April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
Now that it's summer, what better way to rev up your dating routine than to take a page from the celebrity playbook and get hot and heavy with your guy -- by working out together!
Just last week, real-life Glee couple Lea Michele and Cory Monteith were photographed leaving a gym. Reese Witherspoon and her new hubby Jim Toth run together, uber-hotties Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady go hiking, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts enjoy running and biking together and Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest share a trainer. Why should they have all the fun?
There are many reasons to work out as a couple, says Jim White, registered dietitian, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Everyone complains about not having enough time together as a couple -- kill two birds with one stone: get your workout in while spending quality time with one another," he tells HealthySELF. "This will give the two of you a common interest and a mutual goal that will keep your relationship fresh."
Plus, says White, "Nothing like a little friendly competition to rekindle the fire and make the old seem new again!" Working out together also provides motivation: White says couples are more likely to stick to a workout plan than their single counterparts.
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Finally, White points out, "We all know that exercise releases feel-good chemicals that make you happy and less stressed, but did you know it also increases arousal and libido?" White says couples report that they have better and more frequent sex as a result. "And when is that ever a bad thing?"
As for getting taking your exercise routine outside, the benefits are myriad. White says many studies show that exercising in the natural environment improves your mental well-being. "It leads to feelings of revitalization, increased energy, positive engagement and greater satisfaction," says White. "It also decreases tension, confusion, anger and depression, and individuals also claim to enjoy their activity more, thus creating the desire to repeat the activity."
Ready to grab your guy (or even just a friend) and get outside? Here are 5 fun ideas that will have you spending time together and getting in shape together -- win, win!
1. If you love the elliptical ... go for a hike.
Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it -- the more you carry, the better your workout! The elliptical burns 594 to 773 calories per hour, while hiking varies. According to White, you have to take terrain into account, but you can count on burning approximately 420 calories over an hour-long hike carrying nothing. A light load can increase your calorie burn up to 50-100 extra calories and a heavier one can add up to an extra 200 calories. "Terrain is also going to intensify the calorie burn as well," says White. "For example, flat, rocky ground will burn more than a flat grassy surface, and uphill is more difficult, thus burning more calories than a smooth, flat plain." Bonus: Your body has to compensate for the uneven terrain, which is great for toning muscle!
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2. If you're a Zumba addict ... take your moves outdoors!
Your indoor Zumba class has you burning anywhere from 360-532 calories per hour at a moderate intensity, according to White. While your sweetie might not be up for an outdoor Zumba class, White says, "Outdoor concerts are great places to dance and burn off calories." Or, you can just put some music on and boogie away under the sky. "It doesn't have to be Zumba-style," says White. "Listen to your favorite music and just dance. It's a great workout!"
3. If you're obsessed with Spinning ... go for a bike ride.
Spinning at the gym burns about 320 calories an hour, while White says biking outdoors at a moderate pace (about 12-13.9 miles/hour) will have you burning 410-560 calories. Extra points for finding a scenic route and packing a yummy picnic lunch.
4. If you're a weight-training kind of gal ... sign the two of you up for an outdoor boot camp or find a local obstacle or training course to tackle.
Regular weight training burns about 250 calories an hour. "Outdoor bootcamps, obstacle courses, park equipment and bodyweight exercises will burn about 528 calories," says White. "The variety and types of exercise are endless, limited only by your imagination, and I guarantee that you won't be clock-watching like you are in the gym!"
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5. If you're loyal to the treadmill ... register for a local run with your guy.
On the treadmill, you'll burn about 600 calories an hour at a 6.0 pace, and White says it's pretty much the same for running outdoors, but keep in mind that the treadmill does some of the work for you. "When you are running or walking outdoors, you are forced to propel yourself against the wind, making it more challenging," says White. If you and your guy sign up for a 5K or 10K, you'll have all those training sessions to bond over, and the money you spend usually goes to a good cause. Plus, says White, during the actual event, "You'll run faster feeding off the adrenaline of the crowds."
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April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine