As a professional lifestyle coach, I help people in many areas like health, mindfulness, business, spirituality and relationships. A common area where people struggle is within the relationship with their significant other. The major complaint I hear is the loss of the connection they once shared.

Whenever I start diving deeper into how this loss of connection occurred, 9 times out of 10 it’s because couples have stopped spending quality time together. Quality time doesn’t mean you have to sit face to face gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. It means doing something together and actually giving each other your full attention. No phones, no TV, just togetherness.

Making time for each other is essential for your relationship. For many couples, quality time means dinner and a movie, and while this can be a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening together, I always recommend couples make an effort to stay active and schedule time to exercise together. Studies prove that couples feel more satisfied in their relationship and are more in love with each other after participating in physical activity.

Physical activity actually mimics the thrill of a romantic attraction – sweaty hands and a racing heart.

When we exercise our bodies release endorphins and light up the pleasure centres of our brains. A little gland called the hypothalamus does the work. It releases the endorphins as you work out. You have likely heard of the term runner’s high. It is that state of euphoria that often happens after a run or other form of intense activity. If you exercise with your partner you are both sharing in the experience and exercise physiologists say that the stimulus can help to create better communication and connection with the one you love.

In Pictou County, there are many admirable couples who enjoy spending quality time together by staying active. Carol and Terry Curley of New Glasgow could write the book on the benefits of exercising as a couple and have been the inspiration for countless individuals and couple to improve their lives through fitness. They have been vital to the growth and success of the Johnny Miles Running Events. Their story, as a couple, began over 22 years ago with running being their common activity of interest, but over the years it has expanded to include more things like yoga, biking, swimming and organizing fitness events within the community.

“We enjoy an active healthy lifestyle in whatever form it has to offer and embrace whatever’s before us, together,” says Carol and Terry.

Feeling motivated and supported by your spouse is an important element of a successful relationship. When you’re active as a couple, encouragement and praise for each other helps build an even stronger bond. Carol and Terry use this time to find out what’s going on in each other’s lives.

“We enjoy listening and learning what we’ve each been up to and encourage and coach each other in whatever we have going on at the time.”

While physical activity is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy is equally as important. Preparing healthy meals is another way Carol and Terry enjoy spending quality time with each other. “Spending time planning and preparing food together is a great way to enhance your relationship. You’re working as a team and it can be a lot of fun.”

The first gift you’re ever given is your body, so taking care of it is paramount. As an individual, staying active shows you have respect and pride for your body. As a couple, it’s important to want the best for each other and motivating each other to live a healthy life shows you have respect and pride for each other.

Carol and Terry explain, “when you take care of yourself as an individual, it’s much easier to take care of each other as a couple.”

If you are interested in becoming more active with your significant other but don’t know where to start, Carol and Terry have some advice for you.

“Just find something, anything that sparks your interest. If you like to do things together, consider joining a gym and take a few classes together. You can even get day passes to try things out. If you like more solo things, we have wonderful trails in Pictou County, go out for a walk together. Get involved as a volunteer at events you think you may like but are too nervous to try. Talk to people who are active, I guarantee they’ll invite you along to a Sunday morning walk/run, swim or just a coffee to learn more. We have so many natural mentors around, you just need to start talking to people and showing interest and it will happen. It’s never too late and the benefits are many.”

The next time you feel like you need a little time with your partner, lace up those sneakers and head out for good brisk walk or run. Fire up those endorphins and give your exercise partner a kiss!