There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
When Valentine’s Day comes to mind, we often think of dinners out, chocolates, and flowers or other gifts. Yet, overindulging at a lavish dinner and having a few sweets to top it off isn’t always the healthiest way to spend this romantic holiday with someone special – nor do you need flowers that may only last a week at most. While there’s nothing wrong with evenings like these on occasion, you might also feel a desire to break free from routine. Why not switch it up this year with something more rewarding – and more in line with optimal health?
Making better decisions is easier when two people are on board. Whether you’re looking for healthy ways to celebrate with your Valentine or you’re simply seeking beneficial habits you can begin practicing as a pair, here are some health-oriented ways to spend time together.
While it may seem obvious, cooking together is an intimate activity which can go overlooked. The cooking process bonds couples in a way that going to a restaurant together cannot; you get close in the kitchen, collaborate on a meal, and communicate without the concerns of being overheard by the next table.
Making meals together also has a range of health benefits. Research indicates people who cook at home frequently have healthier overall diets than their peers who dine out regularly. Families who cooked at home six times per week had a score of 74 on the Healthy Eating Index, compared to a score of 67 for those who dined in half as frequently. 
If you’re seeking meals to make together for a romantic evening in, you can find plenty of inspiration from cooking websites, like those found at at Cooking Light. To stay on theme, consider incorporating plenty of red ingredients into your meal – red fruits and veggies are known for their abilities to reduce the risk of:
Take Your Date Outside
No one said Valentine’s Day has to be celebrated by candlelight. You and your loved one can make a day date of exploring a local city, park, or other outdoor area for a more adventurous way to celebrate.
Of course, if you’re located in the northern U.S., trekking outdoors might be the last thing you want to do this time of year. Even if you’re not a fan of winter-weather activities like skiing, you can still bundle up and tour a local city, scouting out museums, boutiques, and any other points of interest.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where the weather is milder this time of year, consider these outdoor-themed date ideas:
- Take a hike, a walk through a nature preserve, or a sunset beach stroll. Bring healthy snacks to keep you fueled on longer outings.
- Plan an outdoor picnic with healthy foods and maybe even some red wine – one glass is a great way to help you relax.
- Take a bus tour around your city. You might learn something new about your locale!
Of course, these dates don’t have to be reserved for Valentine’s Day exclusively. In fact, they’re perfect activities to incorporate into your regular routine for a healthy twist on the average date night.
Work Out Together
Finding the motivation to exercise can be challenging when you’re going it alone. Working out with a loved one can make the experience more enjoyable, providing social interaction and motivation. Here are some workout ideas for you and your “swolemate” to try together:
It’s a simple but underrated way to get the blood flowing, increase heart rate, and improve muscle mobility. Simply head out the door, go to a trail, or pick a park and engage in a brisk, 30- to 45-minute walk with your significant other. Leave cell phones at home and use this time as a chance to catch up.
- Try team circuit training.
Circuit training is an ideal partner activity because it moves quickly, preventing you both from getting bored. Plus, you can challenge yourself while motivating your significant other. For a simple bodyweight circuit, try:
- Side-by-side lunges
- Team clap pushups (modify by staying on your knees)
- Partner sit-ups
- Side-by-side wall sits
- Modified clap plank (follow the clap pushups above, but skip the actual pushup part)
- Or, give this partner ab workout a try.
- Practice a new (or old) sport together.
- Whether you both have an affinity for tennis, you like shooting hoops together, or you’ve always wanted to give cycling a try, sports can make for an excellent date experience. Just take things slowly if one person is newer to the activity than the other.
While the activities above work well as couples’ activities, they can also be done with anyone who matters to you – including other family members and friends. Next time your pals or family members suggest catching up over drinks, consider posing one of these options as a healthier alternative.
A Healthy Valentine’s Day - In Conclusion
No matter which of these activities you choose, being with your partner is the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day. This year, take the pressure away and simply enjoy each other’s company. Exercising, eating well, and exploring new experiences as a pair will help you maintain a thriving, enjoyable life together. This is the best gift you can give each other, so have fun – and Happy Valentine’s Day from Cenegenics!
Here at Cenegenics, we know that getting healthy is more than just a personal goal – it’s also something you do for the most important people in your life. That’s why everything you need to achieve and maintain the best version of yourself is included in the Cenegenics cost of program membership. See how we’ve transformed the lives of so many other individuals by checking out the Cenegenics review page.
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About the Author
Joshua D’Alessandro - MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City
My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me!
This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:
The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT
Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.
Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS
Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.
 Cooking at home tonight? It’s likely cheaper and healthier, study finds. University of Washing Health Sciences/UW Medicine. Derived from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170314150926.htm
 Eating the Rainbow: Why Eating a Variety of Fruits and vegetables Is Important for Optimal Health. Honeycutt, Emily. December 8, 2017. Derived from: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/eating-the-rainbow-health-benefits/