Liz and Rich Clapp love doing almost everything together, including much of their exercise.
“We are best friends to each other and have been since we were young,” says Liz. “I just enjoy spending time with him. It works for us. We’ve never been apart for more than five days at a time.”
The pair met at age 17, married at 21, and have always enjoyed being physically active and in good shape. They’re 64 now and work together in their general-contracting business at home in Orange, California. And they exercise almost every day, often together in classes at Full Circle Fitness, which is owned by their daughter, Rosa Coletto.
Fitness has always been a part of their love story, and now it has spread across their family.
“You work out for yourself first,” Liz says. “But when you work out together, there’s such a great feeling of doing it for each other, too.”
5 Reasons It Works
Research shows there are good reasons for working out with a significant other. Psychology Today reports five ways working out together can help a romantic pairing.
- It increases happiness with the relationship. After physical exertion together, couples say they’re more satisfied in the relationship and in love with each other. “Having a date night at the gym can boost the quality of your romantic relationship.”
- It improves the efficiency of your workouts. Just having your partner there can boost your energy output.
- It can help you fall in love with each other. Sweaty hands, racing pulse, shortness of breath … are you exercising or falling in love?
- It can help you reach your fitness goals. In one study, some husbands said they worked out more when their wives offered supportive comments.
- It can increase bonds. Exercising creates opportunities for nonverbal matching of physical rhythms and patterns, which deepens the love connection.
‘Do What You Need To Do’
Liz says she’s in the best shape of her life. Rich has better mobility since shifting the focus to functional training at Rosa’s gym. He previously had two knee replacements and a partial shoulder replacement. He enjoys resistance training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates, as well as the supportive environment.
“If you feel comfortable, no matter what your shape, you’re going to do what you need to do,” he says.
They don’t do quite everything together. For instance, Liz recently gave Rich a surfboard and wetsuit so he can take up that sport, and she’s happy to exercise on the beach while he’s in the ocean.
“The number of our age doesn’t matter,” she says. “We can take up new activities and thrive at them.
“You always feel better after working out. To do it together and come home together … it’s such a positive note.”
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.