Couples Therapy: Sweat it out!

Couples Therapy: Sweat it out!

We all know regular exercise has many mental and physical benefits. A regular exercise program can help decrease your risk of many cardiovascular diseases, help manage type 2 diabetes, arthritis and even prevent against a stroke or protect against falls. But did you also know that regular exercise, when shared with your significant other or partner can also improve your relationship?

Staying healthy and fit can be challenging with our hectic schedules. Many couples are busy raising families, working long hours, and trying to squeeze in an exercise program to keep their body and mind healthy. With all the things that pull couples apart, health and fitness should not be one of them. Finding an exercise program that a couple can do together can have many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for the overall health of the relationship.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Certified Personal Trainer, Troy Gibson outlines a few of the physical benefits of working out as a couple:

  • Better chance of reaching individual fitness goals
  • Just having a workout partner increases your chance of reaching your fitness objectives. When you and your partner share a passion for fitness, it can transform an exercise program from an activity into a lifestyle.
  • Live longer, healthier lives together
  • Maximizing the time we have with our loved one is always important in a relationship, but maximizing the quality of that time by keeping our bones and muscles strong and healthy will enhance the physical and mental capabilities for both yourself and your significant other through the passing years.

Still not convinced? How about the mental and emotional benefits of working out together:

  • Increased confidence and decreased stress
  • Exercise helps produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, and improve our ability to sleep, decrease overall levels of tension, and also elevate and stabilize mood. When we exercise we feel better about ourselves, more confident and less stressed; in turn we show up healthier in our relationship and our daily interactions with our partner.  
  • Exercising together can increase intimacy and emotional connection
  • Coordinated actions can make you feel more connected as a couple. For example, when a couple matches each other’s running pace, lifts weights in rhythm or tosses a ball back and forth, nonverbal matching, or mimicry occurs (Stel & Vonk, 2010). Nonverbal mimicry helps couples feel emotionally attuned with one another and more connected. In addition, couples who workout together tend to have better sex lives because they feel better about themselves, more connected to their partner, and in turn more satisfied with their relationship.
  • Nurture the friendship
  • We all know friendship is a critical ingredient to a successful relationship. Sharing an exercise program with your significant other not only provides the benefits listed above, but it also nurtures the friendship that allows the couple to create meaningful memories, share new experiences and bond over common passions.

Lisa Chapin
Professional Therapist, MA, NCC, LPCC
Lisa is a trained professional therapist and Owner/CEO of Chapin Counseling Service LLC. Lisa enjoys working with individuals, families, and couples and specializes in addiction therapy. Lisa’s approach is down to earth and direct, yet compassionate and caring. Her treatment approaches are personal and based on sound scientific models of human behavior and established methods of psychotherapy. Lisa completed her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver. Lisa’s professional experience includes military intelligence, corporate business management, and acute community mental health care.