Many of us know the benefits of physical activity and exercise, such as reducing stress and anxiety, preventing obesity and other diseases, releasing endorphins, and increasing overall self-esteem. Have you ever, though, considered turning your workout routine into a way to improve your relationship with a romantic partner?
Have you ever thought about combining your own physical health with the health of your relationship?
How Confirmation Theory Comes Into Play
A 2008 study found in a group of teenage girls that their primary reasons for not exercising stemmed from a lack of accountability and not finding going to the gym enjoyable.
So what do we do if we find exercise unenjoyable? This is where confirmation theor comes to the rescue!
Confirmation theory asserts how our interactions and relationships with each other lead to certain actions and outcomes. This can be applied to physical exercise in the sense that “communication that fosters a climate of validation and encouragement should facilitate healthy diet and exercise behaviors, and thus, greater physical health.”
This concept has two essential parts to it: acceptance and challenge.
Acceptance denotes when someone is, well, accepted, loved, valued, and cared for. Challenge has more to do with pushing someone to keep up their healthy behaviors and push them beyond (within reason, of course).
In a study conducted to measure how effective these two components are, it was found that the more acceptance and challenge someone received from their partner regarding weight management, the more effective these tactics were.
But where can you get this acceptance and challenge from? This might come from the previously mentioned gym buddy, but swapping that out for your romantic partner would benefit not only your physical health but also the health of the relationship as well!
When couples work out together, they’re obviously spending time together. On these days that they exercise together, couples tend to be more satisfied with their relationships as a whole. This satisfaction leads to an improved romantic relationship.
The study notes that “when romantic partners perform an activity together in which they are both able to make goal progress, they feel closer to each other than in any other type of joint activity,” and even when one person is more strenuous in their exercise, this intimacy is even stronger.
We all want to be happy in our relationships, so what better way to do just that and make our bodies healthier at the same time?
Increased Chance of Motivation
Another study discovered that partners often mime one another’s behavior. If your partner were to workout more often or more intensely, this may motivate you to do the same! It is rarely the case that two partners in a relationship have the same workout habits. One may inspire the other, or the routine that one partner has built may encourage the other partner to modify theirs.
When partnership includes inspiring one another, increased motivation naturally arises. More motivation means more activity, which means a healthier body all around!
You’ll be Happier!
Happiness and health are linked. This is no surprise because exercise releases endorphins, also known as the happy chemical.
However, people who are unhappy tend to have poorer physical health when compared to those who are happier. This is due to low energy and decreased motivation.
This study proposes that a happy partner can be a substitute for an unhappy self. When one partner is struggling, the other partner has an opportunity to share their positive energy. With this partner fueling happiness and also energy, the once unhappy person will have more of an ability to be physically active.
This concept can benefit older couples specifically. With the potential for increased health issues that come with age, this study proposes that these factors beyond just the self can improve their health.
If working out with our partner gets us more motivated for more of those sweet, sweet happy chemicals, then, by all means, do it!
The Power of Words
A study that examined the roles of romantic partners on one’s body image found that if a partner or someone you’re interested in often makes positive comments on a particular part of your body, you’ll feel more comfortable with it.
If affirming words from your partner will boost your confidence, then just imagine what will happen if you actively (pun intended) affirmed your partner through exercising with them? Chances are, you and your partner already have your own unique way of using words to encourage and support each other. Words are, after all, very powerful!
When working out together, consider the positive comments that would motivate you to keep going. Ask your partner if their style of affirming words matches yours. Take it as an opportunity to grow your communication together.
What type of confidence will you build by working on getting or keeping your body healthy along with your partner?
Working out with a romantic partner has so many benefits! Instead of working out with the regular gym buddy, you’ll be improving the quality of your relationship, feeling more motivated to exercise, and happier all around. You’ll have endless opportunities to boost your and your partner’s confidence!
So try it once and see how it goes. If you and your partner feel its benefits, you may even decide to turn it into a daily date!
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