Couples That Sweat Together...
Couples that seek to challenge traditional ideas of aging together put themselves in a position to live long, active lives.
While there are several benefits to getting fit and healthy with your partner, perhaps the most important is that you can create more quality time together—for now and for later. Prioritizing fitness with your loved one can slow the aging process, allowing you to not only spend more time with the love of your life but also ensuring those years are rich and full of vitality.
With this goal in mind, it’s important to have the right plan. Read on for ideas on how to put that plan together.
Recognize that Healthy Telomeres Are Key
Before putting a fitness plan in place, it may help to shift your mindset about aging. While there is no way to travel back in time, molecular biologist and Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn explains that people have more control over the aging process than we previously realized.
The key to fighting traditional ideas of aging is to treat your telomeres right. Telomeres are the end caps on the strands of your DNA; longer telomeres tend to indicate higher chances of extending lifespan. “Telomeres listen to you, they listen to your behaviors, they listen to your state of mind,” says Blackburn.
What exactly happens when you send your telomeres the right signals? They start acting younger, explains Helen Blau of Stanford University.
In speaking about extending telomeres through proper treatment, Blau says, “treated cells behave as if they are much younger than untreated cells, multiplying with abandon in the laboratory dish rather than stagnating or dying.”
Getting physical is a key part of that treatment.
Fight Aging the Fun Way
If you think fighting aging has to be a chore, think again.
A recent study connects a healthy sex life to a longer life. In the study, women who had sex at least once per week had longer telomeres, even when adjusted for other factors that could affect the results.
The study’s lead researcher, Tomás Cabeza de Baca of the University of California, San Francisco, says that this study is just the start of a whole field of research on the relationship between sex, telomeres and longevity.
“One internal mechanism organisms are equipped with to overcome telomere shortening is telomerase,” he explains, “We wanted to examine whether sexual intimacy, within the context of a committed long-term relationship, may offer protective benefits to these markers of general health.”
Seems like as good as a reason as any to exercise with your partner.
Teamwork Makes Your Dream Work
A key part of extending your own healthspan is incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Studies show that people are more likely to stick to such a routine when they do it with their spouse. Laura Donnelly, health editor at The Telegraph, points to a study that examined 3,000 couples and found that when a couple tries to get healthy together, each person is three times more likely to succeed than if they tried it alone. Couples who exercised, underwent weight loss surgery, or took other measures to lose weight all experienced better results when taking on their challenges as a pair.
Dr. David Lacocque, a clinical and sport psychologist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Department, agrees that couples can benefit from exercising together. However, Lacocque warns that it’s important to talk to each other before starting a workout routine. Healthy communication and being patient with your partner are key to success It’s important to remember that you are both vulnerable and working toward the same goals.
Become Better Partners
Getting fit together doesn’t just keep your vitality and energy buzzing; it can make you better at being a couple.
Research shows that working out together makes each person in a couple happier with the relationship. Researchers at Stony Brook University found that couples who do exciting activities together report higher satisfaction in their relationships.
Theresa E. DiDonato, PhD, writes in Psychology Today that there are many other relationship-boosting effects to getting fit together. Those include more efficient workouts, a deeper romantic connection and a better emotional bond. “A growing body of evidence suggests that couples who sweat together really do stay together,” she says.
Better Chance at Creating Healthy Habits Together
In much the same way that exercising with your partner makes you more likely to stick to the plan, you have greater odds of success in many other health goals if you go about it with your partner. Sarah E. Jackson, PhD and fellow researchers found that when one partner loses five percent of their weight or more, the other partner is three times as likely to do the same.
Karen Kaplan, the health and science editor at the LA Times, explains that this halo effect from a partner even overrides smoking habits. “For instance, male smokers whose wives didn't smoke when they joined the study were twice as likely to quit in the next two years than were men whose wives were smokers as well,” writes Kaplan.
If your goals include dieting together, be sure to go into it with the right mindset. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your own happiness and success. Dr. Rebecca Pinkus of the University of Western Sydney says that if you feel compelled to compare your partner’s success to your own, make sure to feel happy for your loved one, too. If you cannot help but feel envious of your partner’s success, it may be better to follow a similar plan without comparing notes. It all depends on your relationship, communication style and goals.
Tips for Making a Joint Fitness Plan Work
It’s important to have a game plan as you develop new health routines. Below are some expert tips to get you started:
- Keep the junk out of your house. Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, found that making junk food harder to get makes you much less likely to eat it. Out of sight, out of mind—and off your waistline.
- Stay open to new workouts. Ashley Mateo at Bustle says this can help you both feel motivated and excited. Plus, you never know what you’ll love.
- Go at your own paces, together. Arianne Brown, a writer who got fit with her husband, notes that it’s important to remember that you do not have to keep the same pace. In Brown's words, "My husband is much faster than I am, and expecting him to run my pace every day is just not fair...There are days when we run the entire time together and days that we don’t, but we always make sure to start and end together."
- Remember that each healthy choice is a way of taking care of yourself. NYC-based therapist Kathryn Smerling, PhD, emphasizes the importance of shifting your mindset toward the positive, especially if you want to lose weight. She suggests you "surround yourself with positive people" and adds, "don't be afraid to ask for help or support." Finding your tribe and staying on the sunny side is a proven game changer when trying to shed some pounds.
Get the Right Supplements
When it’s time to get serious about increasing your vitality, you and your spouse may want to consider nutritional supplements. Our VitaYears™ Anti-Aging Multivitamin is designed to give you the boost you need to live the life you desire.
Getting fit and fighting aging with your partner may present a few challenges, but the benefits can be amazing. You are more likely to eat healthier, stick to your exercise routine and live a healthy life with your loved one for years to come.