Research indicates the couple that plays together stays together [source: Jayson]. It follows that taking part in sports with your significant other can improve your relationship off the playing field. Not only will you bond over a shared activity or learn something new, you'll stay fit. And who doesn't love a fit significant other? Plus, you can take pride in reaching shared exercise goals and build teamwork skills that are so vital in relationships [source: Nichols].
A word of warning -- keep the coaching to a minimum. If you're already an avid golfer or if you are at home on a tennis court, resist the desire to tell your honey how it's done. Instead, buy him or her professional lessons as a gift. That way you won't turn a date into a lesson, which could leave hurt feelings on both sides.
So, what sport should you pursue? There are plenty of great options for exploring your athletic side together. Here are five ideas to get you started.
Running, at first glance, might seem like a lonely undertaking, but it certainly doesn't have to be. In fact, some of the best runners in the world have spouses that share their passion and run alongside them. If you get your other half interested in the sport you enjoy, your partner is more likely to be supportive and understanding of your lifestyle -- because it's his or her lifestyle, too [source: Cooper].
Running with your sweetie is a way to push yourself to achieve more than you could on your own. Mutual goal setting can be fun and rewarding, too. Consider running your first 5K together or, if you're more experienced, focus on a marathon. If you run at different paces, consider doing your speed work at a track where at least you can warm up and cool down together -- then do your longer, easier-paced runs side by side on a trail. You can catch up on each other's day or just enjoy being together in comfortable silence.
Running isn't your cup of tea? Maybe you should set up a tee time instead. That's the next option.
A round of golf with your loved one can be as leisurely or competitive as you like. Imagine waking up early on a weekend morning and hitting the links as the dew is just starting to disappear from the fairways. Away from all the stresses of normal life, you have time to take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors while you and your significant other half catch up.
Couples golf can be played a number of ways: You can focus on teamwork with a round of "best ball." Simply take your tee shots and select the better of the two lies for your next shot. Want more head-to-head action? See who can pull in the lowest score. Some friendly competition can help liven up an otherwise normal round of golf.
As the song says, "It takes two to make everything go right." Next, we check out a two-wheeled sport.
There's nothing quite like having the wind in your hair and your favorite person alongside. Recreational biking allows you to explore paths around your city or town. If you want to feel more productive, run small errands on your bikes or cruise to a dinner date or picnic in the park. You'll not only stay in shape, but save a little money on gas. As more cities become bike friendly, it's an opportune time to dust off the ol' bike and hit the streets.
If you want to increase the togetherness factor, rent a tandem bike and see how what it's like to have four legs pedaling, but only two arms steering. Now that requires trust.
Next, how can you go wrong with a sport that uses the word "love"?
Unlike the previously mentioned sports, tennis can't be played alone. So, if you've fallen for the sport, why not play it with the person you've fallen for? To add an extra dimension to the fun, bet a week's worth of laundry on the result. If you don't want to play against your partner, jump the net and join him or her for a mixed doubles match with another couple. You can share in the thrill of victory or, at worst, have someone to help smooth over the sting of defeat.
You and your love will be in the same boat, regardless of differing skill levels, with our final couples sport.
If you and your date are feeling a bit landlocked then it's time to take your relationship offshore. What could be more romantic than canoeing down a slow moving river or gliding atop a mirror-still lake? With no more than the chirping of birds, the quiet splash of your oars and the comfortable conversation between you and your other half, canoeing poses a great way to reconnect with your partner while enjoying the beauty of nature around you.
On the other hand, if you find a slow crawl down a waterway to be boring then hop into a couple of kayaks and discover the thrill of swooshing through whitewater. A roaring river and splashing water are sure to enliven your date and leave you both feeling invigorated and ready for more.
For lots more information on couples and sports, click ahead.
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- Cooper, Bob. "Together For the Long Run." Runner's World. 2008. (Feb. 27, 2011).http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297--12603-0,00.html
- Nichols, Nicole. "Workout ideas for couples." Spark People. 2011. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=765
- Ellis, Katie M. "Romance on the run: Couples find 'being healthy together' keeps the spark alive." The Standard Examiner. 2011. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://www.standard.net/topics/features/2011/02/08/romance-run-couples-find-being-healthy-together-keeps-spark-alive
- Jayson, Sharon. "Married couples who play together stay together." USA Today. 2008. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-07-15-fun-in-marriage_N.htm