Date night doesn’t always have to mean dinner, drinks or a movie – though there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you like. But with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might be looking for ways to spice things up with your favorite person.
Believe it or not, you can woo your partner in a way that promotes good health, either mentally or physically (or both).
Ready to take things up a notch? Here are 14 creative ideas for fun and healthy dates.
#1) Visit your local farmers market.
Visiting the local market can be a great way to spend time with a special someone. The fresh produce available at markets often has many benefits not found in store-bought goods, such as increased vitamins and minerals, reduced chemical exposure, and superior flavor.
Grill a fish, such as salmon, and enjoy it with sautéed vegetables from the market. Fish boasts plenty of nutritional benefits, such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. If salmon isn’t your thing, try grilling up some cod instead. It tastes delicious, too.
#2) Climb some peaks (indoors or out).
Rock climbing can be fun for almost any age range and fitness level. In addition to the physical benefits of exercising, it also offers an opportunity for couples to deepen their relationship by building trust and support.
Rock climbing also encourages problem solving skills as you navigate routes with your partner, helping you with communication and collaboration.
If you have access to public parks with climbable areas, and the weather is nice, head outside for an afternoon adventure. But if you’re not an experienced climber or you prefer the added safety of instructors around, look into indoor climbing gyms.
#3) Dance the night away.
Going out dancing can be a great way to spend time together and get some exercise in at the same time. That’s because dancing can lower anxiety, help keep your mind sharp, reduce stress levels and boost moods.
Dancing works all the major muscle groups in the body, so it’s an effective form of exercise to stay fit. It also helps with coordination and builds strength. And not only is it fun, but dancing with your partner can help you enjoy music, get creative with the movement and discover new moves together.
#4) Cook up a special for two.
Whip out your aprons and head into the kitchen together. Home cooking can be healthier than eating out at restaurants. Plus, it’s typically more budget-friendly depending on what you make.
Find recipes online for nutritious meals and make something delicious together. It’ll be sure to fill your hearts and stomachs with happiness afterward.
Not much of a cook? Consider signing up for a local cooking class with your partner. You may learn a few things and have fun in the process.
#5) Connect with nature.
Going on a nature walk or exploring the outdoors affords an excellent opportunity for quality time and connection with your loved one. Taking in nature’s sights, sounds, and smells can be therapeutic for the mind and body.
Not only does outdoor exercise offer health benefits such as increased cardiovascular fitness and better stress management, but it also leaves you feeling reconnected to the natural environment. From peaceful, mindful hikes to energetic jaunts over hilltops, there are plenty of ways to soak up the great outdoors on date night.
#6) Knock down some pins.
Bowling is an excellent idea for a healthy, fun-filled date night. It provides a form of physical exercise for you and your partner and encourages social connection and energy without straining the body.
Plus, most bowling alleys have games beyond just bowling, allowing you to enjoy various activities in one evening. From the vigorous competition to the fun energy of bowling alleys, couples can find a unique way to have fun and bond at the same time.
#7) Stretch yourselves.
Practicing yoga offers many benefits, both mentally and physically. For one thing, connecting through a relaxing activity and coordinating your movements in tune with your body is an intimate experience.
Yoga can also help reduce stress levels and increase focus while providing an opportunity to practice mindfulness. The practice of poses can even lead to greater flexibility and strength, helping you become less prone to injury.
It’s a great way to connect on multiple levels while caring for yourselves holistically.
#8) Take a break from the world.
A retreat is a perfect way to pause from the everyday demands of life and focus on simply enjoying each other’s presence. While different couples may prefer different retreat styles, popular options include meditation and holistic fitness getaways.
Not only is this a fantastic way to relax, but it’s also great for reigniting passion and sparking conversations that might become lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
#9) Try to escape – in time.
If you like puzzles, teamwork and problem-solving, consider trying your luck at an escape room. Escape rooms challenge players to work together by solving puzzles and following clues that lead to the ultimate goal of unlocking the door.
An escape room night provides plenty of laughs and is a great way to bond while helping with communication and critical thinking skills. It’s also a physically active date idea, as you typically have to move around or figure out how different props work.
#10) Pack a picnic.
Not only do you get to appreciate the scenery, but picnicking can be much cheaper than an expensive dinner out. Think beyond a traditional picnic in the park and get creative with the details. Head to the beach, plan a romantic sunset hike or even set up a blanket inside your living room.
Just be sure to pack plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits and veggie platters. Remember some wine and chocolate in your basket. In moderation, they can offer health benefits, too. According to research by the American Heart Association, red wine is associated with preventing heart disease and lowering blood pressure.
#11) Try horseback riding.
Horse riding provides an opportunity to get out and explore nature while engaging in healthy physical activity and getting to know each other better. Plus, horse riding itself offers several positive health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength and better coordination.
Horseback riding also helps improve your balance and posture and allows you to enjoy the calming effects of being out in nature. It’s sure to provide a new, refreshing adventure you’ll both remember.
#12) Roll the dice (literally).
When’s the last time you challenged your partner to a friendly board game? As a couple, playing games encourages conversation and strategy as you plot out your next move together. And this stimulating activity is an exciting way to spend time together in an unhurried environment.
Board games like Scrabble, Risk, Feudal and Chess promote critical thinking and focus that can be incorporated into real-life scenarios. Even simple card games offer healthy competition, an essential part of any relationship.
But if you’re not into competition, consider cooperative board games instead. Plenty of options exist where the goal is to work together to complete the mission.
#13) Tour the town via bike.
Looking for a healthy and romantic way to spend time with your love? Grab a bike and take a tour of your city or local parks. Bike riding gives you a great cardiovascular workout and allows you to explore scenic areas, bond in conversation and rekindle the spark of your relationship.
Moreover, bike rides are usually free or low cost. Consider trading in a movie night for a bike ride to discover new trails or explore breathtaking viewpoints.
#14) Get (and give) a massage.
Massages can be a great way to spend time with someone special. Not only are massages relaxing, but they also offer a multitude of health benefits. Research has shown that massage therapy not only reduces stress but also lowers pain, improves sleep and boosts mood.
You don’t have to have an expert’s knowledge and skill to deliver a comforting massage. It’s more about engaging with one another and tuning into the other person’s wants.