It’s true. Exercise will get your marriage in shape. Pun Intended
My wife has been after me to get more exercise.
As I write this it’s Winter. My schedule (at times) has been daunting. Lot’s of travel. Demanding meetings. Deadlines.
I’ve been indoors quite a bit. I don’t like gyms so I haven’t been exercising like I should. The outdoors is where I love to be. All that to say, I’ve been inside too much.
When we were in Colorado we exercised almost daily together. We were very active. Hiking, jogging, and even daily walks kept us moving. I felt better mentally and physically.
She’s been after me to pick up my game.
I know she’s right. Not just because I need the physical exercise (which I do), but because it is good for US.
When we work out together, our relationship takes shape.
We’ve discovered that working out helps us in our marriage in a number of ways.
Before we look at the benefits of working out together, it’s important to note that every person is at different physical levels. I prefer more strenuous exercises. Others don’t. Some can’t.
That’s okay. Start where you are, and move forward.
The goal is twofold:
One, to get in shape.
Two, to do this together.
Some couples like competition. Others don’t.
Remember, this is about being together. Important thing is to do what you can!
By the way, you can watch a video summary of this article here:
Here’s 11 Ways Exercise Will Get Your Marriage In Shape
You may be surprised but physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your marriage. Here’s why:
#1 Detoxes Your Body
Let’s face it, our mood can affect our relationships. If our body is run down, our emotions often reflect it. We need to clean our system to get our body, mind and spirit clear.
Sometimes we feel a ‘funk’ because of the toxins in our body. Exercise plays an important role in ‘getting clear.’
Even moderate exercise has a positive affect on our body:
- Improved circulation
- Energies our lymph system
- Enhances digestion
- Lubricates joints
- Strengthens our muscles
- Removes toxins
This last one is important. Toxins affect how we feel. How we feel impacts our relationships.Toxins affect how we feel. How we feel impacts our relationships. Exercise helps us clear the toxins out of our system so we feel better and communicate at a higher level. Click To Tweet
Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin says:
“In general exercise helps our lungs; kidneys get rid of things that can cause us onset of disease,” she said.
A healthy lifestyle – eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising – is important to detoxifying because it enables our body to do what is intended to do.
#2 Releases Feel Good Chemicals
Ever heard of ‘runners high’? I’m a runner so I’m familiar.
It’s that euphoric feeling you get from a workout. The science behind it is fascinating.
When we exercise our body releases endorphins. I call it, feel good juice. It’s a similar feeling to morphine (WebMD).
Nearly 15 million adults suffer from depression. That in itself is bad enough. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that depression not only affects the individual, it has a tremendous impact on the other partner.
Treatment for depression (especially clinical depression) is broad. Mostly pharmacological (medicine). More and more professionals are including exercise as part of treatment.
Research shows depressed patients are less fit and have physical health problems. Adding light physical exercise helps patients.
Involvement in structured exercise has shown promise in alleviating symptoms of clinical depression.
Early case studies concluded that, at least for some, moderate-intensity exercise should be beneficial for depression and result in a happier mood.
This leads to the next point…
#3 Relieves Stress
Stress can lead to a decrease in marital satisfaction. It increases the odds of negative interactions.
Lisa Neff and Benjamin Karney report:
Men, for example, report less satisfaction with their marriage as work- and parenting-related stress increases. Marriage quality can also be affected by external sources of stress. Women are more likely to transfer negativity toward stressors to their spouses and subsequently report more problems with their marriages.
Exercise, even mild workouts, can reduce stress.
Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. (Source)
One avid proponent called exercise ‘meditation in motion.’ I like that.
It not only releases those feel good endorphins we talked about, it clears the mind and flushes stress from your emotions.
My wife (an avid cardio junkie) says she gets most of her great ideas when on the treadmill, jogging or doing high movement exercises.
There is a simple explanation why this works:
Movement (especially high cardio exercise) increases your bodies use of oxygen. This improved blood circulation acts like a flush to your system. Which makes you feel better.Movement (especially high cardio exercise) increases your bodies use of oxygen. This improved blood circulation acts like a flush to your system. Which makes you feel better. Less stress equals better quality relationships. Click To Tweet
Less stress equals better quality relationships.
#4 Increases Sex Drive
Research suggests women who are physically active have greater sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction.
Exercise also increases testosterone which boosts sex drive.
Dr. Tina Penhollow (Department of Exercise Science and Health at Florida Atlantic University) says:
Participating [in] and maintaining a regular exercise regimen that increases heart rate, breathing, and muscle activity can enhance sexual performance and sexual satisfaction, which can ultimately lead to a better sex life.
There are a number of reason why. Most interesting is the fact that the same hormones released during sexual arousal are released during a good physical workout.The same hormones released during sexual arousal are released during a good physical workout. According to research, exercise can enhance sexual satisfaction in marriage. Click To Tweet
Another added benefit, according to Nicole Davis (Healthline), regular exercise helps you have more intense orgasms. Partly because of better blood flow, partly because of stronger muscles in your core and pelvic floor.
Related Article: Nitric Oxide for Sex: Expectations and Reality
#5 Increases Energy
Movement begets movement. The more you get up and get going, the easier it gets. And the more you WANT to get moving.
The University of Georgia conducted a study that found:
Sedentary, otherwise healthy adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported an increase in energy levels and feeling less fatigued.
If a sedentary individual begins an exercise program it will enhance the blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue improving their ability to produce more energy (the chemical adenosine triphosphate).
How does this apply to marriage?
The more energy we have, the more we contribute to our relationships. Marriage is built on exchange.
When we fail to invest in the relationship, our marriage suffers. We cannot invest our heart if our body is too tired.The more energy we have, the more we contribute to our relationships. When we fail to invest in the relationship, our marriage suffers. We cannot invest our heart if our body is too tired. Click To Tweet
Special Video: How To Boost Your Energy Levels And Get More Done Each Day
#6 Builds Team Work
The business world has figured this out. Teams that do physical things together build strong bonds.
Those bonds carry over into he work place, creating synergy in the office.
It does the same thing in our marriage.
When we exercise together we create a mental, emotional and physical connection. We bond.
Which means we work better together.
Matthew Jones says team building activities create a better workplace for a reason:
- Honest Engagement
- Increases Trust
- Better Communication
- Human Connection
- Real Connection
- Problem Solving Skills
These same benefits apply to marriage. When we exercise together (stress is on together), we learn to trust each other better, communicate clearly and solve problems.
#7 Aids Brain Health
Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. This serves to increase mental function in older adults. (Source)
We’ve already seen how exercise releases powerful endorphins that serve as a feel good juice.
But there is more to it. Regular exercise changes brain function.
Exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain. (Source)
Matthew Smith from HomeGym101 confirms this:
Not only can exercise lead to a reduction in anxiety and depression, but it can also boost your cognition. Helping you to make decisions better, study better, and memorize things better. Exercise can also help with stress management, which is good for your mental health in the long term.
HomeGym101 also has some great tips on how to start a workout routine. I suggest doing this together as a couple to reap the most benefits.
Working out together has a positive affect on marriage by maintaining our ability to communicate and interact in a healthy manner.
#8 Helps You Sleep Better
If you’ve ever experienced prolong nights without sleep you understand how sleep effects your mood.
Sleep deprivation seems to be associated with greater emotional reactivity — people who suffer from sleep loss are especially likely to react negatively when something doesn’t go well for them. (Source)
Not getting enough rests has several negative consequences:
- Diminished overall health
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy
- Increased risk of heart problems
- High emotional sensitivity
- Worry and anxiety
Lack of consistent rest has a negative impact on us physically, emotionally and relationally.
When we react negatively to situations it can damage our relationships. A healthy marriage is one that deals with difficulties in positive, proactive ways. Not emotionally tense ways.When we react negatively to situations it can damage our relationships. A healthy marriage is one that deals with difficulties in positive, proactive ways. Not emotionally tense ways. Exercise actually helps regulate of our body… Click To Tweet
Exercise actually helps regulate of our body and gives us better rest.
#9 Helps You Get Control of Your Weight
Body image on of the big reasons’ women shut down emotionally in marriage.
Wives’ perceptions of their sexual attractiveness were positively associated with both wives’ and husbands’ marital satisfaction, controlling for wives’ body size, wives’ global self-esteem, wives’ neuroticism, and reports of whether or not the couple was trying to get pregnant, and both of these associations were mediated by increased sexual frequency and higher sexual satisfaction. (Source)
In layman’s terms: women who feel good about their body are more open sexually and emotionally to their husband.
Further studies show:
Not surprisingly, poor body image is associated with numerous negative mental and physical health outcomes. Regarding mental health, women with poor body image are more likely to experience negative emotional outcomes, such as anxiety and depression. Regarding physical health, women with poor body image are also more likely to engage in extreme dieting and disordered eating.
Good news is, even moderate aerobic exercise increases a positive body image.
#10 It Builds Communication
A study was done to measure the effects of physical activity on social interaction.
They discovered physical activity plays an important role in communication.
- It improves your physical condition
- Increases self esteem
- Creates better social awareness
- Enhances problem solving skills
- Produces empathy
- A sense of belonging
The last one on the list is one of the most significant. When we share physical activity with our spouse, it creates a sense of togetherness and belonging.
Our Hikes in Colorado
Some of the best talks we’ve had were in the mountains. It’s wasn’t the fact we were away from distractions (although that’s another benefit of exercising together), it was the oxygen to our brains that helped.
The physical exercise help us get our heads clear. We could think through tough decision, complex issues and strategic plans.
The fresh air and movement got us connected.
Related Article: 11 Ways to Improve Communication in a Relationship
#11 It’s Fun
One, often overlooked, benefit of physical exercise is the fun factor.
Some may be thinking, ‘Hey, I hate to exercise. It’s not fun.’
Just give it time.
If you’ve ever talked to an avid exercise enthusiast, you’ll hear them talk about the ‘runners high’ they get during their workout. It’s true.
The more you engage in it, the more you want to engage. The habit becomes a need. The need becomes an addiction.
In a world full of negative addictions, it’s good to know there is something we can become addicted to that will benefit our lives. Both physically and relationally.
My wife and I love outdoor activities. Our walks, hikes and kayaking. It not only gets us outdoors so we can move, it helps us connect.
Wrapping It UP
We know that we feel better when we exercise, eat right and drink plenty of water.
It’s the remedy for 80% of what is wrong with us.
We seldom make the connection of how good it is for our relationship.
In this article we saw 11 Ways Exercise Will Get Your Marriage in Shape.
Here’s what we learned:
- #1 Detoxes Your Body
- #2 Releases Feel Good Chemicals
- #3 Relieves Stress
- #4 Increases Sex Drive
- #5 Increases Energy
- #6 Builds Team Work
- #7 Aids Brain Health
- #8 Helps You Sleep Better
- #9 Helps You Get Control of Your Weight
- #10 It Builds Communication
- 11) It’s Fun
How do you and your spouse spend time together getting physical (not just sexually)?
Do you exercise together with your spouse?
What benefits do you see from it?
It’s Your Turn
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