There are plenty of ways to show your significant other that you love them on Valentine’s Day, like giving them a bouquet of roses, or giving them a sweet box of chocolates (sugar intake doesn’t count on holidays, right?). But when it comes to planning the perfect date night, our favorite way to show our S.O. our affection is to plan something that’s as good for their health as it is for your relationship. Here, we highlight some of our favorite date night ideas that come with a nice little side of health benefits for you and your date!
Take a hike.
While February isn’t the most ideal month to be hitting a hiking trail in a lot of places, it might be a perfectly fine time to hit a hiking trail in some places. If you happen to live in one of those places, going for a hike with your S.O. is a really easy way to get some activity into your Valentine’s Day plans while still keeping a sense of romance in it, too. This is because while a regular, run-of-the-mill workout class might let you guys work up a sweat together, a hike does that while also giving you a chance to get some alone time in a serene natural setting. Plus, the time spent in nature could spell plenty of benefits that trickle into your relationship, including better communication (thanks to increased cognitive function) and a better mood and lower stress.
Get a massage.
A massage is one of those things that we think of as a luxury, but when it comes down to it, it actually offers a ton of health benefits — e.g., stress reduction, pain relief, detox, sleep improvements — that definitely make it worth making time for. Kill two birds with one stone this Valentine’s Day and book a couples massage for you and your S.O. The two of you will have a relaxing, intimate evening together, and your body will get some much needed TLC.
Go out dancing.
Whether you’re a couple that likes to get their groove on regularly or you’re one of those couples where one of you talks a lot about taking dance lessons together and the other one of you spends a lot of time making empty promises to start “soon,” Valentine’s Day is a great chance to finally get around to it. And there are plenty of reasons behind why a dance together could be great for your relationship. In addition to just boosting your physical connection to one another, there are studies that show how synchronized movement in partner dancing could build a stronger bond and encourage more trust between two people.
Cook dinner together.
Okay, this one is a bit cliché for sure, but that might be for good reason. Cooking is a great way for couples to connect with one another through an activity that encourages unplugging for a bit and simply catchup with one another — all while prepping a meal that you can then share together. In one survey sponsored by Calphalon, 87 percent of people U.S. adults think that cooking is an activity that can totally strengthen a relationship, and 92 percent of the survey participants said that they strongly believed that home-cooked meals brought couples closer together.
Go to a comedy show.
Comedy shows are a great date idea because they help you bond with your S.O. over your shared sense of humor. (Of course, there are those cases in which you go to a comedy show with your S.O. for the first time and they don’t laugh at things that you find to be hilarious, and suddenly you have to rethink your entire relationship. But, let’s just assume that won’t be the case here.) And while you might not traditionally consider a comedy show to be a “healthy” date option, consider this: just the anticipation of laughter alone is enough to reduce certain stress hormones by up to 70 percent, according to one study from the American Psychological Society. As for the act of laughing itself — that can do everything from burn calories (50 calories per every 10-15 minutes of laughter, according to one study) to relieve pain.