Get Physical

How to strengthen your abs as well as your marriage

You there. Yeah, you. Flopped on the couch, watching some ESPN workout show. Telling your spouse, "Y'know, we oughta get in shape one of these days. … Got any more of those Ho-Hos?"

Your body is a temple, and the Philistines have moved in. You feel tired most of the time. Maybe you've put on a few pounds. You know this, of course, but any thought of getting physically fit merely reminds you of how busy you already are. Exercise? Only if you could quit your job.


What if we told you some ways to get more exercise, feel better, improve your communication as husband and wife and maybe even improve your spiritual life?

What if you didn't have to buy the "Abs of Granite" video, or some exercise contraption that looks like a medieval torture device? What if it took less time than you probably spend watching TV in a week? What if we threw in a set of Ginsu knives?

Here's a hint—one you won't hear from some celebrity hawking the Ultra Gut Buster. Get a pen. You should write this down.


For starters, it's that simple. About three times a week (and a bit more if your goal is weight loss), put on some good shoes and walk at a brisk pace.

Think more about posture than speed at first, advises Susie Kania, an exercise physiologist and program director at Cooper Wellness Center in Dallas.

"Just start out with a time you're both comfortable with—maybe 15, 20, 30 minutes," she says. "Add to that after a week or two, and just make it a part of your routine—maybe three to five times per week."

Work your way up to at least thirty minutes each time. Short, quick strides will quicken your pace, Kania says. How fast should you go? Researchers suggest that fit adults should be able to walk about two miles in thirty minutes.

As you develop this habit, you'll also look forward to breaking away from life's little distractions and enjoying one-on-one time with your spouse.

Jim Maxwell, author of the new book, Body and Soul: Walking with God to Total Health (New Hope Publishers), says that's an often overlooked exercise benefit for couples.

"Remember the old saying, 'The family that prays together stays together?' Another one that's equally valid is 'The couple that walks together talks together,'" Maxwell says.

"Just going for a long walk alone gives you time for spiritual reflection and prayer," he adds. "Going for a long walk with your spouse gives you a great deal of time just for one-on-one talk without interruptions. You can share, you can communicate, and that builds a real closeness."

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