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Fitness for couples: Sign up today!

Sonal D'Silva | February 13, 2006

Tired of the same old Valentine's Day formula -- flowers for her, chocolates for him, candlelit dinner and a soppy movie?

imageOne of the best gifts that you can gift yourselves as a couple this Valentine's Day is to sign up for a fitness programme together.

It is time and money well spent and the benefits are long-term and visible if you stick with it.

What you decide to sign up for depends on your personal preferences.

We present an overview of your options. So get to it! After all there must be a reason why they say that couples that play together, stay together.

Benefits of working out together

~ Juntly Gonsalves, personal trainer and gym instructor at Inch By Inch, has personal experience training couples. He says couples tells us that working out with a partner provides a serious boost to your motivation and goals.

"Having someone to support and encourage you is good for your workout," he says. You are also less likely to give up on your workout plan for the year.

~ Working out with another person can be healthy competition and it can spur you to push yourself harder than you think you can go. (Note: Don't push too hard. Experts strongly advise stopping exercise the minute you begin to feel faint or ill.)

~ Working out with your partner gives both a better understanding of each other's bodies.

"You can monitor each other's form (posture and stance while working out) and, even in the absence of a trainer, help each other to exercise better," says Juntly.

~ With fitness as the common goal, you will both follow a healthy diet. There's no question then of binging on that rich chocolate sundae because your non-working out husband/ boyfriend wouldn't stop eating in front of you!

Before signing up

A couple of things to keep in mind before you sign up for an activity:

~ Assess each partner's fitness level. If one is athletic and the other a couch potato, you will have to meet in the middle to find a fitness programme that suits both.

~ Find an activity that fits into both partners' schedules. One dropping out halfway through defeats the purpose.

What you can do

Take up yoga

You've read the articles, you've listened to your parents, and of course you've heard the celebrities go on and on about the benefits of yoga. Well, for once, everyone is right. With physiological, psychological and even spiritual benefits, you might as well try it out and share it with your partner.

~ Yoga works well as a couples activity because you can do it at your own pace and tailor it to your individual needs while still being in the same room with each other.

~ With partner yoga (two people work together in various yogic postures), you can assist and support your partner's poses as well. Don't try this without supervision though.

Join a gym

~ It's a whole lot more fun getting sweaty when you have someone around to see exactly how hard you work! Joining a gym with your partner is a great investment and you can help each other with both cardio and weight training exercises.

~ Aerobics programmes conducted in gyms are also a good option for couples.

~ Lots of gyms offer a special discount for couples. For instance, Gold's Gym is offering a discounted package as well as one month's free personal training for couples this Valentine's Day.

Qi Life (pronounced as kai), a gym located at Churchgate, Mumbai offers a 10 per cent discount on packages for couples.

Do a survey in your area and then choose the right gym for you and your partner.

~ Does the thought of getting up and going all the way to the gym put you off? It's very common and experts find that people who work out with partners tend to shrug that lazy feeling off faster.

Take up spinning

~ Unless you're newly in love, we're pretty sure your head has stopped spinning from the ecstasy! The spinning we're talking about here is an indoor cycling workout that people swear by when it comes to fitness. 

~ This high-energy group workout increases endurance, works the lower body and contributes to general fitness. People who spin love the vibe at a spinning class -- a whole group of people working to the maximum while the thumping music and motivational messages from an instructor keep you going.

~ They say you can burn between 600-800 calories from one 40-minute spin session. And it's fun too! Sounds like the kind of thing you want to do with your partner.

Take up a couple's sport

If you don't want to join a gym, Juntly suggests taking up a sport together like tennis, badminton or squash.

Train together for a marathon

Instead of jogging aimlessly, a couple can train for the marathon.

If you're happy enough with your appearance and health to not want to exercise, you need a bigger goal in mind -- training for the marathon together is just the right thing.

Just make sure you're training safely and be wary of putting pressure on your joints. Consult a trainer if you have to before getting started.

Nutrition tips

Shivani Kadakia, nutritionist and fitness counsellor at Gold's Gym, makes an interesting point.

She says, "Many times we find that husbands don't like it when their wives diet too much. If you are in a joint fitness programme, you both can contribute to a balanced nutrition plan for each other."

Stay focussed on your common goal and you're less likely to slip up. Juntly tells us that couples who workout together tend to keep a watch not only on their own diet but the other's eating habits as well. So expect your partner to send you on a good guilt-trip if you binge!

Shivani's nutrition tip for all couples this Valentine's: Celebrate without the rich sinful dessert! Try a fruit platter or delicious flavoured yoghurt, instead.

Take our advice; commit to a fitness programme this Valentine's. It really is a good thing to do for your relationship.

If that doesn't convince you, then this sound logic from the Reese Witherspoon-starrer Legally Blonde should do the trick, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands, they just don't!"

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