Hello everybody! Welcome to my blog.
A few posts ago, I gave you 13 reasons why you should start doing exercise, here is the link if you want to read it:
One of the reasons was socialising, and today I would like to go a little bit deeper on this subject.
Even though this post is more focused on romantic relationships, it is perfectly applicable to other type of partnerships: friendship, teammates, parents and children, siblings, etc.
It is known that those who train together, stay together. We see this all the time in team sports. It feels like there are no bad feelings between players. A great example of this is football (soccer). When Real Madrid plays against Atlético de Madrid, there are fights and confrontations, but when the same players play together for the Spanish team, they are not just really good friends, they are brothers in arms. There’s something about belonging to the same team that causes their brains to click, and they can play fantastic games together.
Even in an individual sports like athletics, when they compete for a team championships or when they do relays events, there is this complicity between the teammates that only they can understand. We even see opponents at the end of the races hugging each other, no matter the result.
This is no different for couples. You go to the gym, and you see these couples working out together. You can tell these couples are happy, they have fun together, and you ask yourself, what is their secret?
Their secret is the science behind exercising together. Given that exercising is engaging because of the hormones secreted, it is even more engaging when you work out with someone. When we socialise, we secrete other hormones that, alongside with the ones secreted by exercising, creates a cocktail of endorphines that you just want go back for again and again.
I am one of the sportiest girls you may ever know. I love running, cycling, swimming, rock climbing. Pass me a ball and even though I suck at soccer, I will do my best to keep up the game. I tend to walk everywhere rather than taking the bus, and I am not scared of the “lunks” at the gym. In fact, I am a proud personal trainer that sometimes beats the boys. Nonetheless, half of these things can be difficult for me to do if I am not doing them with my partner.
When we socialise, we secrete the hormones oxytocin and dopamine. Quoting my other post “dopamine helps us decrease our stress levels. It can even help with depression, reducing pain and increasing pleasure, which leaves us with a feeling of well-being. This then leads to improvements in our mental health”.
Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone”. It is used in medications given to people diagnosed with clinical depression.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to visit the doctor to get medicines containing oxytocin. You just need to socialise.
Now we have the hormones playing on our side, but what makes us bond with our partner is not just the fact that we trained together, it is also the before and after:
- Before we exercise with our partner, we need to get ourselves ready.
We will need to do research and find out what type of activity we would like to do together. Is it joining a gym? Maybe going rock climbing? Perhaps we find it very funny to go to a trampoline park or even join a team sports activity. Whatever it is, we will find out together.
We might even need to go shopping and get some new sporty clothes and material for the activity. Do this together as well, help each other to find the things that fit best. Remember, the number one person you want to impress is yourself, but always followed by your partner.
As you can see, even before we do exercise, we are spending time with our partner looking for the activity we are going to do together and the material that we are going to need.
- After that activity, we will talk to our partner about how it went. If it was the first time, we will have to ask ourselves if we both enjoyed it, if we liked the instructor, if we are looking forward to coming back or if we’d rather try something different.
This is an important dialogue that will help each other to understand what we want and what the other wants. It is crucial that we listen to each other and try to compromise if we have different feelings about the activity. This way, we are building our sympathy towards each other. Oxytocin happens to be a promoter of sympathy, so after a training session together, it may be easier to talk about different issues that may be going on.
These are some of the immediate benefits from the very first time that we do exercise together. The day after, you both may have some soreness, and it’s great to go through them with someone that is suffering the same. It sounds funny but suffering from the same problem will help you feel compassion for the other, becoming less selfish and individualistic. This can help tightening ties with your partner.
With time and practice, all the other benefits of doing exercise will come, generating and endless chain of benefits. At some point, exercising together will be an important part of your schedule, meaning that you are spending quality time with each other, doing something really good for your physical and mental health.