Tips for a Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day

by Andrea Eaton, Certified Personal Trainer, Personal Training Manager

On February 14, millions of Americans will have a romantic night on the town packed with food that's no good for their heart, followed by heart-shaped boxes of candy and chocolate. But, instead of supplying your sweetheart with unhealthy gifts this Valentine’s Day, why not tend to their actual heart? There is possibly no better way to honor your commitment to someone than doing something that adds to a long, happy, and healthy life. Here are five ways to show you care about your loved one's heart.

1. Give the gift of quality time. Plan a fun activity for you and your partner. Enjoy being outdoors? Go for a moonlit run, or bundle up and go ice skating, snowshoeing, or skiing. If you aren’t a fan of the cold, try an indoor activity like rock climbing or take a partner yoga class. End the day with a couples massage. Either way, you will have a great time together, and you just might burn a few extra calories.

2. Give the gift of giving back. Ask a date, friend, or family member to volunteer with you at your favorite local charity. Volunteering is one of the best ways to recognize and appreciate the gifts in your own life. Giving back helps boost your mood and eliminate stress, not to mention you are making the day special for someone else in need.

3. Set a ‘table for two’ at home Plan a romantic dinner at home. Better yet, cook the meal together! Most restaurants will be crowded, expensive, and unhealthy. Choose a meal you will both enjoy and share the cooking duties. Who says an apron can’t be sexy? Enjoy your heart-healthy meal by candlelight and enjoy some quality alone time.

4. Do something sweet. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to do something sweet for your partner, both in sentiment and with a delicious dessert. Instead of candy or a treat that is a “heart attack on a plate”, give your partner a fruit basket and share it over dark chocolate fondue. Share you appreciation, love, and support for your partner while enjoying this healthier, yet scrumptious treat.

5. Just move. After a candlelit dinner, invite your loved one to dance. Pick your favorite song and get moving. Choose a slow song to enjoy an intimate moment, or choose a fast song and let go, have fun, and get your heart rate up. This will encourage a few laughs as well! If you aren’t up for dancing, go for a stroll. Not only will this precious time give you a chance to chat without distractions, but you will burn some extra calories to boot. It has been proven that moving after a meal improves digestion and re-energizes the body.

February is American Heart Month, so this Valentine’s Day, here’s to taking care of our loved ones and ourselves!