I’ve always done my best to stay active, whether that means hitting the gym a few times a week, running before work, or enrolling in the occasional Soul Cycle class and it’s important to me that my partner does the same. Before meeting my current boyfriend I always preferred to work out alone but had no idea how exercising with a partner would bring us closer. Once my boyfriend and I began exercising together, our relationship drastically improved.
Working out is a new way of bonding.
My boyfriend and I were used to spending quality time over meals or while bingeing our latest Netflix obsession, but exercising together has increased and improved our bonding. We have more to talk about, a reason to try new things together (looking at you, racketball) and enough energy to do so.
We’re both in better moods.
It’s a no-brainer: exercise releases endorphins, which have many health benefits, not least of which is improving one’s mood. Previously, small annoyances would incite bigger arguments between my boyfriend and me that could have been avoided altogether had we been thinking clearly or gotten a better night’s sleep. No matter what kind of state my guy and I are in before we work out, we’re both much more relaxed afterward and sleep better as a result.
We’ve become more disciplined in other areas of our lives.
Prioritizing our health by working out has led to us eating better and going to bed earlier. Not only are my partner and I happier (see above), but we’re also more energized and better equipped to kill it at our respective jobs. Professional satisfaction breeds personal satisfaction and a whole hell of a lot less stress.
We trust each other more.
Pushing our bodies to the limit has taught us to be vulnerable and to have greater confidence in our own and the other’s capabilities. Simple actions like spotting each other at the gym or trusting the other to find his or her way on a new running or hiking route, have strengthened our relationship. Following through on physical commitments translates well to meeting relationship expectations.
We’ve developed and worked towards common goals.
A faster mile time, greater bench press weight, or pounds lost for our respective beach bodies: all of these are goals we share and strive for together. We can talk about our setbacks, establish a game plan, and visualize a goal together. It feels good to know that someone has my back and will hold me accountable for my success.
We’ve learned to motivate each other.
Let me tell you just how hard it is to run an 8-minute mile uphill while battling a cramp the size of Texas. It’s hard, but a lot easier when someone you love is cheering you on. Similarly, my boyfriend and I encourage each other to seize new opportunities, pursue our dream jobs, and succeed in all areas of our lives. We have become each other’s cheerleaders and biggest support system in and out of tennis shoes.
More stamina = greater sex.
Sometimes the difference between good sex and great sex is as simple as being in good shape. Cardio-centered workouts have increased our stamina in the bedroom, making sex last longer and feel better than ever. Not to mention working out has made us—well, me, at least—feel much more confident about stripping down than before.
The recovery is just as intimate as the workout itself.
Whether stretching at the end of a long run, massaging sore muscles, or lying on the couch in agony, recovering from a tough workout has been yet another way for my guy and me to spend time with one another. We’ve learned to care for the other’s body as well as our own and remind each other to take it easy when we’ve pushed ourselves too far.
Our dates have become more creative.
Now that we know we like to be—and are capable of being—active, our dates have changed to reflect that shared interest. We still eat out on occasion but have swapped restaurants for ropes courses, bike rides, and climbing walls. This has encouraged us to get out of town and explore new places—experiences that have definitely brought us closer together.
The couple that sweats together stays together.
I’ll be the first to admit that sweat grosses me out. I find nothing attractive about a sweat-soaked t-shirt and prefer to think that I’m the kind of girl who sparkles more than she sweats. I’m not. But I’ve become more comfortable feeling gross around my boyfriend (and vice versa) and realize just how important it is for couples to see and love each other at their grossest. This doesn’t mean I won’t immediately hop in the shower when we finish our workout, but I’ll no longer cringe at the thought of exchanging sweaty kisses.
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