I love to workout, I love my partner but I don’t love to work out with my partner. Does this seem familiar to you?
Often for men and women, our bodies will be very different, our motivations will be very different, and our abilities will be very different – but despite our differences we want life long partnerships, successful marriages and families, and enduring love.
It is unclear for many of us how to achieve this, especially with few good examples around us.
Neither set of our parents succeeded in their relationship, and neither of us grew up with both our mother and father in the same home. We both view these separations as failures that bore negative consequences for us; therefore, we are committed to staying together.
Being the best we possibly can as partners and parents for our daughter and any future children is what we strive for in our lives and marriage. This is also what motivated us to create Happy Couple Workout.
Happy Couple Workout is an equipment free, joyful workout program that is based on the understanding that nothing creates a more powerful cocktail of bonding hormones than touch and exercise. Let us explain this a little bit further.
Skin is our largest organ, and positive touch improves our overall wellbeing. Just holding hands results in a decrease of the stress hormone cortisol.
A simple hug can decrease cortisol levels and increase “cuddle chemicals” like oxytocin, which not only reduces anxiety but makes us feel safe and bonded with our partner.
Positive touch is very effective in reducing stress and increasing contentment.
When you work out or play a sport, your body releases other “feel good” hormones like endorphins, testosterone, and serotonin. These chemicals reduce stress, dull the perception of pain, and work to raise your energy levels.
Dopamine is also released during exercise—the very same hormone that helps you reach orgasm during sex.
So, imagine a soccer-enthusiast husband who enjoys playing in an amateur league. At practice and in games, he gets his “exercise hormones” and blood pumping from running, kicking, and jumping.
When he or a team member scores, positive touch such as hugs and high-fives are passed around, together with affirming words of praise. Playing soccer gives him all the hormonal benefits described above, all in a light-hearted, friendly atmosphere that takes his mind off of anything negative.
This is all healthy, but what if this husband is escaping to his Saturday games because he dreads being home? What if he is spending more time with his soccer buddies than with his own wife and kids?
It is important to develop strategies to relieve toxic stress and share positive touch and physical activity together with your partner. Otherwise, we risk poisoning the very relationship that could strengthen us.
Too many couples grow apart because they unknowingly deprive themselves of all the happy hormones that come with touch and exercise.
Sex, of course, is the most obvious activity to satisfy these basic human needs. But why limit these great feelings to just one intimate activity that requires privacy and, often for parents, some creative scheduling?
We need other forms of touch and exercise to keep us bonded and feeling good about our partnership.
This guest post was provided by:
Rickard Newman is a certified personal trainer and co-creator of Happy Couple Workout. He has a background in Communications and inspirational coaching. Originally from Sweden, he is a marathon runner and former Ironman who loves being an active dad.
Alana Newman is an author, wife and mother. She is involved in the Fatherhood Movement. Her work has been featured in Newsweek, NPR and BBC and publications around the world. Her mission is to inspire couples to stay together and keep families across America intact.