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The Synergy of Two

By: Lily C. FenThe Synergy of Two

Identifying and supporting each other’s fitness goals can be a valuable thing for a couple. Moving and sweating together can enhance their connection and add a new flavor to the dynamics of their relationship. Below are top ways for couples to get fit together while drawing closer to each other.

City Walk

Head to the Academic Oval that dominates the campus of the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus. On Sundays, the entire oval is closed for automobiles, giving couples yet another reason to stroll in a wide space which is also lined with tall trees.  It is indeed a green haven in the midst of Metro Manila.

You can also try the pathway in BGC called Greenway Park. But if you live in a quiet neighborhood, go for a walk around the village at a time that suits you best. In my case, I like Saturday and Sunday evenings, but some people like to wake up early to have their morning exercise before heading to the office. When out of the city, I recommend beach walks: say, walking down the stretch of Boracay’s White Beach from end to end. Going for walks together allows the couple to not only track their walking progress but also encourage each other to go further.  

A hike through nature

When my husband and I were dating, he took me out on a walking trail in the Palawan Jungle. This was new to me: I could not believe that he was making me walk in the tropical heat for an entire hour and a half. But we managed that one together, and then another hike followed, and another. Eventually, I could go on a two or three-hour hike with him.

Years later, we could reach up to eight-hour hikes together, sometimes even scaling a steep hill or two. It took some time, but I learned to appreciate hiking for what it was: not only were we getting fit, hiking was a meditative practice. It was a great metaphor for life—it wasn’t just about reaching the goal, but about enjoying what the trail offers and taking in the beauty of the Philippine landscape. Communing with nature while with your significant other increases happiness. In addition, exposure to sunlight leads us to produce vitamin D, which helps produce serotonin, according to Anny Misa Hefti, a Filipina psychologist based in Switzerland.

Have a swim

With more than 7,000 islands and countless beaches that peppered all sides of the coast, the Philippines is the best place to swim. You can also visit a local swimming pool if you don’t have time to drive or fly out to your ideal beach destination. I find this activity to be relaxing and fun, as it offers a wonderful escape from the urban jungle. Best of all, it can also be a form of workout.

Say, for example, you’re off to Boracay for a long weekend. In addition to languishing on the beach with a gigantic mango shake or chorizo burger, you can also jump into its turquoise water. One of my favorite things to do in Boracay is following the shore as I attempt to swim from Station 1 to 3. It’s quite a workout, so if your stamina isn’t up to speed, try a shorter distance and swim back. With a companion, you get to be safer in the water and it gives you time to bond with that person. Studies show that by doing simple tasks that we are used to, our performance tends to peak when in the presence of another human being. So get your partner to tag along when engaging in your favorite sport!

Water sports

In addition to doing laps, there is a multitude of water sports you can get into as a tandem. Try kayaking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, or surfing. Maria, a Manila-based image coach, says that the best time for her to engage in fitness activities with her operations manager husband is when they are island hopping. When out of the city, they would scuba dive and snorkel together, sometimes even climb waterfalls and jump off cliffs to get their adrenaline fix. Such activities are a refreshing way to bond, breaking the stereotype of the usual steak and red wine kind of dinner dates.

Get into a game of badminton

This activity comes with a lot of benefits—you get to work up a sweat through good cardiovascular exercise, improve your stamina, and burn off excess calories. It also improves your hand-eye coordination and teaches you a thing or two about teamwork, particularly if you’re playing doubles.

The gym

You don’t have to do every gym exercise together because chances are, you will both have different fitness and strength levels. But you can mirror each other while lifting different weights. Psychology Today cites several studies which show that the act of imitating each other’s movements leads to a sense of feeling “emotionally attuned with one another.”

Go out dancing

There are various ways to stay fit as a couple without heading to the gym. Go out for a night of dancing once a week. Work up a sweat, dance to your favorite tunes at a club, and improve your muscle tone and stamina while you’re at it. Not only that, the low lighting, dilated pupils, and sweaty palms can physically remind you what it means to fall in love with your partner—all over again.

The benefits of the fitness date

The advantages that come with working out together can be a welcome surprise. There’s the obvious: you’ll be fit before you know it. The added pizzazz of having company and conversation can make hours of working out go by faster.

Some may have the goal of losing weight, while others might aim to run their first 10k. At the end of the day, whatever your fitness goals are, the best takeaway is feeling good with your body. Exercising as a couple can enrich your relationship with each other: you practice cooperation and the act of waiting on each other. It also allows the couple to appreciate each other in their sweaty fitness gear.

However, some will have to adjust to the physical prowess or preferences of their partner: will it be calm walks or high-energy workouts like Zumba? Others love to be around nature. Whatever your type is, you will see improvements physically, emotionally, and mentally as you embark on a fitness course together. It’s a new kind of date, the fitness date.

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