We all know we should exercise regularly. For those of you already in the habit of exercising, you know that you have more confidence, you feel happier and have more energy when you take time to be active. But did you know that exercise provides benefits to your marriage as well?
Take a moment and consider how each of the following items could improve your marriage:
Living a longer life
Having less stress
Sleeping more soundly
Receiving instant mood boosts
Having more confidence
Being sick less often
Having more energy
Maintaining a healthy body weight
Reducing the risk of life-threatening diseases
Being more productive
Finding a healthy outlet for your anger
Having an improved self-image
Increasing your likelihood of happiness
When I teach this particular lesson to my college students, I ask them to rank each item from 1 to 5 (with 1 being "not helpful for marriage" and 5 being "extremely helpful for marriage"). As you can imagine, most students rank each of these items quite high.
In fact, last week one young lady raised her hand and said, "I feel kind of selfish, but all of these things would benefit my marriage and I want them all."
The good news is that these benefitsare available to each of us – provided we take the time to consistently exercise.
Not convinced yet?
Recently a colleague of mine, and a PhD in psychology, noted that if the benefits of exercise could somehow be sold as a pill it would be the most prescribed drug on earth. What a fascinating perspective.
If you're still not ready to lace up your cross-trainers, consider the research behind just three of the above listed benefits:
Those who exercise live longer
Ask yourself a few questions. First, would living longer be a blessing to your spouse? Would living longer be a blessing for your children? I suspect for most of you the answer is a resounding "yes." Not only do we cherish our relationship with our loved ones, but we want to enjoy those relationships for many more years.
However, the no. 1 cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease – a condition that is often preventable. Fortunately, according to scientific research, those who consistently exercise significantly reduce their risk of this disease and, subsequently, increase the likelihood of additional years with their loved ones.
Does stress impact your relationship with your spouse? Are you more prone to be short-tempered, unkind, or a poor listener when you feel stressed?
Recent research suggests that those who exercise are more apt to effectively manage their stress than those who do not exercise.
Those who exercise sleep more soundly
Life can be exhausting at times. Whether our fatigue stems from having young children in the home, putting in long hours in the office or having other time consuming pursuits, life can be tiring.
Though there is something to be said for prioritizing sufficient rest, research once again offers us some hope. Those who exercise fall asleep more quickly, sleep more soundly and awake more rejuvenated than those who do not.
Exercise because you love your spouse
Regardless if you already love exercising or if you hate it with a passion, you do value your marriage. So, the next time you get tempted to cross off exercising from your busy to-do list, remember the many ways that this one activity can benefit your marriage.
This article was originally published on familygoodthings.com. It has been republished here with permission.
Rob Stewart has taught marriage classes at BYU-Idaho for the last decade and is a co-founder and contributor at familygoodthings.com. He is also the author of the popular new eBook "3 Things You Can Do Today to Create a Ridiculously Happy Marriage."