We are very passionate about the benefits of working out with your spouse. We have been exercising together since 2013, and we have enjoyed helping hundreds of couples learn how to start working out together.
Exercise can be a source of energy and joy in a relationship or one of contention and guilt. If one partner is fit, but the other isn’t, it makes the other feel insecure, overwhelmed, or jealous.
On the other hand, the “healthier” partner may feel like their hard work isn’t appreciated or feel derailed if their partner is pushing poor choices on them. The benefits of exercising with your partner bolster your minds, bodies, and relationship.
It’s no wonder that, for years, our number one question has been, “How do I get my partner to work out with me?” In this in-depth post, you learn about the science and psychology behind couple workouts.
benefits of working out with your spouse
Is it good for couples to work out together? Absolutely. And in this article, we’ll list why working out with your spouse is better.
Working out as a couple can be, what’s the word… complicated. But, we have worked through our challenges ourselves, and gained experience working with hundreds of couples who want to learn how to work out together.
We know all about the challenges that commonly derail a couple’s success and also regularly hear advice from successful couples. Since you’re here to learn about the benefits, our Complete Guide To Working Out As A Couple is also a helpful resource.
In our guide, we share the #1 reason why your spouse won’t work out with you, and it’s advice that nobody else is talking about.
Next, here are some incredible benefits that will motivate you to make exercise with your partner a long-term habit.
1. More Accountability
Working out as a couple builds in automatic accountability, and there is no better person to hold you accountable than your spouse.
There are times when one of us won’t want to get out of bed, but that’s when the other takes charge to encourage the other. Often, there are days when we put off our workout when we shouldn’t. The motivation of two people aligned in a shared goal is powerful.
We seldom miss a workout. And, if we do, they are always rescheduled.
Furthermore, another accountability benefit of working out with your spouse is you have to make a schedule. The extra planning needed to fit workouts into both of your schedules makes you much more likely to succeed.
But, don’t take out word for it. In one study comparing married pairs to married singles, only 6.3% of married pairs who quit smoking started back up again, as compared to 43% of the married singles.
The same study showed that married pairs working out together were twice as likely to experience weight loss. What’s more, two years later, 70% of married pairs continued to work out weekly. Their solo counterparts were only 25% as likely.
Clearly, accountability is a major benefit for couples who work out together. So, now that we know about the possible 2X weight loss benefit and 3X long-term consistency benefit of exercising with your partner is there other data to back this up?
2. Better Results
There is more data on the performance benefits of working out with your spouse. And this makes sense to us because just like you wouldn’t watch YouTube videos at your desk while your boss is hovering, nobody wants to look like a weakling in front of their partner.
Exercising with your partner not only makes you more accountable to show up, but it makes you push harder. The conclusion of this study is, “Exercising with a virtually present partner can improve performance on an aerobic exercise task across multiple sessions.”
When you look at the results, they showed that exercising as a couple can 2X your performance. In our experience, whether it’s not wanting to look weak or competition heating up during our workouts, we find this to be 100% true.
And we track out workout data on our Apple Watches every workout. This also helps us do experiments to find the most effective cardio workouts, saving us time, and getting us better results.
Additionally, when we do fitness together as a couple, we find that when one of us is better at a particular exercise (i.e., when Ryan runs with Alex or when Alex does HIIT with Ryan), the other is pushed to increase performance.
This study from Kansas State University shows that this increase in work time and intensity is as much as 200 percent!
The best way to work out as a couple is to take turns picking the workout program. This not only ensures variety, more on that next, but it makes the fitness level disparity two-sided. Over time, we have found that couple workouts have helped us close any fitness gaps that we had (i.e., Ryan being a bad runner and Alex not knowing how to lift weights).
An additional benefit of working out with your spouse is that you can help each other diagnose the areas where you need to improve. When working out with your partner, it’s easier for the other to help correct form or notice imbalances that you may have missed yourself.
Next, variety is the spice of life and fitness.
3. Increased Variety
When you are balancing the interests and goals of two people, at first, it might feel like you have to compromise. But really, you are gaining variety that produces more well-rounded and balanced physical fitness.
If your spouse loves running and you hate it, do you think it’s possible you hate it because you’re not good at running? It sounds like an opportunity to learn from her, spend time running with her, and improve your overall fitness.
This variety not only keeps working out more fun, but it also prevents you from plateauing or injuring yourself from over stressing your body with the same movements.
Excuse us for being blunt, but if you don’t like a method of exercise, it’s probably because you’re not good at it. We’re guilty too.
A huge benefit of working out with your spouse is that you’ll be forced to try things you normally wouldn’t.
For example, when we started working out together, Ryan was introduced to running and mixed martial arts, and Alex was introduced to yoga and weight lifting. Alex hated yoga, and so did I. But as they say in China, “One more inch of extension adds ten more years of life.”
We knew we needed yoga to prevent injury and maintain flexibility while increasing strength. So, we started with a two-week plan that has evolved into a Couple’s Yoga Challenge. If you’re not ready for the challenge but want to experiment with your partner, give these 23 couple’s yoga poses a try.
For us, the best way to stay consistent and change up our workout program every 2-3 months is by following streamed workouts through Beachbody On Demand.
4. Improved Relationship
When you experience something new together, like a new workout routine or reaching a goal, it strengthens your bond.
Our brains release dopamine, the feel-good chemical, when we try new things. And, when you’re with your partner, it links that great feeling with their presence.
Working out together puts you both in a great mood. In fact, according to this study, couples who do fitness together end up “feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner.”
Exercising as a couple is a form of intimacy. When you are working out together, you’re sweating, breathing heavily, moving quickly, and releasing endorphins.
One study shows that exercise provides physiological arousal, stimulating our brains in a way similar to lovemaking. Therefore, working out as a couple provides an “arousal-attraction effect.”
Additionally, with the digital world expanding into new areas of life every year, we need to be more intentional about human touch. Physical touch should be (hint hint) a significant part of working out as a couple.
Couples who touch each other with high-fives and congratulatory spankings during exercise are happier and stay together longer. If you do decide to try our couple’s yoga poses, your increased physical touch can translate to your sex life.
Lastly, another relationship benefit of working out with your spouse is increased emotional bond through mimicry, which scientists describe as following the same movements together.
One study, comparing mimicking pairs to non-mimicking pairs, drew this conclusion. Who knew that we are boosting our bond while doing high knees together?!
5. More Quality Time
Time is our most precious asset, right.
The most significant benefit of working out with your spouse is you can check off your daily workout and quality time with your partner. We don’t believe there is a better way to spend more quality time together.
Better yet, schedule a hike, 5K, biking trip, or a 10-mile walking tour of your city so that you have a shared goal to work towards.
Did you know the average couple spends 35 minutes a week total having meaningful, non-logistical conversations? You can treat your workout as a date and create some fun memories along the way.
You’re bonding over some hard workouts that you won’t forget any time soon! It’s a great time to catch up, but if you can talk normally, you aren’t working hard enough.
I want to learn more. What do I do?
Our next best resource for you is our Complete Guide to Working Out as a Couple. In this article, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps to start working out with your partner and make it a long term habit.
Or, sign up for our Couple’s Clean Week bet with your partner. It’s free if you complete the program, and you’ll get to test-drive our recommended routine from fitness to nutrition to sleep.
I need a fitness plan. What do I do?
We follow the programs on Beachbody On Demand. P90X3, LIIFT4, T25, and 21 Day Fix are a few of the best Beachbody workouts, all requiring minimal equipment.
Sign up for a free trial and request to join our BODgroup through the app so we can provide support and hold you accountable.
We also created the below free fitness plans and routines.
- 8-week total body Resistance Band Workout Routine
- 8-week, no equipment Bodyweight Workout Plan
- 30-Day Ab Challenge
- 30-Day Plank Challenge
- Couples Workout Routine
- Couples Yoga Flow Routine
- Couples Yoga Program
- Totally Free Beachbody Workouts
We hope that you get started and track your progress with our printable Body Measurement Chart.
I have questions. What do I do?
If you have questions about working out with your partner, ask away in the comments below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
For more resources for you and you partner, head over to our Healthy Couples page.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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