Getting Your Spouse or Partner To Exercise

Couple in the gym relaxing and smiling after workout

Key Points

  • Getting your spouse or partner to exercise promotes a long, healthy relationship.

  • Exercising together improves health, mood, and emotional bonding.

  • Find ways to make exercise exciting, inspiring, and fun for your partner.

  • Getting your spouse or partner to exercise is challenging but very rewarding.

You know the benefits of exercising. You feel and look better every day. It's natural to want to share this passion with your loved ones. Getting your spouse or partner to exercise is vital for growing old together.

Getting your spouse or partner to exercise is tricky — especially if they're sensitive or jump to being defensive. Find out how to gently push your partner to agree to a healthier lifestyle to benefit you both.

Explain the Benefits

Why do you exercise? You likely have a ton of answers to this question. Think of the number one reason why you exercise. Does this reason excite you?

Help your partner find their "why." Help them discover why they become excited to work out and how to find a "why" if they don't have one. Finding their reason to exercise is the way to their heart.

Your partner may be more likely to exercise when you know all its benefits. Tons of benefits can help motivate someone to work out.

A couple works out together at home


Personal benefits from exercise include better mood, more energy, less muscle tension, and increased strength. Exercise produces beneficial hormones and neurochemicals. Exercise also improves self-image and levels of confidence.

Exercise improves chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, stress, tension, and mental health. Sweating purges the skin of clogs and impurities. It also sometimes reduces acne.


Exercise benefits a relationship. Exercise boosts hormones like serotonin and dopamine that increase your sex drive. Being with your partner also releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel happy and emotionally connected to others.

No need to hunt down a bottle of "Love Potion No. 9" to get that "Lovin' Feeling." The aphrodisiac oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine recipe is as "Old as Time."

Knowing the benefits isn't always enough. Sometimes you need more than stats and facts to get your partner active.

How To Get Your Spouse or Partner To Exercise

People are easily offended if you mention their weight. Tactfully bringing up the "weighty" topic of going to the gym is difficult.

Some may assume you're saying they're fat or unattractive. It's a conversation on the edge of a steep slope, ready to decline at any minute.

Married people who exercise report more positive interactions in their marriage than negative ones. Asking your partner to exercise is beneficial, but you must do it right.

Plan your approach before bombarding them with your concerns, health statistics, and exercise programs.

Incorporate Activity First

If your partner gets defensive when you bring up going to the gym, work more activity into your daily lives. Take the dog on a daily walk, bike around the neighborhood, or play a game of tennis together.

As their daily activity increases, it becomes easier to consider a structured workout.

A couple exercises together

Use Incentives

Everyone loves a good reward. Buy your partner a new pair of shoes, or snag those cute running shorts they like. Tell them that if they complete the workout, then you cook dinner. Offer a foot rub or a shoulder massage before bed as an incentive to work out the following day.

Offer Support

Offer to do a household chore they usually do so they have time to work out. Give compliments and words of encouragement when they feel down.

If they're complaining, listen. If they say they don't like the gym, focus on working out at home. If they're self-conscious about their appearance, buy clothes that make them feel confident.

Try Something New

Try partner yoga, running a 5k, or joining a community softball league. Take a powerlifting or group dance class.

Making exercise a new activity for both of you to share brings you closer.

Join a new gym, become certified in scuba diving, or learn how to swim. Your relationship grows when you find more ways to spend time together.

Make new plans to incorporate movement into your lives.

Work Out Together

Mimicking each other improves your emotional and physical bonds. When you work out together, you motivate and push each other to reach your goals. You also get a more effective workout and have more fun.

Perform partner exercises. Throw a weighted ball back and forth and perform a squat when you catch it. Take turns using the same weighted machine. Working out together strengthens your bond and makes exercise more enjoyable.

Meet Their Fitness Levels

Your abilities may not match theirs — especially if you've been working out for a long time. If you deadlift twice as much weight as them, throwing them into your routine is harmful.

Exercise needs to be encouraging, not intimidating. Personalize their workout so they're exercising more comfortably.

Your partner might be more interested in cardio than strength training, so bringing home a pile of weights isn't as exciting for them. Try buying a treadmill or exercise bike instead.

Find ways for both of you to work out. Join a gym where they do cardio, and you do strength training. You don't have to do the exact same exercises to build health and happiness together.

Woman and her spouse workout on yoga mats together

Celebrate Success

Every win is a win, regardless of how big or small. What do you call the team that wins the Super Bowl by one point? World champions.

Reaching milestones in your exercise journey is exciting and needs to be congratulated. If you both reach your exercise goal, go to a movie, restaurant, or concert you've both been dying to see.

Celebrate even small events. If your partner is having a rough day but still crushing their workout, pick up their favorite snack at the store or put a towel in the dryer to warm up while they're in the shower.

Small gestures of congratulations are more beneficial than you think.

Help Them Set Goals

Setting goals is the first step to getting healthy. Practical goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Having a goal means you have something to work toward. Goals act as hope for the future.

Their goals need to be healthy. Wanting to drop 20 pounds in one month is dangerous. Ensure the goals are achievable and challenging but not so tricky that it's discouraging or harmful.

Be a Role Model

Even if they ditch their workout, go anyway. Showing your partner you're dedicated inspires them. Staying tough in times of turmoil is admirable. It shows them you're serious and encourages them to commit.

Pack a healthy lunch for work. Cook a healthy dinner or go for a walk after breakfast. Watching you become healthier motivates them to get healthier.

Partners go for a jog together

Create a Workout Schedule

Sticking to a workout schedule provides stability, structure, and organization. It's hard to say you don't have time to exercise when it's on your calendar. Pick days and times when you're both able to exercise.

If that's not possible, find times to work out separately. Leave notes for each other near the workout gear and complete the same workout at different times. This keeps you in sync with each other, improves accountability, and gives you something to talk about while relaxing together at home.

Make a Home Gym

Gym anxiety is common and keeps people away from public exercise machines. Creating a home gym motivates your partner to exercise because it's in the comfort of their own home.

Pick up some dumbbells, jump ropes, resistance bands, weight plates, and barbells to design your own fitness oasis. Another advantage is the bed is nearby — to rest from exercising, of course.

Be Honest

Don't blurt out that those pants do make them look fat but be honest with them. If they ask to skip the gym for the third time this week, be honest and tell them it looks like they're purposely ditching. If they happen to ask, "Do these shorts make my butt look too big," use your own judgment.

Explain the reasons you want your partner to exercise. Being honest allows you to work out together in a healthy way. Lying to them might keep them from getting upset, but doesn't help either of you in the long run.

Perform Check-Ins

Check-in throughout the workout. Don't ask if they're okay after every crunch, but check for a thumbs up about halfway through the workout to ensure they're doing great.

Check-in with each other throughout the week. Make sure your partner doesn't feel pressured, intimidated, or exhausted. They might feel overwhelmed or pressured and need a rest day to recharge their battery.

Woman and partner enjoy an evening workout together

Invite Friends and Family

Your partner might be more willing to join you in exercising if their friends and family are involved. Gather friends for a walk or enjoy golf with the family.

Working out together makes it more enjoyable and exciting for next time.

Involve the Kids

If you've got kids, ask them to join! Turning it into a family activity makes it harder for your partner to say no.

Getting the kids involved sets them up for a healthier life and keeps them from fighting with each other, even if only for 30 minutes.

What To Do

Getting your partner excited to exercise is the first step. The second step? Pick your exercise.

Your partner may be unfamiliar with exercise. They don't know where to start or how to begin. This is a scary time for them, so your guidance boosts them in the right direction.

Strength Training

Strength training involves using body weight, gravity, and weighted resistance to promote strength and muscle growth. Strength training burns calories, increases muscle mass, and decreases body fat.

Strength training involves anything with dumbbells or barbells, weight balls, or slow movements against resistance. Using resistance bands, kettlebells, and workout machines promotes strength.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Cardio is excellent for slimming down and improving endurance. Cardio is enjoyable because it consists of repeated movements, which some find comforting and easy to follow when exercising.

Improve cardio fitness with jumping jacks, jump rope, running, walking, and swimming. Improving cardio fitness decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions.

Woman and partner workout together


Stretching improves joint pain, tension, muscle fatigue, and circulation. It makes it easier for oxygen, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to spread through and benefit the body. Increasing flexibility decreases the risk of injury and speeds up recovery.

It's beneficial to stretch daily. Sleeping in one spot for hours each night allows the muscles to rest but causes stiffness. Stretching loosens the muscles so that they operate to their best abilities.

Being flexible improves strength training and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Find an exercise you and your partner enjoy. Chances are they like one way of exercising more than another. Promote all forms for a well-rounded exercise, but stick with their favorite to keep them interested.

Live Long and Prosper — Together

Mary Lambkin with Planet Fitness says, "You'll be surprised how exercise can positively affect your relationship."

Wanting more for your partner is healthy. Giving them more means encouraging them to be active.

Working out with your significant other is rewarding. It brings you closer together and makes you both happier. Encouraging your spouse or partner to exercise benefits you, them, and your relationship.

Follow Fit&Fab for recommendations on the latest workout gear, trends in yoga, and ways to stretch away the stress from you and your spouse.

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