Whether you and your partner are trying to get in shape for your upcoming nuptials or are just looking for a healthy date idea, working out with your significant other has many benefits. “A couple that works out together stays together...and gets sexier together,” says personal trainer and author Joey Thurman. “Working out with someone literally gets your endorphins going and instantly bonds you in your shared goal to get healthy and sweaty.”
Meet the Expert
Joey Thurman is a certified personal trainer and the author of "365 Health and Fitness Hacks."
He’s right, and a study from JAMA Internal Medicine backs that up showing that when one partner decides to make a positive healthy change, such as start an exercise program, the other partner is more likely to do the same. Not only that, but working out with a partner, especially one that is more fit, will help motivate you to work harder by up to 24%, says another study.
The benefits don’t stop there, as exercising together is also a fabulous way to beat those pre (or post!) wedding nerves. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise releases the “feel good” neurotransmitters, called endorphins, which help decrease stress and improve your overall mood. In addition, regularly working up a sweat also increases your self-confidence, decreases anxiety, and even helps you sleep better.
Now that you are convinced as to why you should work out together, it is time to get inspired with 15 of the best workouts for couples. Whether you are into sports, weights, yoga (or a little bit of everything!) there are plenty of ideas to get you and your partner moving together.
It’s simple, requires no fancy equipment—and, most importantly, is effective.“ This is the most underrated partner workout as walking can literally increase your lifespan,'' says Thurman. “Getting outside in the sun can promote a regular circadian rhythm, metabolism, mood, and immune system health.”
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, however, if you are trying to reach a certain weight loss goal you may need to exercise more. If you and your partner want to challenge yourselves, look for a path with lots of hills and make sure your walking pace is brisk enough to get your heart pumping.
Crossfit builds muscle and improves endurance quickly as it is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Classes consist of a “workout of the day” (also called WOD) that includes exercises like weight lifting, squats, and box jumps. You will also use equipment including kettlebells and medicine balls. Each class features a new workout in which you perform a combination of exercises for a determined amount of time or a specific number of reps. You and your partner will love the team atmosphere which encourages you to push yourself to work hard. Crossfit is great for couples who want a high-energy workout in a group session that gets results fast. Make sure you keep an eye on each other’s form, especially as you get fatigued, to avoid injuries.
Tennis is a great choice for couples who need some competition as motivation to exercise. Plus, the fact that your score can literally be “love,” is icing on the cake. “You get to socialize while not realizing you are working out,” says Thurman of team sports. Tennis doesn’t require much equipment, just a racket, and tennis balls, and is a great way to build up strength in your arms, legs, and core, while also working up a sweat. Don’t forget the sweatband!
Did you think yoga was a solitary exercise? Think again! Pilates and yoga instructor Dasha Einhorn, NASM-CPT, says that partner yoga is an opportunity to connect, support, and deepen relationships. “Yoga with a partner is a low-intensity activity that can improve balance, concentration, focus, and flexibility,” she says. “It requires a certain level of trust and provides emotional connection and provides quality time together.” Einhorn says yoga with a buddy also helps with deepening stretches and offers physical support as you can use your partner’s body as a prop. “Simply breathing together at the beginning of the class or laying in Shavasana with a partner is an opportunity to tune in with one another and release emotions on a deeper level and bring focus back to each other,” she explains.
Dancing together improves coordination, balance, flexibility, and stability — not to mention is a great way to impress your friends and family, especially for that first dance at the wedding! Popular dance class options include ballroom dancing, such as the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, or Latin dances like the ChaCha, Mambo, or Salsa. Grab your dancing shoes (and your partner!) and have fun learning a new skill while also getting a workout.
“Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a big hill!” says Thurman. “Doing sprints up a hill together can be a fun way to have some friendly competition, increase your fitness level and get those legs and booty carved out.” Lace-up your running shoes and start with two or three hill sprints at 12-15 seconds each, working your way up to 10 sprints. You will sprint up the hill and then walk down the hill to allow recovery time in between sets.
Stand Up Paddleboard
If you live near a body of water, a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) is a fun and challenging workout for couples. Each person will have their own longboard and a single-bladed paddle to help move and steer you along. You can start by sitting on the board and then progress to standing as you feel comfortable. SUP is a total body workout, as it targets your arms, back, core, and even legs. In addition, it works your balance and coordination—but it is so much fun you may not even notice!
You and your partner can work on your strength and flexibility by taking a pilates class together which utilizes the Reformer machine for an amazing total body workout. You can also do mat pilates, which require no fancy machines and can be done at home. “Doing pilates with a partner improves strength and mobility by using one partner’s body weight,” says Einhorn. She says that this type of workout also provides healthy competition, accountability, and motivation, as well as helps with proper alignment and body positioning. “It offers sensory feedback for better posture,” she explains.
For those couples that want to learn a new skill while getting in shape, golfing is one of those activities that can be enjoyed together, regardless of your age. Golf strengthens your upper body (shoulders, back, and grip strength!) as well as improving your flexibility and core strength. Ditch the golf cart and carry your bag for a cardiovascular workout that also engages your lower body. You will love being outside on the beautiful golf course while also burning calories with your significant other. Don’t worry, keeping score is optional!
Whether it is in an indoor rock wall or you are outside scaling a rock formation together, rock climbing will challenge you in every way possible. You and your partner will learn to communicate and support each other as you work your way up, while also getting a total body workout. Rock climbing not only strengthens your muscles but improves coordination and agility. You will be surprised how much bonding you can do with this adrenaline-pumping workout!
Online Fitness Classes
If you and your partner get bored easily and like to mix up your workouts, consider online fitness classes. You may be surprised to learn all the classes available to take online, which vary in length from just 10 or 15 minutes to an hour or longer. From traditional classes like HIIT, weight lifting, and yoga, to classes like Ballet Beautiful barre class and Yogalates (yoga and pilates hybrid) try out several classes to find what suits you and your partner the best.
For those couples that crave some action with their workouts, surfing is the ultimate total body workout. The only downside is that living near an ocean (or being near one while on vacation) is a prerequisite. Grab your surfboards and your partner and get ready to work your arms, legs, core, and balance. In between sets, enjoy the beauty of the water as you sit on your board (still working your core!) and bond with your partner.
Cycling works your lower body and cardiovascular system while also being easy on your joints, which is a plus if you have lower body injuries or arthritis. You and your partner can mix up your bike paths, challenging yourselves with steeper hills and increasing the speed and intensity. When the weather is bad, take it inside with a stationary bike which allows you to control the resistance to really sculpt and strengthen your lower body.
“Whether you are hitting the weights at a gym together or bodyweight at home, you need to resistance train,” says Thurman. Lifting weights not only builds muscle but also strengthens your bones as well. It doesn’t have to be boring either. He recommends mixing it with medicine ball passes, alternating push-ups, or a partner wall squat, where you hold each other up with your backs against each other.
A kickboxing class can help work off some pre-wedding nerves while also building and toning muscle. If you have a home gym, a punching bag and gloves are required. Gyms that offer kickboxing classes often provide gloves, but you can also bring your own. You and your partner can encourage each other while holding the punching bag—just get ready to dodge any errant kicks or jabs!