Whether at the gym, outdoors or simply taking a walk, these couples make fitness a priority in their lives. Motivating each other to stay active, they have found they not only enjoy their exercise routines more, but also cherish the time spent together working up a sweat.
Although conflicting schedules and a number of other factors may keep you from exercising with your significant other, a number of studies show that there are great benefits.
• A 2001 study published in Quest (the journal of the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education) showed couples who take on a fitness program together had a higher exercise adherence rate.
• A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that couples who exercise together are more likely to stick with an exercise program.
• According to a study done by Indiana University, couples who exercise together are 34 percent more likely to show up at the gym for workouts than those who work out apart.
• The American Council on Exercise (ACE) shows numerous studies link a direct correlation between exercise and an improved sex life.
Bill and Cathy Furbish
This dynamic couple infuses their life with fun and fitness. “When I was asked how sports, fitness and recreation affected my relationship with my wife and family, it really made me think,” Bill says. “In retrospect, I hadn’t realized how important a factor it was. First of all, it was how we met. Cathy was a Shepherd Center employee and volunteer, and I was part of the Shepherd Center wheelchair rugby team.”
Cathy would help the team during practice and she traveled all over the nation with them as they competed in tournaments. She also helped Bill run clinics to teach disabled people how to water ski. “It wasn’t long before we started dating and subsequently married and started a family,” Bill recalls.
Over the years, sports continued to play an important role in their lives, not only helping them stay active and healthy, but also creating an atmosphere of personal development for their family.
Throughout their lives together they have engaged in many sports. Cathy played soccer and water skis. Bill competed in the Paralympics in track and field and he still plays wheelchair rugby and water skis competitively. He has won gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics and the 2012 U.S. National Waterski Championships. “We believe in the motto, ‘the family that plays together, stays together,'” Cathy says. “Bill and I also agreed that we are better, more tolerant spouses and parents when we get to exercise.” Their oldest daughter, Meredith, stays fit performing on aerial silks, while their younger daughter, Teagan, plays soccer, basketball and rock climbs. “As a family, we enjoy playing on the water and hiking up Stone Mountain. Sports provide us many avenues to support each other!”
“We believe that the purpose of sports is multifold: health, wellness and personal development of our kids. We also participate for fun, for fellowship and to satisfy the need for competition. It is all about recreation with a purpose.”
Shannon Sharpe and Katy Kellner
Katy and Shannon credit the gym for not only keeping them fit, but also bringing them together. “Working out is a passion for Shannon and me,” Katy says. “In fact, our romance began in a gym!”
While their diverse schedules keep them busy (Katy is a teacher and Shannon is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and commentator for CBS’s “The NFL Today”), they always find time for each other and to work out. Besides regularly attending Flywheel Sports spin classes together, they also lift weights. They make their workout sessions “dates” and look at these times as an important opportunity to stay healthy and spend quality time together.
“Fitness has had a positive effect on our relationship because it is a common interest that we both feel very passionate about,” Katy says. “We work out together, and that allows us to spend much more quality time together.”
Today, they continue to be a wonderful support system for each other when it comes to staying fit. They help each other plan their workouts and keep motivated.
“Our best fitness advice to others is first, good bodies are made in the kitchen and second, consistency is the key.”
Ryan and Jen Harris
Rather than frequenting a standard gym, Ryan and Jen stay in shape by visiting rock climbing areas throughout the Southeast. “We encourage each other to use exercise as a way to escape the daily stresses of work, traffic, etc.,” Ryan explains. “Once you’re 60 feet off the ground, it all goes away and you are immersed in that moment.”
Climbing has strengthened their relationship because they are forced to rely on each other for support and safety. “We are not just keeping each other company as we exercise, we are also trusting each other as a belayer,” Ryan says. “At the end of a good climbing session we often feel peace between ourselves as we have shared powerful moments with each other.”
While climbing is the main activity they share, they also go snowboarding together. Apart, Jen enjoys Pilates while Ryan has wakeboarded for over a decade and plays disc golf weekly. These types of activities get them away from the mundane, day-to-day schedules and allow them to experience new places and people. “We push each other to try a little harder (each time we climb), but most importantly, have fun and enjoy each other’s company.”
“Our advice to others trying to stay fit would be to explore all of the natural resources available in your area, find something you enjoy and stick with it!”
Aaron and Cindy Pols
As a personal trainer, diet and exercise have always been an important part of Aaron’s life. When he met his wife, Cindy, she was also on board to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “We find that we provide both accountability and support for one another,” Cindy says. “The biggest key to sustained motivation is establishing a routine. Exercise must be built into your day, and it certainly helps keep you in line when your partner knows if you’ve slacked off!”
Together they enjoy exercising at the gym before work, and continually strive to support each other. The result? They can enjoy a great meal with a nice glass of wine at the end of the day, guilt-free. “We have found that balancing work, exercise and diet has made us not only feel healthier and look fit, but we actually get along better,” Aaron says.
This has become the norm for them—work hard, exercise hard and play hard. Cindy explains they often change up their exercise routine to keep it interesting as well as to foster improvements in strength and endurance. “We’ve found that fitness activities themselves are a way for us to spend quality time together,” she says. “In general, a proper fitness routine helps smooth out our emotional well-being, allowing us to relate well to one another. It also impacts our individual confidence, which is beneficial to all aspects of keeping our relationship healthy.”
“Our advice to other couples is to hold one another accountable and you will both be much happier in how you look and feel.”
Troy and Gaby Yohn
This active couple feel strongly about the importance of exercise. “We both knew that finding somebody that shares that same passion was an important attribute for a successful relationship,” Gaby says.
When they first started working out together, they were doing the traditional workouts by lifting weights in the gym and doing a little running mixed in with the occasional game of tennis. “These workouts helped us have fun and spend time together and got us in great shape,” Gaby explains. However, after a while, they went through the same problems most people encounter: the workouts got stale and they found they exercised less and less.
Halfway through their seven-year marriage, they started a property renovation company called Creative Lifestyles LLC, which added more stress and demands on their relationship. They knew they needed to bring the fun back to their workouts, so they decided to try Core Fusion and yoga classes at exhale atlanta. These classes, coupled with playing on tennis leagues, helped them refocus their energy to succeed in their business and relationship.
“Play together, work out together and have some fun together in everything that you do.”
Ken Goldwasser and Randi Layne
Randi and Ken have always been fit-minded, and together they have continued this outlook. “Morning workouts are key for us,” Randi says. “If we don’t do it then it just doesn’t seem to happen.” Together they motivate each other to keep fit and active. “We really enjoy working out together. We don’t compete, just encourage.”
Randi was a classically trained dancer and ballet instructor for years. Working in the fashion industry requires her to be in top shape, so her regimen includes regular weight training, aerobics and yoga.
Ken has participated in a variety of team and individual sports throughout his life, including the world of professional motorsports, both on and off the track.
They both enjoy walking together, taking an occasional exercise class and eating local, fresh and organic foods. “Our long walks give us the opportunity to communicate about everything. We plan, problem solve and create while taking a brisk walk. It’s cathartic,” Randi says.
They also love to cook and experiment with flavors and preparation. There are many Sunday afternoons that you can find them both in the kitchen with the extended family in close proximity.
“We believe that an ‘all things in moderation, including moderation’ approach is a great philosophy.”