Is Working Out Better Than Couples Therapy? Experts Weigh In

Even if you’re relationship is happy and healthy, there are still benefits to be gained from working out as a couple. Here are five reasons to start working out with your S.O.

It inspires camaraderie

“When you start working out together as a couple, you’re viewed as a go-to person for other outdoor, strenuous activities,” says relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, L.C.S.W. “When you’re sweating it out at the gym together, your partner is experiencing you as being strong and fit. Consequently, when they may want to try rock climbing or go paragliding, they naturally think of you. You two now find yourselves creating lots of meaningful memories, bonding over common passions and setting the tone for a fun, spicy relationship.”

You’ll feel more connected to each other

“Tossing a medicine ball to each other, lifting weights in time together, or matching your running pace with each other is called nonverbal matching,” explains professional counselor Crystal Bradshaw, licensed professional counselor. “This helps people feel emotionally connected with their partner, and thus they feel they have bonded with each other, because doing these activities requires a couple to create a context in which they must be present with each other mentally to coordinate the necessary moves. They have to be attuned to each other. Doing this helps people feel connected with each other, and when people experience that connection, they tend to report increased feelings of bonding. Exercising provides this opportunity.”

It enhances your sex life

“Nothing gets the sexual juices flowing then seeing your partner pushing themselves in a strenuous workout,” says Milrad. “Our primitive need for safety gets reinforced when we observe our alpha male/female demonstrating power, strength, and stamina, with sexy sweat pouring down their back. Feeling that your partner has the strength of a ‘protector’ results in an increase in your sexual attraction and desire towards them. And as you are marveling, you are experiencing all the the symptoms of physiological arousal—sweaty hands, a racing pulse, shortness of breath from your own workout.”

You’ll both feel more supported.

Not only are you more likely to stick to your workout regimen if you have a partner to motivate you, but psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert says that working out as a couple creates a layer of support that’ll help you both reach your fitness goals. “Working out as a couple provides an opportunity to bond over a common goal,” he explains, “which is getting and staying in shape. To that end, couples can serve as a source of support and motivation to each other.”

You’ll feel more confident (and less jealous).

“Working out releases certain hormones that can be invigorating, and lead to a feeling of confidence, and even sexiness,” Alpert explains. “Endorphins are produced in the brain and released during exercise, and exercise also stimulates the production of dopamine, which can lead to increased feelings of pleasure. A high, almost. This plays a major role in mood. Feeling confident can help to safeguard someone from feelings of jealousy that can often exist in a relationship. When feeling good about oneself, it will help to limit comparing yourself to others and any feelings of inadequacy.”


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