Sweating With Your Sweetie

Contemplating what to get your better half for the holidays? Nothing will make their heart race like the gift of exercise. Recent studies show sharing this gift with your partner may be most beneficial in more ways than one.


“Research shows that 94 percent of couples stick with their fitness programs when they work out together,” says certified personal trainer and fitness DVD star Jari Love, according to a recent article by Fitness Magazine.


Doug and Karen Grigsby joined the Parks almost a year ago and both signed up for personal training about six months ago. Doug and Karen enjoy working out together when they can, but when their schedules don’t permit they always have their trainers to hold them accountable.


“I have to have a buddy,” Karen says. When she can’t workout with Doug, Karen works out with her friend Brandy or one of her personal trainers. “I would have failed with in a month if I hadn’t had Brandy or Gina and RJ (her trainers).” Karen has lost 50 pounds in the last year.


Kids, work, responsibilities and social obligations are always challenging our consistency to hit the gym. All these factors can especially make it hard to mesh schedules with your other half, but studies show it is worth the extra effort.


According to the Huffington Post, ‘“one University of Denver study found that couples who have fun together, by stepping away from responsibilities like childcare, bills and work, report happier marriages in the long run. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant,” lead researcher Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies told USA Today at the time of the study’s release.’


Parks members Spencer Roichaux and Nisha Loganantharaj make Brian’s Saturday TRX class a weekly habit. And on the occasion they have to miss, the couple schedules a one-on-one training session with Brian at a more convenient time. “Working out together forces both of us to come. We both have competitive personalities so it pushes us more and creates a healthy lifestyle to share,” Spencer says.


Members Richard and Jen Stierwald also both enjoy taking TRX class together as part of their weekly fitness routine. “It is really our only hobby together.” She says. Richard prefers weights and Jen is Zumba certified, but they both hate running and enjoy the next-day sore feeling from a great workout. “Since TRX we really found something we like together,” Jen says.


According to registered dietician and health writer Melanie Thomassian’s article, “5 Benefits of Exercise for a Healthy Marriage,” published on marriage blog Simple Marriage, exercising together fosters closeness, improving intimacy while increasing energy and self-confidence, and reducing stress.


“It helps your marriage because it gets you all hot and bothered,” Parks employee Lauren Almquist says.


She and her husband Chad, prior to the recent birth of their daughter Stella, used to engage in a 6 a.m. couples workout with friends. Lauren explained they would do exercises that incorporated both partners at the same time, such has having someone hold the other person’s feet in an exercise, or tossing a medicine ball to the other person during an exercise. “We really had fun more than anything. It is nice to have that time to spend with your significant other.”


According to an article written by James Manson, Director of Exercise Physiology at Cleveland Clinic Canada, “Spouses or couples who work out together create a social support network that benefits them both, explains Mr. Manson. Working out together acts as a motivator to increase individual activity and encourages long-term healthy habits.”

If one couple is a testament to that statement it is Parks members Gene and Marji Simon. The couple has been working out together since before they were married. Before the Parks existed, they would meet at their prior club, workout together, or Gene would play racquetball while Marji did her own workout, and they would meet at the bar later for dinner and beers. After they had kids, it turned into a family event on Saturdays. Now they do training sessions together with a Park’s personal trainer when they can.

We both share desire to take good care of ourselves being able to spend disposable time together in the same place (the Parks), being productive is even better.” Gene says. “We enjoy each others company, we both are playfully competitive and it is a lot of fun!” Marji says. “We really value the time we have together!”

This holiday season don’t let time with your honey take you away from the gym, let the Parks help bring you closer together while you get a head start on your New Years’ fitness goals.  Grab a towel; get next to your guy or gal, and soak up the healthy benefits while you wipe away the sweat.

–Kristie Andres