Last week, I kicked off my ongoing blog series about National Physical Fitness and Sports month with a discussion of how exercise can benefit your work performance. It may come as no surprise to hear that physical activity can also be beneficial to your relationship with your spouse. You might remember me saying last week that I met my wife while exercising. I belonged to a gym where she was an aerobics instructor. One evening at the gym, she just happened to walk into the room where I was doing a leg workout. I like to think that she meant to come into the room because I was there, but that may be just my side of the story and not hers. Truth is, after meeting, we found we had a lot in common, including our love of physical fitness. We soon began training together for the mini-marathon in Indianapolis, and from there the rest is history, as they say. In this week’s blog, you will learn how exercise can help fine-tune your marriage, even your sex drive. (Now I’ve got your attention!)
We talked a bit last time about how exercise can decrease your stress. But it also helps you learn to cope with short-term challenges and overcome them. These two things benefit your marriage in ways you might not predict. For one thing, people with lower stress are less likely to overreact in sudden or tense situations, decreasing the likelihood of arguments, like with your spouse. They’re also more adaptable to new experiences. You can see how this would make everything from a sudden home repair to a family outing easier to navigate.
Exercise strengthens your heart– in fact, it’s beneficial for your entire circulatory system! That increases your energy overall. And the funny thing is, studies are finding that people who are fatigued see more improvement from a small amount of exercise than from increased sleep…taking a flight of stairs instead of the elevator produced more results than drinking a soda or half a cup of coffee! Having more energy means that you can be more present and engaged with your spouse. If you’ve ever heard your spouse say to you, “Where are you today? Have you heard anything I have said?” you can understand how having a little more energy in your day can keep those questions to a minimum. So if you can, make a habit of taking the stairs!
There is something to be said about exercising with your spouse. I have found that it can help you bond with one another. You are overcoming challenges, accomplishing goals and you are doing all of this together. You can also use that time to talk through light exercises, like a walk, hike, or bike ride. That uninterrupted time can lead to wonderful conversations. This might be why couples who workout together report increased satisfaction with their relationship. If you are both going to exercise anyway, why not find at least one or two opportunities during the week to do it together?
Better (And More Frequent) Intimacy
Did you know that stress is one of the biggest factors that decrease your sex drive? Exercise reduces stress, remember? It also gives you an endorphin rush, which tends to increase desire. If that’s not enough to convince you to get fit, how about this: when exercise strengthens your circulatory system, it also gives you more stamina in the bedroom. And let’s face it, when it comes to intimacy, the most important organ is your brain. So that increased closeness you gain from exercising together and handling challenges more calmly will result in a more satisfying marriage in the bedroom, as well!
You may feel guilty about wanting to take extra time out of your day to get in a workout. After all, you have been busy all day at work or taking care of the kids. The last thing you may want to tell your spouse is, “Sorry, I have to leave again.” But if you paid close attention to what you read, you will agree that exercise is a big positive to help bring about a happier marriage, so whether you’re getting out there with your spouse or on your own, remember that exercise is the right thing for your marriage.
Would you mind sharing this information with one of your friends this week? If you need any advice or suggestions on how to enhance your exercise routines, my wife Ally is a wealth of knowledge. She would love to help. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.