With romance in the air this month, chocolates and flowers and candlelit dinners are sure to be on the agenda, but how about adding in some fun ways of keeping fit together? Being physically active is good for our health, self-confidence and sex lives. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s feel-good chemicals – energising mind, body and spirit and leaving us with a sense of accomplishment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share all that with your partner?
Trying to keep fit is challenging for many of us, and loss of motivation often causes us to fall off the wagon. Studies indicate that the buddy system is effective in keeping motivation up, so what could be better than to have your significant other by your side?
And best of all for your relationship, couples who have fun together tend to stay together! Consider your current physical fitness levels and your athletic backgrounds, and choose something to do together that you’ll both enjoy.
Fitness walking gives a full-body workout that’ll really get your heart rate up and work every major muscle group in your legs. To add some resistance to your walk, climb some hills. Warm up by starting off walking for 5 to 10 minutes with some light full-body stretching, then do a minimum of 20 minutes’ power walking, followed by some stretching. Try to walk at least four times a week, and vary your route to keep it interesting.
Low-impact exercise like cycling is a great way for people who live mostly sedentary lives to get started on getting fit. Cycling is a fantastic workout for the entire body, helping you develop muscle tone in your legs, buttocks and hips while trimming your waist and increasing your cardiovascular health. It can also reduce cholesterol and help lower blood pressure and stress levels. Make sure your bikes are in good working order, and choose a paved cycling path if possible. If you have mountain bikes, find some trails and do hill repeats and climbs.
Dancing – especially vigorous dancing such as salsa, jive and ballroom – helps the circulatory system and builds strength, stamina and endurance. The movement and muscle extension during a dance session provide a fun moderate workout – even if it’s just for an hour in your own living room with your favourite music several times a week.
Providing a wonderful cardiovascular workout while increasing flexibility and muscle strength and alignment, yoga also offers the psychological benefits of decreased stress and a better sense of self. Some disciplines of yoga are especially focused on couples exercising together, and you could consider either joining a class or using an instructional video or yoga practice book wherever you have room to stretch out at home. It’s important to select postures suitable for both of your levels of fitness and experience.
Tennis, badminton and squash, requiring speed, strength, and agility, are great for increasing muscle tone, strength and flexibility. You can play singles or doubles, depending on how much exercise you want to get and whether you’re feeling competitive or co-operative! The games all involve starts and stops with short periods of energy and short periods of rest and it’s important to do a good full-body warm-up before playing, and some stretches afterwards.
An active sport comprising punches and combat fighting moves, boxing is an all-round workout with fun and flair. It strengthens and works the core muscles in the abdomen by using balance and strength; the leg muscles through kicks and stances; the arm muscles in punching and jabbing; and most of the other muscles in your body through the skipping and dodging movements. You can box with your partner, or side-by-side with punching bags; at home or in a gym.
Studies show that couples who share in physical activities together have a healthier relationship, staying in shape and staying in love. Add fun to the mix, and the sky’s the limit!
Image: Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock.com
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