From boxes of chocolates to three-course dinners to movie-theater popcorn, romance and calories tend to go hand-in-hand—but you don't have to abandon your diet plan to show your adoration. This Valentine's Day, treat your sweetie to a healthy date that will leave you feeling blissful, not bloated. Try one of these 10 ideas, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own active outing.
#1. Do the Cupid Shuffle
It doesn't get much more romantic than holding your loved one close while dancing to your favorite music. As an added bonus, you'll get a heart-pumping workout: Depending on the type of dancing, a 150-pound person can burn up to 400 calories in an hour. Enroll in lessons at a local dance studio to unleash your inner Fred and Ginger, or take a Zumba class at the gym for a more fitness-focused routine.
#2. Share the Love
Nothing brings a couple closer like giving back to others. Volunteer some of your Valentine time to help those in need--preparing meals at a homeless shelter, packing boxes for a disaster relief organization, painting a non-profit community center or any other activity that would help benefit your community. You could even reach out to an elderly neighbor who needs help shoveling snow, unloading groceries or walking a dog. Depending on the specific activity, the two of you could burn hundreds of calories while flexing your goodwill muscle.
#3. Shop for Your Own Dinner
Instead of eating high-calorie (and high-priced) restaurant food, go on a date to your local farmers' market to select healthy, all-natural ingredients for your Valentine's meal. In addition to bonding over broccoli, you'll get in some exercise while supporting the local farming community. Grill some fresh salmon, mix up a spinach-berry salad or try a chicken veggie stir fry. After a healthy meal, you'll have calories left over for a sweet treat, such as mini cheesecakes or fruit pizza.
#4. Take Your Relationship to New Heights
You already know your darling would scale the highest mountain for you—so why not turn it into a date? And you don't have to brave the snow-covered peaks: Indoor rock-climbing gyms have become popular around the country. Whether you're an accomplished climber or you've never left the ground, there are terrains for all skill levels. As you support and encourage one another on the ropes, you'll also improve your hand-eye coordination, core strength and cardiovascular health. You'll leave feeling exhilarated, accomplished and up to 600 calories lighter.
#5. Plan an Alfresco Adventure
Going on an open-air outing is a great way to connect with each other and with the great outdoors, while capturing a childlike sense of exploration. Whether it's a sunset stroll around the block, a challenging trail hike or a bicycle ride through the park, you can choose the excursion that best suits your personalities and fitness levels. If you live in a cold, snowy climate, bundle up and head out for a rejuvenating adventure—sledding and skiing are huge calorie-burners—and then warm up with some hot cocoa.
#6. Bowl Each Other Over
Baby, it's cold outside—stay warm by spending an afternoon at your local lovers' lanes. Not only is bowling fun and relaxed, it also doubles as a strength-boosting and heart-pumping workout. Enjoy some healthy competition with your honey while burning 200 to 300 calories an hour. (Bonus points if you bypass the beer and nachos.)
#7. Hit the Rink
Roller rinks aren’t just for middle-schoolers. Whether on wheels or blades, skating is a great opportunity to show off your moves (or hold onto one another for support). Spend an afternoon at an indoor roller-skating rink, or bundle up and hit an outdoor ice rink. Either way, you'll burn hundreds of calories while improving your balance and working practically every muscle in your body.
#8. Connect through Cuisine
Between work, kids and dozens of other demands, it's easy for healthy cooking to take a back burner to fast food. Or maybe you're stuck in a cooking rut, preparing the same few meals over and over. Taking a couples’ cooking class together is a great way to refresh your culinary skills, learn to prepare healthier meals and get ideas for exciting new dishes. As a bonus, it could be the recipe for a stronger relationship.
#9. Relive Your Childhood
All work and no play can lead to a lackluster relationship. This Valentine's Day, take a few hours off from adulthood and enjoy an activity you loved as a kid. Head to the zoo, a gaming center, the aquarium, an indoor water park or anywhere that encourages carefree fun. You'll rediscover the silly, lighthearted side of yourself that attracted your significant other in the first place—and as an added bonus, you'll get exercise without even trying.
#10. Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Even if you've lived in your city since birth, there are likely plenty of places you've never visited. Use Valentine's Day as a chance to explore your hometown's hidden delights. Check out local museums and historic sites, or go on a guided tour of your own city. You'll gain a new appreciation for where you live, while enjoying an active afternoon with the person you love.
When you trade dinner and a movie for a more energetic Valentine's Day celebration, you'll end the date with more memories than calories.
What's your favorite healthy date idea?