Remember when there was time to both work out and have date night? Most parents have to focus their energies on raising children and managing a household, not actively pursuing a fitness regime. Date night can turn into sharing a couch with your fellow zombie, while workout sessions entail a rousing game of horsey. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Beth Yarzab, owner and head coach of fitness- and career-training company CareerFit Mom, is a big believer in making fitness time equal quality time for couples. “It’s about friendly competition and camaraderie with your mate,” explains Yarzab. “Hiking, biking, snowshoeing — these are all great if you can get a sitter to watch the kids. It can really add to date night to get out of the house and experience a great new location.” Here are two great ways to get healthy and reconnect with your partner.
Working out on a budget
Beth acknowledges that sometimes sitters — or the funds to pay them — can be hard to come by. She often trains clients at night after the kids have gone to sleep and creates programs for couples to do on their own. “I prescribe a workout in the backyard or basement. There are a number of challenging boot camp exercises that a couple can do in tandem, from lunges facing each other to partner-assisted ab work that are great for fitness as well as strengthening a couple’s bond.”
• Couples who really want to focus on each other
• Those who like to dictate the activity for the week, from push-up challenges to
• Duos who need to be able to tailor costs on a week-to-week basis
The social route
If you and your partner are after a team sport, there are still ways to bond as part of a sports league. Just ask Megan McNally, who met her husband, Mark, playing in a competitive Ultimate Frisbee league. “Playing team sports together is a great way to meet people, get fit and have fun,” says Megan, a high school phys. ed teacher in Toronto. “Plus, there’s the added bonus of developing a shared circle of friends.”
Why it works
Expect a fitness challenge if you pick a co-ed sport that’s physically demanding, such as Ultimate or soccer — and that goes for the mental muscles, too, as your brain learns or remembers skills and movements. For example, volleyball or tennis work some muscles usually ignored in daily activities. Plus, couples can have fun practising new skills together.
• Gregarious couples who love being with a group of people
• Fans (or fanatics) of group sports
• Couples with a healthy budget for league fees and babysitting
• Those who live for the all-important after-game drink or snack — this is a date
For fitness date night to be a success, focus on the ultimate goal of spending time together and having fun, and don’t be afraid to reevaluate if something just isn’t working. Perhaps the house league is too competitive, or you decide to go biking with the kids instead of as a couple. The bottom line is to choose a fitness route that both you and your partner enjoy and will keep pursuing.
What sports or activities do you miss the most from your days before kids? (Sleep doesn’t count).
This article was originally published on Sept.