Olympic runner Sanya Richards-Ross and her NFL star hubby, Aaron Ross, are as athletic a duo as it gets, but you don’t have to be a gold medalist and a Super Bowl champ to reap the benefits of being active as a couple.
“Couples who work out together tend to develop not only healthier bodies, but healthier minds and inevitably healthier relationships and increased intimacy,” says Sylvia Nasser, personal trainer and founder of online fitness company for women TheFitFem.com. “With the support of each other couples can reach their fitness goals faster, which in turn creates a deeper bond between them.”
Other perks? Exercise produces happy, stress relieving hormone serotonin in the brain, and also increases attractiveness, libido and arousal, Nasser says. Plus, it gives couples a common interest, opens up opportunities for new activities and can add a new level of respect between partners as they reach new heights in their fitness goals.
“And, a little healthy fitness competition between partners never hurt anyone,” Nasser adds.
So grab your man and try one of these workouts she recommends for couples—or go for all three. Date night doldrums solved.
1. Join a race. Instead of running on a treadmill or elliptical, enjoy the outdoors and get involved in some healthy competition via races. Sign up for a 5K, then a 10K, and then a half or full marathon, or better yet, a triathlon. “What’s great about this is couples can really bond over working towards a common goal, that is getting ready for a race and training together,” Nasser says.
2. Kickboxing. Sometimes couples need to let out some steam, and it’s one hell of a way to avoid real fights. “Kickboxing is great cardio and total body strengthening all in one training session,” Nasser says. “One person can hold the punching pads while the other person completes sequences of kicks and punches.”
3. Partner Tabata. Tabata is 20 seconds worth of work followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated eight times. You can choose any exercise or sequences of exercises utilizing cardio and/or strength to make this effective. A total round of Tabata is only four minutes long. You can make this as short or as long of a session you want, ideally combining five different Tabata sequences for a 20-minute workout. “This can be done anywhere and anytime,” Nasser says. “We all know how pressed for time couples are, especially during wedding planning—it’s a great workout filled with intensity and actually gets results.”
Sample partner medicine ball Tabata 20 minute workout:
i. Partner medicine ball throws with a squat: Stand a few feet apart. One person squats then throws the ball to the other person. Complete eight times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
ii. Partner medicine ball plank passes: Get into plank position right next to each other. One person passes the ball from one hand to the other hand, and then passes it to their partner. Take turns passing the ball to each other this way. Complete eight times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
iii. Partner medicine ball sit-ups: One person will do a sit-up with the medicine ball and then pass it to their partner. Complete eight times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
iv. Partner medicine ball rotation: Stand back to back and pass the ball by rotating through the trunk, keeping the arms straight out in front. Complete eight times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
v. Partner medicine ball burpee throws: One partner chest passes the ball to the other partner then quickly performs a burpee. As soon as that person is standing up, the other person throws the medicine ball and completes a burpee. Keep alternating. Complete eight times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.