When you think of Valentine’s Day, chances are you picture boxes of chocolates and heavy, indulgent meals. While that might be a classic way to celebrate the holiday, it’s definitely not the only way.
This year, think about shaking things up and marking the romantic occasion by getting active with your partner. “When you do something physical together—whether it’s an actual workout or an activity that gets you moving—you really connect on a deeper level,” says Ashley Wimoni, group fitness trainer at Studio10 Fitness in Los Angeles. “You both see how hard the other is working and it feels amazing to push through together.”
Ready to rethink date night? Here are five ideas to help firm up your V-Day plans this year:
Head for the hills: “My go-to idea for clients who want to do something romantic and active is to go on a hike and pack a picnic,” says Matthew Carroll, owner of Ignite Fitness in Tucson. There are unique hiking routes everywhere—look at some on trails.com and pick one together. “Hike until you find a nice spot with some tree coverage and a beautiful view, unfurl a blanket, and have a romantic picnic,” says Carroll. “You’re away from phones and other people and you get to really enjoy each other’s company—and the scenery!” Live in a cold climate? Dress in layers and pack soup in a thermos for the perfect winter outing.
Complete a race together: Running or walking a 5K is an ideal Valentine’s Day idea—just make sure you go at the same pace so you’re racking up the steps together. “This is a date, so it isn’t the time to leave your partner in the dust,” says Devan Kline, CEO and co-founder of Burn Boot Camp. An added bonus: You both might do better than you thought. Research shows working out with a partner helps you push yourself more than if you went at it alone. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, try a mud run or obstacle course. “What better way to have fun and learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Carroll. “You have to work together to overcome hurdles—which is the perfect analogy for what you have to do in real life.”
Team up for each other’s favorite workouts: Are you into yoga but your partner prefers indoor cycling? Make a pact to go to both classes together. “It’s impressive to see how good your partner is at their favorite workout,” says Wimoni. “And you get major points for trying something you’ve never done before.”
Get out of your comfort zone: Have you ever gone rock climbing? If the answer is no, sign up for a lesson together. Research shows doing something novel with your partner can add excitement back into the relationship, bringing back those butterflies you felt at the very beginning.
Do a partner workout: When all else fails, why not turn a trip to the gym into a chance for some quality together time? There are lots of moves designed to be done with a partner (find a few favorites here and here). Just make sure you treat yourself to a healthy bite afterwards—this is a date after all!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.