10 Ways Exercise Improves Your Relationship

Go to the gym to work out, alone, or stay home and binge watch House of Cards with your man? My inclination would be towards the at home bonding time but that isn't the 'right' choice. Here are 10 ways exercise has a direct effect on your relationship (bonus points if you can get your partner to come with).

You'll Reduce Stress

No doubt that you know that exercise improves your mental clarity. And, a healthy work out is the best way to increase your productivity at work. All of this carries over to your relationship. "Exercise is, hands down, one of the best stress-relievers in the world," says Heidi Powell, personal trainer, fitness coach, and cohost of Extreme Weight Loss. (The second cohost? Her other half in both life and work, hubby Chris Powell). "When we don't exercise, Chris and I are at each other's throats about everything." The Mayo Clinic tells us why: Any form of physical activity, like going for a run or lifting weights, provides a rush of endorphins which put you in a better mood. This makes you more likely to stay mellow when faced with a possible argument inducing moment with your significant other.

You'll Increase Your Sex Drive

Do I need to say more? Research shows that exercise increases blood flow throughout your body, including your nether regions, making you more responsive to stimulation. A Brooks running survey revealed that 68 percent of women believed that running with their partner increased their milage between the sheets.

You'll Feel Confident

Journal of Health Psychology study shows that exercise boosts your confidence. And it is no secret that self esteem plays a role when it is time to get naked. "We want to have sex more often if we feel good about how we look," says Powell. "I want Chris to look at me and want to be with me. And he wants to know that when he takes his shirt off, I love what I see." And it this doesn't mean you have to run marathons or work until you get a six pack, any amount of exercise helps.

You'll Be More Thoughtful

Even a short burst of cardio can improve your memory, says a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Exercise also boosts dopamine levels which means that not only will you remember your anniversary (or example), you'll be more likely to have warm fuzzies when you acknowledge it with a sweet card.

You'll Boost Your Bond

"The couple that plays together, stays together," says Powell. "Whether you're hiking a mountain, playing a soccer game, or hitting the weights in the gym, you're preparing yourself physiologically and emotionally for all of the challenges to come," she says. "Relationships aren't all hugs and high fives. There are tough times, and if you have a history of making it through challenges as a couple, you're more likely to be able to make it through the rough challenges later in life." Besides, when you are struggling in the final reps of your exercise, it feels better to look over and see him gutting it out too.

You'll Have More Energy

The Mayo Clinic tells us that exercise helps to drive up energy levels because moving delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. This will make you ready for whatever comes your way, a post dinner walk or playing with the kids.

You'll Support Each Other

"You not only want to be the best version of yourself, but you're also going to encourage your spouse to become the best person that he can be as well," says Powell. "And you'll have a sense of camaraderie if you do it together. It's nice to have Chris in the room doing cleans when I'm working on handstand push-ups. We can encourage each other; I can motivate him to accomplish something great, and he can do the same for me." As mentioned above, exercise releases dopamine and endorphins that make you happy. When you're happy, you'll want the person in your life to be happy too.

You'll Sleep Better

Lack of sleep is more likely to make you impatient, irritable and cranky. Not good for partnerships. Research has shown that the recommended 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week can improve sleep quality by 65 percent. On top of that, the National Sleep Foundation found that those who exercised regularly, felt less sleepy during the day.

You'll Make Better Decisions

Your brain needs oxygen and exercise helps it get some. A recent study in Psychophysiology found that women who sweat have more oxygen flowing through the anterior frontal region of the brain, which is responsible for making decisions as well as memory retention.

You'll Live Longer

Research has shown that those who regularly exercise tend to have longer lives because they avoid a whole host of health issues associated with being sedentary. This means more time for the two of you to live out the growing old together fantasies! Living longer, better sex, more bonding? Sounds perfect to me. What relationship benefits does exercise provide you? We'd love to hear what you have to say!

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