If you are looking to get into shape for summer (we all want that beach body), it may be time to follow your spouse’s lead. If your spouse starts an exercise regimen, chances are, you will follow suit. Your gym trips can inspire the other to rise up from the couch.

The findings are from a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. While not peer-reviewed, the team will present at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas. From there, it will look for inclusion in a journal.

Study co-author Laura Cobb, a doctoral student, explained the phenomenon. “When it comes to physical fitness, the best peer pressure to get moving could be coming from the person who sits across from you at the breakfast table.”

Researchers used data from more than 3,200 married couples in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina. Participants provided exercise survey data at the initial visit, and then six years later.

Using the American Heart Association fitness guidelines, the team was able to group the couples. During the first visit, 45 percent of husbands and 35 percent of wives met the 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week the AHA recommends.

It was the six year mark where the results became compelling. Husbands were 70 percent more likely to be hitting the American Heart Association guidelines for exercise. Wives were 40 percent more likely to meet the levels.

It proves the power of couples. If one is doing the gym routine or morning run, the other is likely to follow suit. According to Cobb, public health officials should encourage the findings.

“There’s an epidemic of people in this country who don’t get enough exercise, and we should harness the power of the couple to ensure people are getting a healthy amount of physical activity,” Cobb said.

“We all know how important exercise is to staying healthy. This study tells us that one spouse could have a really positive impact on the other when it comes to staying fit and healthy for the long haul,” she concluded.

Exercise for Couples

Luckily we live in the Internet age. There are entire blogs devoted to couple exercise routines. And, it doesn’t have to be as boring as hitting the gym. Love the outdoors? Ride a bike together in the local park.

couple biking exercise

Need a little zen in your life. Yoga is still as popular as ever. You get the peace of mind, a workout and some crazy flexibility.

Maybe the gym, a leisurely bike ride and yoga all bore you. That Internet ADD extends to your everyday life. Plenty of workouts amp the intensity. Bootcamp style fitness programs, crossfit and even kickboxing. Hell, you can even take karate or boxing. Though, those workouts sound like you have some issues to work out.

couple crossfit fitness

If you are looking for more tips, Men’s Fitness has a list of 7 workout tips for the fitness-inclined couples.


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