5 Scientific Reasons Why Couples Who Sweat Together Stay Together

7 Scientific Reasons Why Couples That Workout Together, Stay Together

Your best workout buddy might be right by your side.

By PelotonUpdated June 7, 2023


Finding a workout buddy for your next ride or run can help you work out harder, longer, and more frequently. But, if you’re exercising with a partner or spouse, your motivation will most likely increase. According to a 2015 study conducted by JAMA Internal Medicine, when one trial participant made a healthy lifestyle change, their significant other usually followed in their footsteps. A similar study in 2021 went even further to say that couples that work out together not only enjoy better workouts, but happier relationships too. 

When you work out with your partner, you can create a healthy and even playful space to push yourself a little harder to increase your performance,” says Evelyn M. Saavedra-Funes, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Norwalk, Calif. “You are more likely to commit to your exercise plan and stick with it.”

Exercise brought Peloton instructors Ben Alldis and Leanne Hainsby together—and now all those regular sweat sessions help them strengthen their relationship every day. 

“We share a very similar mindset on the importance of keeping as fit and healthy as we can; mainly because it makes us feel great, but secondly, so we can be better for each other and for those around us,” Ben says. “We both feel very fortunate to be able to work in an industry where fitness is the main focus, and we love helping the Peloton community level up each and every day too.” 

We dig into the science behind how couples that exercise together can reap so many benefits—both to their relationships, mental health, and fitness journey. 

Working Out Together Solidifies Your Bond

For couples, setting aside time to spend together is a great way to build intimacy, whether you've been together for five or 50 years. “As you carve out time in your days to make time to exercise together, you are also sending the message to your partner that you are making them a priority,” says Saavedra-Funes. “One of the most basic human needs is to feel important and special. When someone makes time to be with you, it makes you feel good. When you are both intentional about making time to be together and agree on the same goal—working out to be healthy, a very good side effect is that your bond will be stronger.”

And, the benefits don’t stop there. Studies into social bonding and group exercise have proven not only better cooperation between partners, but an improvement in their exercise and fitness levels too. It’s a win-win situation. 

Healthy Lifestyle Choices Create a Shared Future

You may also notice that working out with your partner makes the two of you feel closer. That’s because exercise is a future-focused activity, much like a healthy relationship, says says Art Markman, PhD, a Peloton Member and professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. “You exercise today in order to see the effects that it has on your long-term health and well-being,” he says. “Similarly, relationships thrive when they are also future-focused. A shared focus on exercise reinforces a commitment about the future.

Greater Accountability

Sometimes just showing up is half the battle, so having a loved one to cheer you on can make a world of difference. “Motivation is our drive to behave in certain ways,” says Saavedra-Funes. “People usually commit to a new exercise plan when they are excited. However, sometimes when unpleasant emotions are experienced like depression or fear, your motivation can be impacted. Your urge is now to lay on the couch and watch an episode of your favorite show during your workout time slot. Then, in comes your partner! When you’re being held accountable, you’re more likely to push yourself to commit and stick with a new workout routine.”

And, according to findings by a 2016 study, exercising with a partner can actually increase the amount of exercise individuals do—meaning that couples that exercise together, exercise more.

It stands to reason then, that having a partner who works out alongside you can be a massive help during those moments when you just can’t find the urge to get moving. It happens even to the pros: “On the days we don’t feel like working out,” Leanne says, “we are there to hold each other accountable, to encourage and motivate one another, because as fitness professionals, we know how much a good workout can change everything.”

Exercise Creates Healthy Competition

We all know that a little friendly competition can actually be healthy from time to time. But, when you're going up against your partner, spouse, or even a friend, you're more likely to push yourself even harder since you're trying to impress them. “If you see your partner making the time to exercise, it can motivate you to do the same,” says Saavedra-Funes. “When your partner challenges themselves to go on the treadmill 20 minutes a day, it can motivate you to go on the treadmill 20 minutes a day or even 30! Think Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union.”

Improved Communication

Every couple has their fair share of arguments, but learning to communicate better can help resolve conflicts—on and off the Bike. “When a couple struggles with communication, negative feelings can be attached to your partner,” says Saavedra-Funes. “Doing something pleasant like partnering for exercise—where you celebrate beating your three-mile time or your partner doing five extra burpees, can help create positive feelings. 

As Maya Angelou said, “People never forget how you made them feel.” So, if they associate behaviors like cheering them on with making them feel supported, then their experience within your romantic relationship may also become more positive and pleasant.”

Exercising with a partner can also help inspire and even teach each other something new. “We both have different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s great to learn from each other,” Ben says. “I must admit though, Leanne as an ex-professional dancer has still got a lot of work to do to help me improve my dancing skills.” 

Boost Your Endorphins

It's no secret that endorphins can increase your overall happiness. Whenever you exercise, your body increases the level of endorphins, blocking pain in your brain and naturally triggering mood-enhancing substances instead. “One study found that exercise can be as effective as taking anti-depressants,” says Saavedra-Funes. “Additionally, many studies have shown that exercise stimulates the production of endorphins or 'feel- good' brain chemicals. Research suggests that the more in sync you feel with your partner, the more connected you feel. The more connected you feel, the happier and more satisfied you will be."

Exercise Supports Mental Health

In addition, exercise creates positive feelings that can help couples stay upbeat and positive, even during difficult or stressful times. Research shows exercise can actually “reduce anxiety and depression, boosting self-esteem and even cognitive function”. 

And, when done together; “Exercise provides a great outlet for anxiety and frustration, which can create more opportunities for enjoyable couple time,” Dr. Markman says. 

Try Turning a Workout Into a Date

A good workout can also make for the ultimate date. Dr. Markman suggests running in a race together, going kayaking on a beautiful lake, or taking a long bike ride through the countryside. Even going on long walks regularly is an important bonding activity that boosts your fitness levels too. 

Or, if you’re like Ben and Leanne, you could opt into a Peloton HIIT cardio class or bodyweight strength class together. Whatever feels right for you and your partner.

Your Exercise Partner Can Be Your Pal

Don’t forget your bestie! The benefits of working out together go far beyond romantic relationships. “Friends can be great motivators in several ways,” says Dr. Markman. “As with a partner, friends can provide energy to work out even on days when you might not feel like exercising. In addition, a friend can be a source of competition that can drive you to push yourself just a little harder to increase your overall fitness.”

And, you can even challenge family or friends to a little healthy competition too, doing virtual workouts on your Peloton Bike or the Peloton App.


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