Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

My husband and I have had a really hard time finding some way to exercise together. I like gyms, he’s not thrilled with them. He likes sports, I break out in hives over the pressure of Games. We both like to walk, but our schedules and our northern lack of daylight conspire against us.

But we want to spend more time together, and we both need exercise, so we keep looking for some way to make it work.

Oh, we’ve tried some classes, but we misbehave in classes. (By “we,” I mean Him, of course. I think it’s not a great idea to take one teacher into another teacher’s class.)

We’ve tried running, but either he’s in better shape for running, or I am, and the inequity of our pace and fitness makes the slower one of us nuts.

After 21 years of trial and error, we seem to have hit on something. Pilates. Now that he knows professional football players and Masters golfers do it, he’s intrigued. I’ve been studying Pilates for years now, and can’t say enough on its behalf for both strengthening you all over, straightening out what’s crooked, and giving you a good, sustained workout of heart pumping action. And ripped abs. And fixing glitchy office-neck spasms.

Our unevenness is going to be equalized this way: We’re both starting from scratch, adding one new exercise at a time, and doing our Pilates mat routine some time after dinner and before bedtime. Nice. Alycea Ungaro’s book and Romana Kryzanowska’s DVDs serve as our guides.

We’ve had one week of this, and I have to say we both seem to like it quite a lot. There’s much to like. It’s a nice time, doing these exercises together, teasing, egging one another on, slowly building more flexibility, strength, stamina. And if you can’t pant and sweat with your sweetie, then what good is panting and sweating at all? (Even I don’t know what I mean by that. I don’t really do oblique very well, do I?)

Oh I can foresee a time when we’re in a crabbier dip of the sinusoidal marriage curve when our workouts may become competitive or cursory or just not any fun at all. Then, who knows? Maybe we can work out our hurts and stings through dozens of gut-rendering teasers. Maybe not. But having something to do together that makes sniping impossible may be just what the counselor ordered. (I’m not being metaphorical here. I’m still talking about Pilates.)

What I’m enjoying more than seeing this guy glisten with sweat today is projecting outward to the image of our retirement and seeing a wirey and wizened guy next to me doing his “hundreds” among the palm trees some place tropical, or maybe in the aisle of our Airstream or under a giant redwood canopy as we take that fantasy tour of the Northwest coast. Pilates is nothing if not portable.

This workout looks great on his body. It would look great on yours too, I bet. Want to get a picture of what a Pilates body can do for a person in their 80s? Get ahold of the DVDs and watch Romana at work.

Have you tried working out with your spouse or partner? Tell us what works for you…

Romana Kryzanowska’s DVDs at collagevideo.com

Alycea Ungaro’s beautiful book

6 thoughts on “Couples Who Play Together

  1. Mercury says:

    I am lucky in that I really enjoy exercise. Here are some of the things I’ve found work well for couples:

    * Spin – lots of guys feel that aerobics is not mahnly enough, but if you get a good, abusive instructor, there will be suffering o’plenty.

    * Indoor wall-climbing – this is a blast, and great for groups because everyone can work at their own level.

    * Paddle ball / frisbee – these are two great ways to enjoy a nice day together. Paddle ball in particular can be exhausting.

    * Tai chi – I haven’t tried this myself, but it seems share some principles with pilates.

    * Bikram yoga – if you can stand the heat, this is a fantastic workout, and you are not allowed to talk during class.

    * Other martial arts?

  2. Nicole says:

    My honey and I go for bike rides together. He may not like the other things I do, but we at least agree on that!

  3. Lee says:

    The Hubby and I enjoy many of the same things, and that includes exercise. He will go to the gym and lift weights with me. He will go on bike rides with me. He will go on evening walks with me. He will go hiking with me. But the one thing we both enjoy doing together the MOST is BODYFLOW class. It’s a combination of Yoga, Tai Chi, and – yep, you guessed it – Pilates. I’m telling you, it’s some GOOD stuff. And men need it just as much – if not more – than women. I try to encourage every woman to try to convince their spouses/boyfriends/male friends to join them. All that have come to do it always return. So I think that says something right there.

  4. Heather says:

    Biking. We have a tandem bicycle which helps smooth out any differences in our cycling abilities. It also makes it easy to talk to each other during the ride. Can’t recommend this enough!

    Hiking (summer), snowshoeing (winter)

    Walking the dog – it’s gotta be done, so we usually both go for some extra together time

    Yoga

    House projects (built a fence and a deck this summer!)

  5. Zanne says:

    My honey hooked me up with an inexpensive membership at his gym (otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have joined, too expensive to just run in place) but it has made a world of difference for the both of us. In a year he lost over 40 pounds, and I’ve shed nearly 15. He had a bit more to lose than I did, but it didn’t matter, I love him anyway no matter what. We love each other more for encouraging our successes and bracing those plateaus. I definitely believe that getting your hearts racing together makes your hearts grow fonder!

  6. NewJane says:

    We bought a tandem bike and riding it together is absolutely fabulous! He’s a normal weight, while I am obese, and as Heather noted, the tandem evens out the differences. It’s as if our weights were added together and divided by two. He finds it a better workout than riding alone, while I feel like I could pedal on and on without a strain – as if I’d instantly lost 50 pounds. And let me tell you – that’s a fantastic feeling! Such freedom in a body which has always been my prison.

    We also enjoy walking together, holding hands and talking the whole way. This is good exercise for me, but not aerobic for him – just a pleasant stroll.

    Dancing is fun. We both enjoyed taking square dance classes, which engaged our brains as well as our bodies.

    And often, we just watch a video together while we each lift weights, ride the exercise bike, or use the treadmill. The company makes all the difference in whether it happens on those “I don’t wanna” nights.

    I know I’m incredibly blessed that my husband is willing to encourage me in my endeavor to change my life and become healthy by spending his free time exercising with me. It’s a great relationship builder!

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