Be honest; when you think of a traditional “date,” what comes to mind? Maybe a movie or dinner?
That’s pretty lazy.
No offense—I love a cozy snack as much as the next girl, and some of my favorite historical quotes are from the big screen (No, it’s a cardigan. Thanks for noticing!).
But times they have a-changed. By the time the long work week is over and date night arrives, the last thing any of us needs is more sitting.
If you’re lucky enough to earn your living moving your body, count your blessings, ‘cause you’re one of the few. Less than 20% of us have a physically demanding job these days, so even if you don’t need to stretch your creaky old bones, your date probably does.
Here’s your chance to take the romance on the road, which might actually make for a better date.
Excitement and adventure can create attraction, even between relative strangers, and there’s a mountain of research supporting the many mental and emotional benefits of working out as a couple.
Here are some of the best date night/day activities that are fun, active, and great for couples who want to get closer.
If you’ve never tried rock climbing, there’s no better time. Indoor climbing gyms all over the US have made it convenient and safe to get your first taste of climbing in as little as a half-hour.
Indoor climbing is a fantastic winter date option and offers hours of entertainment in a low-pressure environment. Climbing partners can easily lose track of time and spend hours working out a challenging climbing problem together.
If your goal is to get closer to your special someone, choose a gym that offers top rope climbing. Top roping is a partner activity that requires trust and focus, offering you an opportunity to overcome a challenge and get closer as a result.
Afraid of heights?
Don’t let that stop you from climbing. Just choose hard climbs so you won’t get far up the wall. You’ll get the challenge, without the height.
Bonus points if you are both new to the sport— you get to work through the rookie speed bumps together. Climbing requires flexibility, strength, and, above all, problem-solving, which can go a long way in developing the kind of communication skills every couple needs to succeed.
Paddleboarding is a great date option when the weather is nice. You’re guaranteed to get a workout, and your date gets to see you flex those abs. It’s a nice quiet activity that leaves room for talking and connection but still has a high adventure quotient. You never know when a rogue ripple might knock you off your board and really get the party started.
In addition to the exercise benefits of paddling around the lake for an afternoon, your mental health will get a boost from being outdoors. But keep an eye on the sunscreen reapplications so you don’t end the date looking like a lobster.
Due to popular demand, paddleboarding is extremely popular, so most destination lakes offer rentals by the hour or day. And even if your favorite lake doesn’t have them right down by the boat launch, you can probably find an outdoor rental place nearby with a quick Google search from your phone.
Bonus: Paddleboarding doesn’t require much clothing, so if you’re hoping to enjoy some more intimate postdate exercise activities, you’ll be all that much closer to getting your date undressed.
Unplug for a while and get a dose of high-altitude scenery on your local hiking trail. Even relative flat-lands have some type of hiking options. Plus, the focus should be on spending time together doing something fun and physical. You don’t have to be an alpinist adventurer to enjoy nature.
Getting your butt out of your domicile and into nature can have a grounding effect on the human body, causing a reduction in inflammation, which in turn reduces cortisol levels, leaving you and your date chill and relaxed. Most people are more open, receptive, and emotionally available when their stress levels are low, so a relaxed hiking partner is one you’ll get to know better.
Hiking is undoubtedly one of the cheapest year-round date options available and doesn’t require costly gear to participate. Aside from the obvious weather-related gear (t-shirt vs. jacket), all you really need to enjoy hiking is a comfortable pair of shoes, and maybe a hat if it’s windy.
And bug spray…lots of bug spray.
Check out your local state parks website and other resources like Trails.com to find the top hiking trails in your area, and access topo maps to keep you on course.
Planning an active couple’s experience is a clever way to transform your average date night into a fun and invigorating bonding experience for two. Get out, get closer, and build the kind of healthy relationship you deserve.