A recent study in America by Michigan State University shows that couples who set out to achieve something together, be it quitting smoking or going to the gym, are close to 100% more likely to achieve success than those who go it alone. The trend, it turns out, is universal.
With February being the month of love, more and more couples are looking for new ways to grow together. Research shows that foregoing the traditional candle-lit dinner for the gym can have some real, tangible benefits.
In a study undertaken by University College London, over 3000 couples and their habits were analysed. Those that went to the gym together were more likely to beat their unhealthy habits than those that didn’t. Furthermore, the research pointed towards a phenomenon called the ‘halo-effect’, a powerful placebo effect which made couples feel warmer towards one another.
According to Ivana Buchanan, National Fitness Manager at Zone Fitness, more and more couples are discovering the joys of fitness together. “We often see couples in our clubs together who report to feeling happier than ever. There’s a real sense that working out in tandem can improve a relationship.”
The reason is scientific. Exercise releases endorphins in your body, a happy-hormone that reduces stress and increases pleasure. The word is a shortening of “endogenous morphine”, so it’s no surprise exercise makes you feel so good. And this feel-good factor is amplified with your significant other at your side.
Make an entrance at the gym accompanied by your girlfriend or boyfriend and you’ll find yourself striving to hit new goals.
By having someone you care about next to you – a person that is ensuring that you stick to your goals and pushing yourself to your limits – you develop a greater sense of trust.
Moreover, exercising together evokes certain physiological responses, like an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath which, scientists say, mimics the symptoms of attraction, thereby ‘tricking’ our brains into a certain response.
Buchanan believes that the key is to stick to the same exercises together. “Some men prefer to lift weights while women typically like cardio. But the couples that can incorporate one another’s preferences into their own routine end up gaining the most from their workout.”
So, make sure you split your time in the gym evenly. Take the time do classes together, or teach your partner how to lift safely and effectively. Doing something new helps you learn more about each other and comes with the fun of spontaneity.
“Go to a gym that has a dedicated studio classes as well as sufficient weight training equipment. This will allow you to switch it up and keep things novel.” suggests Zone Fitness’ Buchanan.
Valentine’s Day might be a once-yearly occurrence, but now is the time to habits in motion that will last you well past February 14th. Couples exercise is a gift that keeps on giving and you’ll have something to do together that’ll keep you both looking and feeling fantastic.
Zone Fitness is a nationwide gym chain with 21 clubs throughout Cape Town and Johannesburg. The brand offers affordable fitness prices and was established in 2002.