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How to Motivate Your Spouse to Exercise

By Kate Bradley ; Updated July 18, 2017

Exercise is a sensitive subject for many spouses, especially if they've put on more than a few pounds over the years. Even so, a spouse who avoids exercise can experience not only weight gain but overall poor health. If your spouse is reluctant to exercise, don't nag. Instead, encourage him and offer positive reinforcement. Make exercise about fun and reconnecting and you may start to see his interest increase dramatically.

Voice Your Concerns

  1. Broach the subject of exercise gently and mention that you think it would be a good idea for both of you to get in shape. Avoid criticizing or name calling; this will only put your spouse on the defensive.

  2. Urge your spouse to get a checkup -- a doctor's word will carry more weight than yours. Have her ask the doctor what exercises are appropriate for her age, weight and fitness level.

  3. Reiterate your concerns if your spouse is reluctant. Say that you want to live a long life together and exercise can help tremendously in keeping him healthy and fit.

Make It Fun

  1. Schedule exercise dates with your spouse. Meet her at the park for a 1-mile jog or take a brisk walk after dinner together. Let her choose the activities whenever possible so she feels in control.

  2. Sign up both of you for a yoga retreat, a dance class or a sports team that you think your spouse would enjoy. Show him that exercise doesn't have to be day after day on the treadmill or elliptical.

  3. Talk up the perks of gym membership to make it more attractive -- big-screen TVs, discounted massages, personal trainers and state-of-the-art workout facilities can be a big lure.

Be Indirect

  1. Give your spouse an exercise-related gift, such as an aerobics DVD, a set of resistance bands or a session with a personal trainer.

  2. Tell your spouse that the dog needs to get more exercise, twice a day if possible. Buy her an MP3 player and get the dog a new leash and collar to make it easier and more fun for your spouse.

  3. Compliment your spouse. Tell him that when you're in the gym, you'd really like him to be there to spot you instead of a stranger. Say that you loved his toned calves back when you started dating, or that you'd love to see him with strong, sculpted arms.

  4. Warnings

    Avoid belittling your spouse for her weight or inactivity.

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