Exercise is like a magic cure-all. It can help you maintain a healthy weight; sleep better; improve your strength, energy and endurance; relieve stress and anxiety; and reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. So, if exercise can do all that, why is it that two out of three of us don’t get nearly enough or any at all?
Lack of time, motivation and enjoyment are among the top reasons people don’t exercise. One way to get around those barriers is to recruit someone to work out with you, someone to motivate you to make time in your schedule, cheer you through periods of waning energy, challenge you to improve and, simply put, make it fun! Studies show that people who have the support of a fitness partner exercise more. You’d think twice about skipping your early morning jog if you knew someone was waiting for you at the park. Socializing makes any activity more enjoyable, and a buddy can make trying new things like joining a gym, exploring a hiking trail or taking that Tae Bo class less intimidating.
For many women, a natural choice is their spouse. Getting fit and healthy with your loved one means you can spend more quality time together, deepen your relationship and intimacy and help ensure you really will grow old together.
Your first step is to sit down with your calendars and determine when you can get together. It may not be realistic to meet up for every workout, but schedule a shared workout at least once or twice a week, even if it’s just for a walk around the neighborhood. Next, decide what you’re going to do. Joining a gym or taking classes together is a great way to get into the fitness habit. In your quest to find activities you both like, keep an open mind and explore each other’s interests. Has your man been trying to get you to take up golf? Eager for him to chill and try yoga? Encourage each other and work as a team. Don’t push your other half beyond his capabilities or allow competitiveness to cause a rift in your relationship.
Try some of these ideas to keep you and your spouse in shape:
- Plan an immediate reward.If you can’t get your mate to start moving, find local events to attend together that make a perfect excuse to get out for a walk, such as a music festival in the park or a church carnival.
- Forgo passive Friday night dates.Instead of dinner and a movie, head to the roller rink or dance hall and boogie the night away.
- Team up.Many communities have adult coed recreation teams, such as volleyball, softball, bowling or soccer. Find one you can both enjoy.
- Tap into your competitive edge.Enter competitions together, such as road races and tennis, bowling or golf tournaments. Many competitions have a “couples” category in which you compete as a two-person team.
- Book an adventurous vacation.Consider an invigorating holiday, such as skiing in the Rockies, sea kayaking in Hawaii, biking in the Pacific Northwest or trekking through the European countryside.
- Double date.Find another couple to join you for a weekly game of tennis or golf.
- Learn a new sport or activity together.When you’re both beginners, it eliminates the tension that can arise when one person is the expert and the other is the novice who’s doing it wrong. Consider trying tae kwon do, in-line skating or even dancing. Tango, anyone?
- Dive into the water world.When you think of heading to the beach, do you envision lying listless in the sand for hours? Water sports can be quite vigorous and tons more fun. Get off your towels and try surfing, snorkeling, windsurfing or sailing.
- Give the gift of fitness.Are you always at a loss for what to give your man for holiday and birthday presents? Think of all the cool sports gear you could give like hiking boots, in-line skates, a mountain bike, workout wear and more.
- Set ultimate goals.Completing a marathon or reaching the peak of a mountain might have seemed far-fetched at one time, but when you’re both working toward a common goal, anything is possible.
- Be charitable.Take part in fitness events for worthy causes important to both of you, such as WalkAmerica for the March of Dimes or Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.