BENGALURU:There is a whole set of fitness-related conversations happening around couples who exercise together, spot each other and play together - be it at the gym, or golf or swimming - couple sports such as tennis, badminton and others have been around forever.
Some activities, such as yoga, have gone a step beyond with a whole series of exercise routines being developed for couples to do together – poses that involve both the partners stretching and holding poses together. It might be as simple as a ‘tree’ pose with both parties standing with their back to each other, supporting each other and holding that pose for the minute or two, or it might be a far more complex yoga pose such as doing head stands facing each other, or any of the twisting poses.
The idea of working out together, stretching together, playing and getting hot and sweaty together. Is it a romanticising of the much-vaulted ‘couple time,’ is it an unnecessary social pressure to be a ‘we’ or is there genuinely some benefit to getting sweaty together?
Can sweat be sweeter together?
There is a big difference between sweating out in a competitive sport like tennis and activities such as yoga and salsa dancing, where the exercise is gentler and more fun without it getting to be a competitive space. While playing to win can bring amazing highs and get a couple to experience the highs together, it can also bring really difficult conflicts upfront, because of a few lost points or some other issues as happens in a sport. Learning a sport together where neither of the partners has experience in it, but have always been interested, can be really fun – like when you move into a new apartment complex and discover there is a squash court, for example.
On the other hand, doing something like salsa or yoga or some other activity, can help the couple observe each other a lot more closely, and get more connected. Just being able to be together in the same space and watch each other work through difficulties, supporting each other can really help improve communication, and can also help in feeling more attracted to each other. All of that is predicted on one thing: Is the game or sport something both of you are genuinely interested in, and would be doing by yourself anyway?
The sweating can be sweet, except when it becomes a ‘must do,’ a project that one person is pushing on the other for whatever reason. Any time it is a forced action, it raises more issues than it solves. If the reason is ‘I want you to lose some weight,’ or ‘I want you to not be a couch potato’ or other such critical commentary, chances are it will boomerang and things will get worse – sweat will draw blood, so to say. Couple time is great when both of you want it, and sports is a great way to get some.
The author is a counselor at InnerSight