By Amy Hopkins
Fit couple goals.
Studies show that getting your fit fun on with your partner makes for great bonding and quality time – and can actually improve the quality of your relationship as well as increase physical attraction. When it comes to sweating together there are definite benefits that I – and the other WH gals – can attest to. Here they are:
1/ Being fitter makes you feel sexier
When you’re fast, strong and fit, you feel sexy. It’s partly to do with the increased testosterone levels in your body, which happens naturally when you’re very active. Testosterone increases libido and the quality of your orgasms. Plus, feeling and looking good adds to your overall confidence – and when you’re feeling on fire, you’re much more likely to want to strip down, am I right? The other element at play: the release of endorphins – a natural side effect of a good run or workout. This release has been shown to increase sexual arousal in women and reduce stress (a known libido killer). A note of caution here: overexercising can have the opposite effect and deplete your energy and sex hormones, lowering your sex drive.
2/ Exercise makes you happy
A study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology claims that active people are happy people. “We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual,” says study researcher Amanda Hyde. Speaking about all those good vibes, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples reported feeling more positive about their relationship or more in love after jointly completing a physical activity or a physical challenge. I can say for sure that crossing the finish line of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon with my partner was an exhilarating experience and it was a big bonding moment for us. Not just the race itself, but the training, build-up and celebration (while we nursed our knees) afterwards.
Our next big challenge? Mountain biking through the Garden Route for the Dr Evil Classic (three-day stage race) and Karoo2Coast (100km). Plus, it’s great to try new things together! New experiences flood your brain with dopamine, a feel-good chemical – and when you experience that with your partner, your brain links that positive emotion to your partner.
3/ Exercising together increases physical attraction
A study in Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal showed that the physiological arousal that occurs when you exercise with a partner can increase romantic attraction. Sweaty hands, a racing pulse and shortness of breath all mirror the symptoms of arousal and experiencing this with your partner while working out can actually make you feel more attracted to them.
In a separate study, results published in a report called The Effects of Adrenaline on Arousal and Attraction showed a significant positive correlation between adrenaline and attraction: as adrenaline levels increased, levels of attraction also increased. Even the anticipation of exercise can spark a rush of adrenaline – hey, heart-rate monitor spiking while I lace up my takkies. Your brain sends a signal to your adrenal glands as you’re about to exercise and your adrenal glands then excrete epinephrine into the bloodstream. Sharing an adrenaline-boosting activity is a sure-fire way to boost your attraction.
Plus a little bit of competition totally adds an element of playfulness and flirtation!
READ MORE: 3 Workouts That Actually Make Great Dates!
4/ Having a shared goal brings you closer
5/ Working out together can deepen your bond
The British Journal of Psychology reports that non-verbal mimicry (coordinating your actions) can make people feel emotionally attuned with one another. Those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of having bonded with their partner. That’s right, challenge each other to 30 push-ups, do some weight-lifting reps or even go for a run or cycle at the same pace.
Looking for more? Here’s nine reasons why fitness is the new foreplay.