Ever thought to invite cupid to the gym? After all, love is in the air, Valentine hearts seem to be dominating every retailer’s shelves, and of course, the price of roses creeps higher. If it seems like Dr. Phil has covered just about everything there is to say about romance, think again. It might be time for a new perspective.
Is Fitness The Missing Link?
According to Amy Baglan, CEO and founder of MeetMindful.com, “Relationships and fitness go hand in hand. They are both hard work but worth it.” We might not have made this connection previously, but in truth, many couples enjoy bonding over fitness. “A romantic relationship that is worth something is always going to be hard work, just like getting in shape and becoming healthier require time and effort”, Baglan reminds us.
Is it possible that exercise can trigger positive emotions that transcend the endorphins with which we are already familiar? Can a “runner’s high” be linked to improvements in a relationship? If we take into consideration that exercise releases dopamine, a happiness-inducing neurotransmitter, such a line of reasoning just might be worth pursuing.
The Next Level Of “Intimacy”
If you and your partner are currently in a good place in terms of emotional compatibility, you must already be doing many things correctly. Recognizing that there is always room for improvement, contemplate approaching a relationship in a similar fashion to how you might set fitness goals. Should you choose to do this with your partner, you open up a new and dynamic world of potential in terms of bonding and communication.
It is one thing to have a consistent “workout buddy”; but it pales in comparison to celebrating your partner’s physical successes or helping him/her through difficult plateaus. “Working out with your partner can create the feeling of a shared experience, which Psychology Today reports helps couples feel more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner”, shares Jeana Anderson Cohen, an ACE certified personal trainer.
Embarking on a joint fitness journey requires somewhat of a roadmap. Both individuals need to communicate and lend support. When each partner is willing to place himself in a position of potential vulnerability and exposure, it paves the way for a relationship breakthrough. By embracing new lifestyle changes together, bonds are forged that can ultimately lead to embracing each other.
Starting an exercise routine, along with adopting a healthy meal plan, may raise energy levels, promote more restful sleep and fuel a positive way of regarding oneself. How can all of these changes help but improve the emotional aspects of a relationship?
Exercise As An Aphrodisiac
A research study conducted at the University of Arkansas found that exercise frequency might be attributed to an enhanced feeling of attractiveness, which can increase sexual desirability and performance. Another study reported that women were more sexually responsive following 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. Men similarly observe an uptick in testosterone levels following even a short bout of intense exercise.
“When a couple works out together, the actual exercise itself has a positive impact,” explains Dr. Jane Greer, a marriage and relationship psychotherapist in New York City. “Both partners come away with feelings of synchronicity, cooperative spirit and shared passion.” It matters not what the exercise entails; it could be running, cycling, or even making it through a tough Circuit Training class together.
Simply sharing the experience of exertion seems to be enough to lead to improved relationships, and this often translates to greater levels of physical intimacy. Research demonstrates that exercise increases blood flow throughout the entire body—and that includes the “private parts” — leaving one more responsive to stimulation.
It Works At Any Age
Couples who work out together are typically highly motivated and committed to staying fit and healthy. In a Harvard University study consisting of 160 male and female swimmers ages 40 to 60+, regular physical activity was associated with an increased frequency and enjoyment of sex. The science behind this is fairly straightforward. Exercise induces symptoms that resemble those of physiological arousal, such as a faster pulse and shortness of breath.
If fitness can mirror the thrill of a new romance, imagine how wonderful this becomes when your workout partner is also your intimate life partner! Remember that this joint venture is less about competing with your mate, and more about honoring each other’s likes and dislikes. Even if you arrive at the gym together but head in opposite directions to participate in different activities, the sheer fact of having set aside this mutual time to become healthier and more vital leads to better communication and the forging of stronger bonds within the relationship.
Skip The Singles Bar
If you are currently unattached and seeking a romantic involvement, focusing on wellness is often overlooked as an element of finding a match. Those who share a commonality might be more inclined to strike up a relationship with a like-minded individual. Over time, this might even lead to discovering a new gym partner. Experts in the matchmaking field suggest individuals take these aspects into consideration:
- Become a Better Version of “You”.
- Exercise can make you feel better about yourself, and making positive choices for your body will boost confidence.
- This outlook radiates from you and becomes obvious to those around you.
- When you feel better about yourself, you more easily attract others who reinforce your positive energy.
These statements are geared toward reminding us that physical attributes are only part of the bigger picture of relating to others. Wellness as a concept and a lifelong practice is what makes an individual desirable, and just like a toned body or sculpted muscles it sets the stage for Cupid’s entrance. Confidence is very appealing, to both genders. Cultivate it in the gym, in your food/meal choices, and in the company you seek. Wear it proudly, and it will be reflected back to you.
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Read more on this topic in What’s Love Got to Do With Exercise?