How Exercise Builds Healthy Relationships

Want to know a great secret to building a better bond with your significant other? Work out together.

When my fiancee first took up running, it meant waking up extra early in the morning to brave the cold air in the predawn hours so that she could fit it into her schedule. As many morning runners know, getting out of bed before the sun comes out to meet the cold can be the most daunting obstacle you have to face to achieve your fitness goals.

After watching her suffer through this routine for a few days ... check that, after hearing her describer her suffering, I realized there was an opportunity for me to help. This realization came in the form of my fiancee asking me to get up in the morning and run with her (it's possible the phrase "if you think it's so easy" may have been included there in some abstract way, but the historical record is incomplete). Soon we were getting up together every morning for a run.

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What's interesting is that, while we both have our own fitness routines, this is something we do together and, therefore, it's something that we're able to bond over. Not only are we able to share fitness goals, but also we're in it together, so we don't want to let each other down. I might prefer staying in bed on some of those especially cold mornings (the word "might", here, is an example of what's called understatement), but I'm not going to give in to that impulse knowing she is counting on me to go with her. Similarly, we both find it easier to push ourselves harder when we run together than when we run alone.

Relationships are, of course, built on shared experiences. That includes both the good ones (like watching the sun come up) and the bad ones (like having to get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning so you can watch the sun come up). So if you're looking for new ways to bring you and your special someone closer together—and improve your fitness at the same time—start exercising together.

It may also be a good idea to invest in a good alarm clock.

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About the Author

Jason Sheridan, owner of Sheridan Fencing Academy in New York City, coaches the 2013 Junior World Championship silver medalist, along with many of the other top fencers in the US. He specializes in developing high-level youth athletes by emphasizing the fun—and eliminating the monotony—in exercise and training.

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