Couple Workout Can Be An Alternative To Marriage Counseling

 

Do you often see couples looking so in love? It’s quite fascinating how they maintain their relationship despite the years passing. After all, it is a common fact that the honeymoon stage weans and plateaus into the ordinary course of everyday life. Experts believe that one of the secrets to a successful marriage or relationship is doing something together or sharing a particular interest or hobby.

The best example of this is working out or exercising together. The benefits of physical fitness are already highly emphasized and backed up by countless recommendations and research, but by doing it along with a partner or spouse, the synergistic effect is impressive.

Lisa Chapin, MA, NCC, LPCC, wrote, “With all the things that pull couples apart, health and fitness should not be one of them. Finding an exercise program that a couple can do together can have many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for the overall health of the relationship.

BetterHelp counselors have also compiled their observations on couples who work out together. The results were very promising in terms of maintaining a happy and contented relationship. 

 

Hitting Two Birds With One Stone 

Juggling marriage life is no easy feat despite how good you are in prioritizing and managing time. Allotting date nights every week is easier said than done. Working out together is a productive timesaver since it addresses the daily amount of suggested exercise as well as spending quality time with your partner.

These routine activities might sound trivial in sustaining a marriage but in the long run, the consistency and the time spent will result to good memories and a strong foundation for the relationship and might even spare you from going to marriage counseling.

“When you’re sweating it out at the gym together, your partner is experiencing you as being strong and fit. Consequently, when they may want to try rock climbing or go paragliding, they naturally think of you,” said Rhonda Milrad, LCSW. “You two now find yourselves creating lots of meaningful memories, bonding over common passions and setting the tone for a fun, spicy relationship.”

More Fun With Sex 

When you exercise, the body releases the happy hormone called endorphins. And the good news about endorphins is that they are responsible for boosting one’s sex drive. It is the body’s natural narcotic, and the euphoric rush felt during a workout can also promote an increase in sex drive and self-confidence.  

So, you do the math and let us know if we are not telling the truth. 

Having A Friend And A Competitor 

Are you starting to feel the sparks dwindling? Do you think that your relationship needs a tad bit excitement? Are your daily lives starting to feel monotonous? A healthy challenge for you and your partner can add playfulness and healthy competition in your relationship. With the demands of handling career and the household, it is common to feel that you are changing both as a person and as a couple.

Being playful and flirtatious would be the last thing on your mind. This can be remedied by trying a sport together or working out under the environment of friendly competition. Challenge your spouse to a sprint race or who gets the fastest time in the circuit workout. Make sure that there is a prize or incentive just to spice things up!

Accountable To Your Partner 

“When partners care about fitness—their own and their partner’s—it becomes easier to achieve fitness goals,” wrote Theresa DiDonato Ph.D.

Experts say that exercising with a buddy or partner often leads to successful goals. This is because someone is looking out for you concerning your workout sessions. Somebody will call you out when you are unmotivated on your workout or somebody will confront you when you are skipping gym nights for Netflix. A study done by Prevention Magazine concluded that 94% of couples who work out together stuck to their workout plan. Make your partner accountable and vice versa. 

Every relationship has its flaws. It’s not all summer time and spring fever for the two of you. The point of doing things together as a couple from time to time will allow each other to feel and stay connected while staying healthy. You both have a purpose of ensuring that you not only feel physically healthy but also achieve a mental wellness of having a stable and happy relationship. 

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.

 

“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 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  

Before, you and your partner work out separately because you both have a different preference in your workout. He likes 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 or try online counseling through BetterHelp together.

 

Be Kind  

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. 

Feeling Brokenhearted? Try Exercising

 

Feeling broken-hearted after a breakup or at worst after being friend zoned is such a tremendous emotional pain to some individuals. It will leave you feeling lifeless and unwanted, as doubt starts to take over leaving questions if you deserve to be hurt after all. Your insecurities will also start to come out one by one, and this could sometimes lead to isolation, dragging your whole body to stay in bed and do nothing because you think that no matter what you do, you are still broken hearted.

“When your brain conceptualizes that your partner is no longer with you, grief sets in,” said therapist Travis McNulty, LMHC. “Your mind no longer releases the feel-good chemicals (oxytocin and dopamine) that it once released every time you saw this person.”

 

Version 2.0 of Yourself 

I also had my fair share of the excruciating pain of a breakup, wherein I got depressed to the point of telling myself that I am not that good looking enough to be loved by someone or maybe weighing 60 kilos is not lovable at all. Total self-destructive thoughts made me feel so low, and at the same time frustrated. Despite the pain, I have no one to vent out my feelings with. During that time, all I know was I needed to have an outlet for the pain I was dealing with because anytime soon I could reach my breaking point.   

“Stressful life events, like a break-up, produce a variety of depressive-like symptoms that can be difficult to manage,” said Theresa DiDonato, Ph.D. “While exercise may do little to curb your feelings of stress, the physical activity may buffer your depressive symptoms—an important step towards recovery.”

Then I started doing some exercise routine as my catharsis. I started doing morning runs from a lame 1-kilometer to an overwhelming 10-kilometers run at least three times a week. Surprisingly, day by day I felt better as I started to see my old self slowly coming back to life. I began to lose weight and felt lighter. I was happy with the result of my morning runs.

Licensed counselor and professor Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., wrote, “The best way to stop dwelling on heartache is to throw yourself into activities that keep you busy and engaged in the world. Research shows that one of the best self-help treatments for depression is physical exercise. Exercise produces endorphins and serotonin, which both promote a positive outlook.”

While engrossed in my running, I realized that I shouldn’t be doing such a thing because I was trying to let go of the pain. Instead, I should be doing that for myself. It was a blessing in disguise that this break up occurred because I have come to realize that I should love myself even more. That time, all I know was that I need to lose weight to improve my appearance and retaliation for getting hurt. However, I was wrong. I realized that I should be doing this for myself, and not for anyone else. I thought I was healing my heart, but I was recovering and giving myself what it truly deserves, which is self-love and respect.  

It’s Only The Beginning 

Running has helped me feel better about myself, as soon as started losing weight; I tried learning Muay Thai and started to play badminton again. That made me feel happy because aside from losing 10kilos, my happiness got back in full swing. Also, I was no longer thinking of getting back to the person who broke my heart because I realized that I gained more than losing him.  

Making me whole again is more than enough. I am thankful that I did not give up on myself and gave myself a second chance. I am grateful that I turned into exercise than letting myself suffer in pain, which I do not deserve at all; because the value of my life is worth more than any pain that I might experience. Now, I am already backed in shape – physically and emotionally. I can finally say that I am a better version of myself because I chose to love myself instead of mending my broken heart. 

The Road To Fitness: Dancing Together As One Family

In a world where almost everything becomes instant because of technological advancement, we become too dependent on gadgets that usually lead to developing relationship gap within the family.  

 

One great example of this is the early exposure of children to gadget use, which affects the quality time that the family should have for each other. Children become more exposed to the trending fads instead of family customs and traditions, which affect the family relationship. This is evidently seen in the absence of quality time that the family should have, with children and even parents holding on to their smartphones and tablets all day. This is a challenge for the adults in the family that should be given attention to strengthen the family ties and stabilize relationships. 

Doing Things Together As One Family 

I was not spared from the effects of social media in our family, having an extended family set up makes it more difficult to maintain the bond that we had before the emergence of social media. Watching my nephews and nieces become dependent on their gadgets somehow concerns me a lot. They become more focused on playing with their devices than spending time with us. To address this issue, my siblings together with our parents discussed the matter at hand and resolved how to reduce the use of gadgets by their children slowly.  

As a result, we decided to let the kids experience life out of the context of their gadgets, and spend time with us for them to realize that nothing beats the fun and enjoyment they can have without using their digital toys. Since they are all hooked into watching music and dance videos, we decided to have our family exercise in the form of dancing to increase their enthusiasm to join the activity. Fortunately, we were able to make them participate in our simple family activity, which does not only lessen their use of gadgets but also provide quality time for the whole family. It was a joy to witness how dancing brought us all together; doing something that we all love to do is a great feeling, which I know is strengthening the foundation of our family, and at the same time making the kids feel that spending time with the family is more fun. 

Dancing Is A Form Of Exercise Too! 

Apart from the goal of spending time with family, our dancing activity became our form of exercise too, and doing this was useful because we were all able to keep a healthy and robust physique. We may not be able to visit the gym for a workout, but dancing with the whole family at least 1 to 2 hours a day is more than an exercise for us. Hitting three birds in a single shot is like teaching the kids to lessen their gadget time, doing what we love to do, and exercising to maintain a healthy body. Every dance exercise that we do together was enjoying; losing weight together and gaining strength as one family. 

In case simple activities don’t help you achieve your family goals, why don’t you try counseling? Start with online counseling (with BetterHelp perhaps) to get a feel of the process, and then consider group therapy so that everyone can participate. Good luck!

Workout Together to Work Things Out

Often, jealousy becomes a woman’s middle name. This may sound funny or a bit absurd, but this is the typical scenarios that we encounter every day. Jealousy, if appropriately managed, can bring a positive effect in a relationship. It spices up the relationship making couples realize how much they mean to each other. It is even sometimes used as a way of showing how much love you have for your partner. 

“Jealousy can highlight what you value–your relationship,” said psychologist and author Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD.

 

When Jealousy Gone Wrong 

When paranoia and insecurities get in the way of jealousy, it creates a dangerous relationship problem.

Robert L. Leahy, PhD, wrote, “Similar to other forms of worry, jealousy leads us to focus only on the negative. We interpret our partner’s behavior as reflecting a loss of interest in us or a growing interest in someone else.”

Case in point was the experience of my friend and her husband.  

Coming into their youth, they are both good looking. Our friends even call them as “fitness and relationship goals inspiration.” But their relationship went rock bottom when my friend gave birth, wherein her physical attributes of being slim and toned started to fade away. Pregnancy contributed many changes to her physical appearance that made her feel embarrassed about herself.

“Jealousy breeds doubt, and when doubt enters a relationship, insecurity often follows,” wrote Suzanne Degges-White, PhD.

She began to feel insecure and paranoid about her husband, thinking that he might no longer find her appealing because of her weight. The situation did not sit well with her. Instead of talking things out to her husband, she became suspicious of her husband that he might be seeing another woman, which eventually lead to endless arguments.

A Happy Wife is a Happy Life 

Despite the bizarre attitude of her wife, the husband tried to understand what’s going on with his wife. He knew that she might be having a difficult time adjusting to her post-pregnancy body that is why she feels bad about herself.  

Good thing, her husband was matured enough to tolerate her attitude and make sure about his wife jealous acts he intentionally allowed his wife to view all his social media accounts. He noticed and felt that his wife feels she is no longer likable.  

The husband felt terrible about it, so he decided to bring back the cheerful aura of his wife. He confronted his wife that he sees nothing wrong with her figure. An official and personal confirmation of love with no boundaries are all that matters.  

But to make sure that she will never feel insecure about her body, he told his wife that they would do work out together. At first, the wife took it negatively. For her, it just confirmed her belief that she indeed was fat and not pleasant to the eyes of her husband. Fortunately, he was able to appease the adverse reaction of his wife and later on agreed to exercise together.  

Since then, the wife started to regain her confidence and became more thoughtful towards her husband. She also began to enjoy motherhood and became more caring for their daughter. The husband felt happy about his decision to help her wife redeem her confidence through exercising, and this time with a gym-buddy-husband.  

After about two months, his wife started to lose weight significantly. Recognizing the significant changes, she thanked her husband for not giving up on her immaturity – instead, he has helped her overcome her emotional and physical insecurities. She enjoyed working out with her husband and never thought that this would be a significant activity for couples and a relationship goal as well. They both realized that doing exercise together is like overcoming the trials in their relationship as one. 

In case your marriage is on the rocks, and you are both not ready to see a counselor in person, you are always welcome to visit BetterHelp. Licensed therapists can answer any of your worries and help you resolve them so that you won’t need to resort to extreme measures ever.