June 13-19 is National Men’s Health Week, a great time to encourage your man to ramp up his fitness routine. Why? Breaking a sweat together may do more good than you think! In addition to the known benefits of physical activity – improved heart health, increased stamina and stronger muscles – exercising as a couple may just enhance your relationship, too. Research shows that doing new things together can produce feelings similar to when you first fell in love, as your brain is flooded with feel-good endorphins.
“Prior to having our toddler, my husband and I would go ballroom dancing once a week,” says Club Red clinical ambassador and UVA Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist Brandy Patterson, MD. “Now, while the baby is napping, we exercise in our home gym together and take an extra 10 minutes to practice our dance moves. We could spend that time doing chores or other things, but I think exercising together shows that we’re committed to being strong and healthy for each other. Plus, there’s still something romantic about taking those 10 minutes to waltz together.”
No matter your fitness level or interests, there are plenty of activities you can enjoy together. Here are 5 workout ideas for couples to keep hearts pumping:
Get a workout while you connect with one another at a dance class, or head out to a club if you’ve already got the moves down. Dancing works many muscles in the body and is a heart-healthy way to spend time together. Looking to learn how to salsa, cha-cha or waltz? Dance studios and gyms often offer classes for students of all skill levels. Or simply turn on your favorite tunes and move to your own beat!
Hiking helps build muscle in your lower body, works your heart and gets blood flowing. Try adding hiking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back. In addition to the physical benefits, recent studies have shown that being outdoors also can improve your mood.
Spend a picture-perfect afternoon together as you get a serious upper-body workout. Rent a two-person kayak, rowboat or canoe for some paddling fun. You’ll build muscle while enjoying each other’s company and improving communication skills (sometimes it takes two to avoid steering into a rock!).
Riding a bicycle targets some of your body’s largest muscles, including quads, glutes and hamstrings. It also works your heart and lungs, improves endurance and revs your metabolism. Even if you stick to an easy pace that allows you to chat as you ride, a 150-pound person can burn nearly 300 calories an hour while pedaling.
Hit the Gym
There’s plenty you can do together when you work out at the gym. Choose side-by-side cardio machines so you can go at your own pace and adjust inclines and resistance levels as you each see fit. Take turns during strength training sessions, working together while meeting your own goals. Stretch together for added flexibility – and intimacy.
Before you or your guy starts a new fitness routine, be sure to talk to your doctor. Looking for a new primary care physician? Go to uvahealth.com to find a doctor near you!