The Workout Relationship: Effective or Not?

When it comes to being in a relationship, some things are better together. Traveling takes on a new life, exploring hobbies can help you learn more about each other, and even cooking together can be a bonding opportunity.

Whether you’ve been dating for a few months or married for years, no one wants his or her relationship to fall into a rut. Finding new activities to do together can be the difference between keeping things fresh and exciting and drifting apart.

One of the best ways to get the blood flowing in your relationship might be even easier than you think: working out together. Physical activity releases powerful endorphins that help energize and motivate us, so imagine what it could do for your relationship when you’re working out with your partner. To learn more, we polled more than 1,000 people about how they integrate their partners into their workout routines. Want to know what working out together does for couples’ happiness, physical attraction, and sexual satisfaction? Read on to find out.

Couples Who Stay Fit Together …

64% of respondents said they worked out with their partners. 60% of couples workout 1-2 days a week, and top workout being walking.

Nearly 2 in 3 people said they worked out with their partner in some capacity. Couples don’t need to run marathons together to reap the benefits of working out as a team, however. In fact, 60 percent of respondents said they found time to go for a walk with their partner – by far the most popular workout choice.

Going on walks together may not sound as intense as some other forms of exercising, but consider that just 30 minutes a day of this casual commitment could help boost your mood, improve your immune system, and tone your body. Because you likely won’t be so out of breath that you can’t carry a conversation, couples who walk together can share the details of their day while simultaneously burning a few extra calories.

Most couples worked out together one to two days a week, and 31 percent said they preferred to run outdoors, followed by lifting weights (17 percent), running on a treadmill (16 percent), and doing a mix of physical activity (15 percent).

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Couples who work out together 5-7 days per week have the highest sexual satisfaction at 91%, but also the lowest relationship happiness and physical attraction to the partner, at 6% and 7%, respectively.

There are more benefits to working out together than a smaller waistline. Either from the physical and psychological benefits of being active or just the added time together, couples who spent time exercising together got relationship perks as well.

Couples who didn’t work out together weren’t entirely miserable with each other, but couples who found time to get at least a few reps in as a team had a more positive outlook on their relationship. Working out together made respondents more likely to feel happy with their relationship, sexually satisfied, and more physically attracted to their partner.

You don’t have to clock excessive time at the gym to take advantage of these tightened emotions. Couples who spent just one or two days a week working out were more likely to feel satisfied with their relationship and physically attracted to their partner. If you’re looking for the embodiment of intimacy, though, you might need a little more dedication: Ninety-one percent of couples who found time to work out together between five and seven days a week expressed feeling sexually satisfied in their current relationship.

Best Moves to Get You Excited

Top workouts for men include outdoor cycling, swimming and mixed physical activity. HIIT, yoga, and mixed sports are the top choices for women.

There are plenty of reasons why you should carve out at least half an hour for regular physical activity. Even in the midst of a hectic work schedule or at-home obligations, setting a solid workout routine will help you feel better about your body both physically and mentally.

When it comes to feeling physically attracted to or sexually satisfied by a significant other, certain exercise might be more likely to get the job done than others.

Women said doing HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training) with their partner made them feel the most physical attraction, while sports (including tennis and basketball) gave them the highest sexual satisfaction. For men, outdoor cycling helped them feel more attracted to their partners, while mixed physical activity helped increase their sexual pleasure.

Finding time for more relaxed activities could help you feel happier with your relationship, too. For women, doing yoga with their significant other made them feel the most content, while men had similar experiences when swimming was a part of their routine.

Attractive Workouts

Attitudes towards those who don't workout are mixed for both genders.

Are certain exercises more likely to get you hot and bothered than others? Potentially. Forty-six percent of women and 30 percent of men admitted they didn’t consider how often a person worked to contribute to their overall attractiveness, but as many (or more) disagreed.

Look Good, Feel Good

More than half of men and women surveyed prefer to date runners.

Though our study showed that a fair percentage of men and women didn’t think exercise affected attractiveness, when asked what kind of athlete or exerciser they’d prefer to date, they had stronger opinions. Men were most likely to be attracted to runners, and women appreciated someone devoted to mixed physical activities, and runners as a close second. The “runner’s high” isn’t just a figure of speech, it’s a chemical reaction involving endorphins and dopamine that happens when you hit a certain point in your workout. Turns out a runner’s high will also score you points on the dating scene.

Working Out Together

No matter how busy your day-to-day life is, there’s plenty of research to remind us how important even just a few minutes of daily exercise can be. Walking or playing sports counts as being physically active, and committing to light exercise on a regular basis can do more than help you stay fit physically.

As it turns out, inviting your significant other to join you could have even more positive effects than going at it alone. People who worked out with their partners were more likely to have a happy relationship, feel sexually satisfied, and stay physically attracted to each other. You probably don’t want to overdo it, though. Too much of a good thing, and you might start to lose the romantic benefit of spending so much extra time together compared to people who work out together just once or twice a week.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,008 people between the ages of 18 and 76, with an average age of 36 and a standard deviation of 11 years. Fifty-two percent of respondents were men, and 48 percent of respondents were women. We did not have validated measures of attraction, relationship happiness or sexual satisfaction, so we created our own 5-point scales. Data were not statistically tested and this study is exploratory.

Fair Use Statement

Just like working out alone, you don’t have to keep the benefits of exercising as a couple to yourself. Feel free to share the results of our study with your readers for any noncommercial use. We only ask that you include a link back to this page so that our contributors get credit for their work too.