Exercise Together

couple jogging

Assuming a husband and wife both routinely exercise — and that’s a big assumption in modern America — there’s something highly valuable about exercising together. Exercising with your spouse builds camaraderie as you cheer each other on, it gives you both an increased level of accountability, it offers an abundance of eye candy, and it makes for a convenient excuse to shower together, if possible.

Men and women often have distinct regimens thanks to their distinct goals. He wants to bulk up while she wants to trim down.

A Lack of Opportunities

Now, this isn’t always possible. Men and women often have distinct regimens thanks to their distinct goals. Often, he’s looking for big biceps and a chiseled chest but she’s looking for toned upper arms and smooth legs. He wants to bulk up while she wants to trim down. So, the routines will often be different.

And even in those cases where a couple has similar goals, the path they take to get there may vary enough that there’s not much overlap in their workout routines.

Making Opportunities

But distinct fitness routines can usually be tweaked to offer plenty of overlap. For almost all cross training, a person needs five components, regardless of his or her starting point or goals: (1) resistance training or weightlifting, (2) cardiopulmonary conditioning, (3) core/stability training, (4) flexibility training, and (5) sporting activities.

Resistance

Resistance training is hard to combine between genders because there’s often a large discrepancy between the couple’s needed resistance. He’s doing six reps of 225 while she’s doing twenty reps of 95, so they wouldn’t make very good workout partners.

Plus, he’s probably devoting a much more substantial portion of his routine to resistance than she is.

Cardio

Cardio often has the inverse problem. She gets her kicks losing herself on an elliptical or stair climber for hours at a time, whereas he gets bored after ten minutes.

Maybe twenty if he’s positioned behind her to enjoy her backside in tight shorts or pants.

He might do something intense like jumping rope or burpees, but she’s simply devoting far more time than he is and they’re doing different exercises. The potential for overlap is still limited.

Core/Stability

Core and stability training, however, is pretty much the same across gender lines.

Perhaps he includes a medicine ball to increase resistance on his crunches or back extensions, and maybe she planks for longer durations, but this often-neglected portion of cross training is easily overlooked as an opportunity for a couple to work out together, and maybe even challenge each other with your individual exercises.

Flexibility

Another often neglected — at least for men — routine is flexibility training. Most guys’ idea of stretching is a couple optional minutes before and/or after weightlifting. Few such men would see value in a dedicated static stretching routine because they see no value in flexibility. In fact, many men have read that flexibility training can actually cause marginal drops in overall strength for elite athletes when done before weightlifting, so they discredit it out-of-hand for that reason alone.

These men wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga, despite the countless studies linking it to injury prevention, reduced stress, and even a more fulfilling sex life (seriously). And let me say to those guys: you’re missing out.

Never mind the health benefits for you; you’ve managed to ignore those well enough so far. But what part of your wife bending and twisting in tight clothing (thank God for yoga pants) do you not get? She assumes a sexy position and is required to hold it for an extended position even if you pause to check her out. What are you waiting for?

Pick something like dancing you can do together. Go out, work up a sweat, have fun, and come home for a hot shower.

And maybe while you’re at it, you can do something for your health, too.

Sports

The last component is often also forgotten by both genders, but it’s the easiest to do together. Sports activities make for a broad category, but its health benefits are undeniable. The spontaneity and variability makes muscle adaptation tricky, improving overall conditioning and streamlining your neural system.

Sports are generally considered things that involve a ball, but there are lots of other options, too. Pick something like dancing you can do together. Go out, work up a sweat, have fun, and come home for a hot shower.

There are lots of options here, from swimming (guys: think swimsuits) to tennis (guys: think short skirts) to even football (guys: think celebrations that include butt slapping).

Time Together

The point is you should exercise together when you can. It’s fun. It builds intimacy, vulnerability, and confidence at the same time. And it can be downright sexy.

If one or both of you don’t exercise, there’s no better time to start. Maybe you start with sports and let it grow from there. You may find you’ll want to start doing some of the other components to improve your sports performance. I promise, you’ll be better off individually and as a couple for it.

And guys, one last word of advice. You’re not her high school coach. Leave the whistle and the drill sergeant attitude at the door unless she outright asks you for it. It’s difficult to build camaraderie when you tell her she’s a pansy if she can’t get one more rep. Just sayin’.

Originally posted 2015-05-15 08:00:32.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
About Phil (251 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.