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Partner Up for a Better Workout

Got a significant other? If so, you might want to try working out together. Research shows that exercising with a partner can benefit your workout and your relationship. Here’s how.

Sticking with It

When you’re feeling unmotivated, who better to encourage you to work out than your sweetie? He or she knows just what to say to get you off the sofa and into your workout. “Couples can support one another’s workout goals and habits,” says Theresa DiDonato, Associate Professor of Psychology at Loyola University in Maryland. One study showed that 70 percent of couples that work out together stick with it. So consider making a pact with your partner to stick to your goals, and be sure to include specifics about how you will motivate one another. DiDonato points out one caveat: “Individuals do best when they take ownership of their own workout plans, rather than outsourcing that responsibility to a partner.”

One study showed that 70 percent of couples that work out together stick with it.

Revving Up the Passion

Remember those bodily sensations when you and your partner first fell in love? Well, research shows that exercise promotes the same kind of physiological arousal—shortness of breath and increased heart rate, for example. So when couples work out together, “that arousal corresponds with feelings of love and romantic attraction. Thus, exercising together can be doubly useful: it can help improve fitness and relationship quality,” says DiDonato.

Boost Performance

Whether it’s cycling, hiking or swimming, exercising with a partner tends to enhance performance. “The mere presence of a partner can boost workout efficiency,” says DiDonato. Whenever people engage in activities that they're good at (e.g., running) with a partner, they tend to perform exceptionally well. This can occur for couples who are exercising together.” It seems couples never want to stop impressing one another!