheer you on could be a good thing.
But do you really want the object of your affection to witness the hot, sweaty bedraggled stages of your workout? If, like me, you look like a tomato that’s been left out in the rain by the time you’ve finished, it might not seem like the best idea. Not only that, but I’d prefer to avoid my partner seeing me stumble through an exercise class, or try to master some of the high-tech equipment at the gym.
I think this would interfere with my performance and focus, thus turning me into a gibbering wreck. If you feel the same, then it might be best to reach a level of competence before inviting your partner to join you. Then you can wow them with your moves! But the benefits of staying fit together are clear and the study by UCL suggests that you’re more likely to succeed if you get your partner on board. The key is in choosing the right type of joint exercise, like signing up for a race and training together, or going for regular walks and bike rides. That way you can challenge and encourage each other, whilst enjoying the experience and their company!