Is Exercise Better than Counseling?

Most of us know the benefits of exercising for both the mind and body. Exercise helps improve our mood, lowers our stress level, and is important for physical fitness. However, there may also be additional benefits, especially if you exercise together as a couple. In fact, exercising as a couple is another way to help strengthen your relationship.

A Stronger Sense of Connection

There are several ways exercise creates a stronger sense of connection between you and your partner. For example:

  • Enjoyment of a shared activity. This means you’re not only doing something together but participating in an activity you both enjoy. Also, adding a certain level of challenge helps too!
  • Exercise benefits your cardiovascular system, builds muscle, and maintains flexibility. In addition, it contributes to a physiological arousal too. The elevated heart rate, increased respiratory rate, and a flood of endorphins all play a role.
  • Working out together contributes to overall satisfaction in the relationship. This is especially true if the activity is challenging.

Overall, exercising fosters a closer sense of connection, both physically and mentally.

Creating Motivation

Another way exercise benefits relationships is by providing motivation. When exercising, your partner can help you with sticking to your workout routine, as well as create fitness goals. In fact, researchers who studied heterosexual couples found that men who were average-weight worked out more when their wives offered encouragement.

Working Out and Your Sex Life

As mentioned earlier, the physiological benefits of exercise contribute to physical arousal. While working out, couples may experience increased sexual arousal and  mutual attraction. Also,the emotional bond between partners increases as a result of the shared experience.

Get Outside to Strengthen Your Relationship

Now, imagine combining the advantages of exercising together with being outside.  Participating in vigorous physical activity outdoors can:

  • require just as much physiological benefit as working out indoors.
  • present an opportunity to accomplish something challenging together
  • mean trusting your partner. For activities that require technical skill or risk like rock climbing, couples not only need to work together, they rely on each other for their safety. 
  • help you get away from electronic distractions. You can focus on each other and be fully present, something that can’t even happen at the gym.
  • encourage participation in outdoor activities, leading you and your partner create memorable experiences that strengthen your emotional bonds.

One Warning for Exercising as a Couple

There is one thing that could actually be harmful to your relationship: situations in which one partner has more skill or expertise in a particular activity than the other.

For instance, let’s say you both decide you want to go skiing as a couple. Great! That’s a fun physical activity for you both to experience together. However, if one of you wants to ski black diamond slopes and the other wants to stick to the easy green runs, that can be a problem. Your goals aren’t aligned as your skill levels are widely different.

There are three different options here:

1. Ski different runs, which would satisfy the need to ski, but is not helpful to the relationship.

2. The more experienced skier decides to ski the easier run with the other partner. This can actually show you are willing to compromise!  

3. Try a new sport together. That way, both of you are at the same level of learning. You can grow together while enjoying a new activity as a couple.

Overall, working out together can have many benefits for couples looking to create stronger emotional bonds as well as increase their physical health. Exercising outdoors is beneficial too. Although it may not eliminate couples counseling altogether, exercising is a helpful way for couples to build trust, work together, and communicate. These achievements are, of course, important qualities for any successful relationship!

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