Classic date ideas tend to lean toward the indulgent: a movie, complete with a giant soda and a large bucket of popcorn — with extra butter, reservations at an extravagant French restaurant, or cocktails and fried foods at a bar.
Any of those date ideas could make for a memorable night, but enjoyed too often, they could also lead to diabetes or heart disease down the road. So, if you prefer to be passionate without being passive, here are 10 great date ideas that will leave you feeling healthier — not heavier.
Rather than spending your evening (and entire paycheck) on an expensive dinner, take your date to a farmers market and pick up some locally grown, healthy products to cook together. Walking around the market will get your heart rate up, and eating organic food is great for your community — and may be better for your body, too.
Grill up some fish, perhaps salmon, and lightly sauté the vegetables you bought from the market. Or, if salmon isn’t your thing, try grilling a smaller fish, such as cod. It has low mercury content, tons of protein, and large amounts of cholesterol-reducing omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D (for healthy bones!). Not to mention it tastes delicious!
While you could stay inside watching “Dirty Dancing,” why not try some dancing of your own? Taking a dance class with your date is a romantic way to spend your time together, as well as a fantastic way to get exercise. If taking a class isn't your style, how about a night at the club? Dancing for just one hour can burn up to 500 calories, improve strength, and tone muscle — so get out on the dance floor and show off your moves!
This may sound a bit too adventurous for some, but don't write off rock climbing immediately. These days, it isn't an extreme sport for the über-athletic and daring. In fact, rock climbing gyms have sprung up across the country. They're safe, fun, and accommodate all skill levels. First-timers and advanced climbers alike can take classes or just go for it on any type of terrain. Spotting your partner as they scale a wall is a great way to gain their trust and burn calories at the same time.
Spending your day in nature can make for a great date. Be sure you bring lots of water to stay hydrated and take snacks to keep your energy and spirits up. Opt for a trail mix with fruits and nuts over high-calorie, sugar-packed energy bars. If you’re not up for hiking, a leisurely stroll in the woods or walk around the neighborhood also burns calories, gets you out of the house, and can be very romantic.
There are many preconceptions about yoga that simply aren't true. One of them is that yoga isn’t a couple's activity. Like dancing, yoga can be a great way to work up a sweat with your partner. Classes range from Ananda yoga — a calm style that focuses on controlled breathing, slow movements, and body alignment — to the physically demanding and strength-building Ashtanga and Bikram yoga styles.
While most healthy activities require you to get out of the house, this activity requires you to do the exact opposite. A day of bedroom romance is actually one of the healthiest ways you can spend your day. Sex can:
- improve mood and reduce stress
- burn calories
- boost your immune system
- reduce your risk of prostate cancer
- increase bladder control
- reduce the risk of breast cancer
- lower blood pressure
- regulate hormone levels
Wine and chocolate
In the right quantities, both red wine and dark chocolate can be perfectly healthy and even beneficial to your body. According to the American Heart Association, there’s some evidence that a glass or two of red wine a day can lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. The ingredients in dark chocolate, according to the Cleveland Clinic, can also help improve your blood pressure. So have a small amount of dark chocolate, and remember, a “small amount” is not a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
A couple's retreat could be the perfect weekend of health and luxury. Numerous retreats across the country emphasize a healthy lifestyle while providing a weekend of relaxation. Activities range from delicious organic meals to couple's massages and saunas. Many retreats also offer day trips for hiking, mountain biking, or other nature inspired sightseeing.
In the colder months when it might seem tough to find an active date idea, a day at the lanes is the perfect solution. Not only is bowling low-key — it’s great fun, and improves hand-eye coordination. And, contrary to popular belief, bowling and beer don’t have to go hand in hand.
The idea of a horseback ride at sunset may seem like a cheesy ending to a fantasy novel, but a date on horseback is actually great exercise and makes for some adventure. Horseback riding improves your posture and gets your heart rate up, increasing cardiovascular health. Guided rides are available across the country, outside of virtually every city.
Going out on a healthy date is a great first step toward developing and maintaining a romantic relationship built on healthy practices. To make sure you keep your relationships physically and emotionally healthy, learn how to openly talk to your partner about sex and get tips on keeping them satisfied.