If you and your partner are feeling sluggish, there's no better time than the new year to get in shape together -- and there are a few small steps you can take to do just that. For professional advice on getting in shape as a couple, we chatted with personal training specialist Andie Clement (www.andiethefitgeek.com) about some of the best ways couples can make and stick to their get-healthy New Year's resolutions.
1. Sign up for a race
"One of the best ways for couples to get in shape together is to sign up for a race in the spring," says Clement, who emphasizes that training together toward a common goal is a "great way to keep each other motivated." Most spring and summer races require that you begin your training in the new year -- and you're less likely to back out once you've signed up and committed to the challenge.
You don't have to commit to a marathon, though: a five- or 10-kilometre race will seem like a more achievable goal. If you'd like to run a longer distance, Clement notes that some races have a relay option where each partner runs half the race.
2. Challenge each other
Regardless of whether you and your partner can get to a gym or not, there are little things you can do each day to keep one another on track. Setting challenges for each other is a great way to do it.
"Try something like seeing who can do more squats up against a wall, or who can do the most jumping jacks without stopping," says Clement. Not only are you and your partner more likely to revel in a little friendly competition, but it will also be a great motivating tool to keep you working on your fitness levels, both when you're together and when you're apart. (Because you can't let them have the upper hand, right?)
"Partnering exercises at the gym are also great," says Clement. She suggests challenges such as: facing away from each other, placing a medicine ball between your backs, or squatting down to see who can hold out the longest.
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3. Try group exercise
Group exercise classes have been growing in popularity over the last number of years, with many gyms offering them to their members at no extra charge. Also a great way to get out and meet new people, group exercise classes are designed to be a way for fitness-goers to experience a variety of different challenges while working at their own pace. "Any kind of group exercise class is always fun," says Clement, "but they are always more fun when you do them with others."
When taking up a group exercise class with your partner, Clement suggests a constant change up in your routine. Try signing up for a yoga class with your partner one week, and then try a workout like CrossFit, which appeals more to the male crowd, the following week.
4. Join a co-ed recreational sports league
Take your passion for watching soccer or baseball off the couch and into your local community centre. Community teams offer a healthy dose of friendly competition and, since the sports offered switch up with the seasons, you won't get bored. Try curling in the winter, softball in the spring, volleyball in the summer and soccer in the fall.
"Joining a co-ed recreational team with your partner is a great way to keep active, have fun and meet new people," says Clement. Look up local leagues online or check out your local community centre's website to see if they offer recreational leagues.
Physical fitness can have a huge impact on one's overall well-being, both as an individual and as a couple. Working together toward a common goal, doing something you both enjoy and getting to spend more time together are all great ways to strengthen your bond as a couple, and your bodies for a brighter and healthier new year.
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