If you follow celeb news, you've probably heard that Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are a *thing* now. (Nope, she's not with Drake anymore—catch up.) The new couple even took a trip to the Bahamas together over the weekend. When they returned to Miami, they were snapped heading to the gym together, although they entered the facility separately (sneaky!). Clearly, fitness is a pretty big part of both of their lives, since he's a professional athlete and she's a seriously skilled dancer with arguably the world's most enviable abs. So, is it a good idea to get your sweat on with your S.O., and are the benefits for your relationship as awesome as they are for your bod? (Related: 16 Times Jennifer Lopez's Abs Inspired Us to Work Out)
Aside from all the psychological and physical perks of exercise (yay endorphins!), your love life can definitely be boosted from working out, says Tracy Thomas, Ph.D., a psychologist and clinical director of her own virtual and in-person practice. "It's not just about the specific activities you're doing, it's about the pattern of doing these kinds of activities together," she explains. In other words, it's not so important what kind of workout you're doing. What really matters is that you're doing it together regularly. "Establishing the pattern of doing positive, healthy activities together is something that makes you aligned with each other," says Thomas. (On the flip side, your relationship also has the power to have negative effects on your weight and activity level.) "Being aligned with each other is actually more important in a relationship than compatibility because you're able to be in a similar pattern of life, which in turn facilitates growing together. When you're able to grow together, you're more likely to be able to help each other evolve as people," she says. Being able to grow and change within a relationship is crucial for longevity, so that definitely seems like a *major* plus.
Thomas also says you may notice that other parts of your relationship start to improve when you and your partner establish a committed routine. "Anytime you can create a positive pattern that helps you improve in one area, it actually impacts and improves other areas of your life, too," she explains. It makes sense, then, that as you and your partner get fitter together, other parts of your relationship may start to naturally improve. (If this sounds like you, it's just one more sign your relationship is #FitCoupleGoals.)
And even if you're in the early stages of a relationship or just starting to date, working out with potential partners can also be super beneficial, says Thomas. "It's a great place to start in your relationship and be clear that health is a priority." She also points out that dating can be the opposite of active—sitting at tables in restaurants and bars, eating and drinking things you maybe wouldn't indulge in at home. Starting things off with someone on the right foot is definitely a good move if being active is important to you. (FYI, here's when to talk about weight loss while dating.)
Lastly, if one of you isn't into exercising, it's not necessarily a cause for concern. "In some relationships, one person isn't into working out," says Joe Kekoanui, an ACE- and NASM-certified personal trainer based in Philadelphia. "This is NOT the end of the world. Working out in the gym is not for everyone, but finding an activity that both partners enjoy is important. That's why I often tell couples to look outside of the gym," he says. Physical activity is great for your mind and body, and being active with your partner will bring out another side of your relationship and bring you closer together, he adds. So if your partner isn't the kind of person who wants to take a spin class, lift weights, or run on a treadmill with you, that's totally fine. Find something else you can do together, whether it's walking in your neighborhood, riding bikes, or hiking, that will get you out of your house and your heart pumping. (Not sure where to start? Scope these eight active date ideas that won't make you sweaty.)