Wish your partner exercised more? Improving your fitness can help your partner improve theirs. Double win!

In Australia, only 43 per cent of adults are reaching the physical activity recommendations for good health while a scary 20 per cent do no physical activity at all. We all know we should move more but finding the motivation can be a challenge. Fortunately, new research is shows that our loved ones may be key to motivating us to get off the couch.

New research from the United States has found that when one partner improves their physical activity, the other is significantly more likely to do the same. The American study interviewed more than 3,200 couples about their physical activity levels over a period of six years. Of the couples interviewed, results showed that when a wife met recommended levels of physical activity, her husband was 70 per cent more likely to also meet the recommendations. When a husband met recommended physical activity levels, his wife was 40 per cent more likely to follow suit.


"The best motivation to get moving could be coming from the person sitting across from you at the dinner table," says Diabetes Queensland's accredited exercise physiologist Kathryn Kirchner. "We all know how important physical activity is to stay healthy and prevent chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and this study shows that our partners play a vital role in our health. Not only do you hold the key to your health, you can also have a positive effect on your loved ones."


The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five days a week. Doing any physical activity is better than none so if you are currently inactive, start small and build up gradually.


Kathryn encourages couples to get out together and get their bodies moving.


"Being active with your partner should be fun so try to think outside the square and try new activities that will challenge you both," she says.


Remember to talk to your GP or an exercise physiologist before starting a new exercise regime.


A few ideas to get your body moving are:

  • Play a game for two such as squash, lawn balls, dancing or table tennis
  • Try a two person team sport like tennis doubles
  • Take a relaxing walk, bike ride or kayak together
  • Join a gym or try a group fitness class or personal training together.