Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore—get in shape and have some fun together.

getting fit with your partner

You’ve likely heard the saying “Couples who play together, stay together.” But it’s more than just a timeworn cliché: Studies have shown that couples who work out together are also 94 per cent more likely to stick to their fitness regimens. Plus, there’s a proven connection between fitness and better sex lives. Here’s how you and your mate can reap the relationship rewards of getting in shape as a duo.

1. Om, baby! Yoga is great for strengthening and elongating muscles, toning and building core strength, but it’s also been proven to provide stress-relieving, psychological and spiritual benefits, making it the perfect activity to engage in with your soulmate. If your partner doesn’t feel ready to head to a class yet, get a yoga DVD or download an app (Daily Yoga is great; $9.99, available for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch). Or, turn the heat way up with hot yoga or super-hot yoga: At Iyashi Bedrock Spa in Toronto, classes are conducted on black silica bedrock that helps you sweat toxins and calories away.

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2. You lift me up. Weight training is an ideal activity for couples to engage in together because you don’t need to be at the same fitness level—and you’ve got a built-in spotter! Invest in at-home weights or a weight machine, or book time to visit the gym together. As always, be supportive and encouraging rather than overly competitive, and don’t forget to work in some cardio as well, perhaps by walking or running to the gym or by climbing on side-by-side elliptical machines. Remember that some competition in a relationship can be healthy, but the name of the game here is support, whatever activity you choose to do together.

3. Run for your love. Studies have shown that running with another person can make your results twice as good as they would be if you ran alone—and what better person to support you in your four-minute mile ambition than your life partner? Set goals, celebrate milestones and be supportive. Once you’ve firmly ingrained running as part of your fitness routine, truly commit: Think about training for a marathon or half-marathon together. Even better, if the marathon is in a different city, you can make a romantic weekend out of it.

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4. Fair fighting. One of the rules of a successful relationship is to never use your partner as an emotional punching bag. But if you decide to take a boxing, boxercise or kickboxing class together, you may be able to work out some aggression without hurting any feelings. Boxing builds endurance and muscle strength and also relieves stress. Plus, let’s face it: It can be rather exciting to see your buttoned-up partner let loose and channel his inner Rocky Balboa.

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5. Bicycling built for two. Love is a journey—and so is a bike ride! Setting out on cycling adventures with your partner is a sure way to change your fitness routine and improve your relationship. First, be sure both your bikes are in good working order and that you have helmets and water bottles. (A nice cycling outfit probably wouldn’t hurt, either.) Start out small by choosing destinations that are close to home and on level ground. Next, work your way up to longer rides and more challenging terrain. Visit lakeside or forest trails and pack a (healthy) picnic to enjoy mid- or post-ride and suddenly, you’ve cooked up a refreshingly romantic date that also burns up to 500 calories per hour!

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6. On the same team. Particularly for relationships that are stuck in a rut, taking up a new activity together can breathe life into many areas of your lives. Consider an extreme sport, like ultimate Frisbee or dodgeball, or go for something a little more conservative, like volleyball or baseball. You’ll meet new people, and the fun, team-oriented environment won’t put the same amount of pressure on your relationship as engaging in an activity that only involves the two of you might.

7.  Sweet strolling. Kick the habit of sitting in front of the television or plugging into your devices after dinner and go for a post-meal walk. A study published in 2013 in the journal Diabetes Care showed that a 15-minute walk in the evening after a meal improved blood sugar levels more than a 45-minute walk in the morning. You can also work walks into date night by choosing a restaurant that’s within walking distance but far enough to challenge you. Walk there and back, hand in hand, and burn extra calories while ramping up the quality of time you spend together.

8. Dance with me. Dancing burns up to 300 calories per hour, improves circulation and is a fantastic way to bond with your partner. Think salsa or swing rather than the more sedate ballroom, or simply hit the town together and get your groove on at a club. (Just remember not to do more harm than good by consuming too many calorie-laden cocktails during your dance session.)

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