Psychiatry & Exercise: Maintaining Sanity While Working Out With A Significant Other

 

While numerous articles and experts are recommending finding a workout buddy to achieve those fitness inspiration goals, just in time for summer, there are some instances where having a gym buddy becomes troublesome. According to research, for couples and those in a relationship, the most logical option for a gym partner is their significant other, spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.

Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, said, “When you start working out together as a couple, you’re viewed as a go-to person for other outdoor, strenuous activities.”

study published by Annals of Behavior Medicine revealed that exercising with a partner can double your performance. Another study conducted by Indiana University revealed that performing physical fitness with a spouse or partner will help you stay with the workout plan, with only 8 percent of the participants with exercise buddy quitting in comparison to 50 percent of participants who exercise without their partners or spouses.

 

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“Exercise helps produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, and improve our ability to sleep, decrease overall levels of tension, and also elevate and stabilize mood,” wrote Lisa Chapin, MA, NCC, LPCC. “When we exercise we feel better about ourselves, more confident and less stressed; in turn we show up healthier in our relationship and our daily interactions with our partner.”

In psychiatry and general medicine, exercise is proven beneficial for the mind and body.  The statistics are very significant and an excellent motivation to highly consider working together.

“Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output,” wrote Theresa DiDonato, Ph.D. “Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence.”

For some individuals who are used to exercise alone, exercising with a spouse can be difficult for them, more so if they have instilled in their minds that exercising is tagged as “me” time. For others, gym time is an emotional experience for them and would highly doubt that working out together would be beneficial for their relationship or that of the gym environment. Before taking the plunge and signing up for gym membership together or training for a marathon together, go over ground rules for working out together to avoid unnecessary quarrels and fights. 

 

Don’t Be A Personal Trainer 

Showing support and assistance to workouts you are familiar with is helpful but be cautious of the fine line between being supportive and being a know-it-all. Don’t be highly critical of his/her form and progression. Don’t be too naggy and guise into a personal trainer persona.  

 

Be Open-Minded In Trying Out New Workouts  

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Before, you and your partner work out separately because you both have a different preference in your workout. He likes the CrossFit, and she adores yoga. How do you find a middle ground where your individual choice is not compromised? Well, compromise is necessary to make it work, and both individuals should make a sacrifice. For instance, if your boyfriend loves Cross Fit and biking, and you haven’t tried this before, then maybe it is an excellent time to try these activities. You trying out his regimen might also prompt him to finally say yes to the yoga class you’re harassing him about.  

 

Planning Is Still Necessary  

Frequently, disappointments and fights stem out from unmet expectations. It is essential to plan workouts and to talk about it beforehand. For example, you and your partner showed up in the gym with different workouts in mind. He wanted to lift weights, and you wanted to talk while doing the treadmill. You and your partner both have expectations. When there are unexpected and forced changes in the scenario, frustration and disappointments come out. To prevent this unnecessary drama, talk it out before coming to the gym.  

 

Be Kind  

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Don’t criticize or tease someone if they can’t keep up or are unable to perform certain poses. Nobody wants an exercise buddy who gives out hurtful comments or body shaming or saying unpleasant remarks in the guise of humor most especially coming from a partner or spouse.