Dinner and drinks. Maybe a movie. A timeless Valentine’s Day combo since the dawn of humankind. (Well, maybe not the movie part.) So reliable. So easy. So … unoriginal. Not to mention a real fitness-wrecker.
To help spark your imagination — and find something healthier than a sedentary evening of over-salted food and high-calorie beverage consumption — we polled the healthiest people we know (the folks in Under Armour’s network of trainers) to get their ideas for fun, fit dates.
Whether it’s your first date, or your 1,001st, here are some ideas to keep in mind for Valentine’s Day — or your next night out:
“Without a doubt, sledding is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities during the winter months,” says Shana Verstegen, an Under Armour trainer and world champion log roller. “The best thing about it? It’s a fantastic hill-interval workout in disguise. My husband and I have always loved to get bundled up and see how many times we can run up and sled down our local sledding hill. Now, pulling our son behind us has added to the challenge. Plus there is nothing better than snuggling up with a hot chocolate (or a healthier warm drink of choice) after the adventure is over.”
“I encourage hiking, since we live in Las Vegas and Hollywood,” says Marc Coronel, owner of Open Mind Fitness and a Trigger Point and TRX senior master instructor. His advice applies if you live anywhere warm or if the weather otherwise allows for it. “Go hiking in the morning, make a big healthy salad at home for the family at lunch (we stock up prior to the crazy Cupid Day), take a class in the evening, followed by a home-cooked meal (easier to control food contents and portion sizes). Put in a good movie or a nostalgic one and enjoy the evening!”
READ MORE > MY BIKE, THE MATCHMAKER – VALENTINE’S EDITION
Several of our trainers alluded to twisting, grooving, shaking, moving — or whatever it is you do when you feel the rhythm of a great song. That doesn’t have to mean hitting the club. You can take a class for everything from salsa to two-stepping, and you’ll burn roughly 300 calories for every hour spent on the floor, according to our app.
“You’re going to find this very Canadian,” says Rich Hesketh, athletic development coach at DECAMAN Athletics. “Since we live so close to the mountains, a beautiful experience is to head out to Lake Louise with your Valentine and your skates. They keep a big area clear for people to skate on the lake, and they build an ice palace directly beside the skating area. You can skate as long or as short as you want. After the skate you’re only 50 meters away from the annual ice sculptures on the Chateau Lake Louise grounds. If you’re hungry, look for a restaurant or a café in the Chateau with a fireplace and warm up together. Mind you, if you’re not a skater, there are all levels of walks and hikes around the lake, then you can still finish with the sculptures and the fireplace.” If you’re not in such an idyllic situation, even a good winter’s walk can be a great way to stay warm and get to know your date a little better.
“But not just any class,” Verstegen says. “It has to be something that neither of you has done. Zumba? PoundFit? TRX? Step out of your comfort zone — and who knows, you may fall in love with a new activity! Worst case is you’ll have an hour full of laughs together.” She recommends searching Groupon or similar services for unique activities at an affordable price.
Sandra Gallagher-Mohler, CEO and run coach at iRunTons, seconds that. “Any sort of team-based activity” is a good idea, she says, “especially one that’s new to both partners. New activities bring out a sense of ‘Let’s do this together, us against the world’ mentality, which can build connection and trust between a couple. So things like indoor rock climbing, hiking a new trail, taking a new fitness or even salsa dance class together can be a great way to build fitness and connection simultaneously.”
Coronel concurs. “For the past few years, I’ve suggested to my clients and members to show their love and appreciation to one another by picking a Valentine’s Day date that will actually benefit them as couple and extend their lifespan. So take a class/activity together, perhaps one you both like and another class/activity which you can alternate every year (odd years partner A picks, even years partner B picks). Bowling, roller skating, swimming, taking a TRX class and a class you would not normally attend.”