These fun, calorie-burning activities will strengthen your bond without leaving you drenched and smelly (read: not sexy!)
The idea of going on a fitness-oriented date sounds great—for all of about 30 seconds when you realize you'd rather not have your new guy see you looking like a hot mess. Not all active dates need to be all-out sweat sessions, though. These calorie-burning date ideas will help you get to know each other better (no matter how long you've been together) without any worry if your makeup is running or how you smell. Plus, you can always hit the juice bar (or cocktail bar) afterward for a more relaxed and conversational setting after you've broken the ice during your workout.
Go al fresco to improve muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health, and burn about 600 calories an hour at a moderate pace, says Levi Harrison, M.D., author of The Art of Fitness: A Journey to Self Enhancement. Studies have shown that being in nature relieves stress, so focus on the view (go ahead and let him walk in front of you if he has a nice butt), and chances are the butterflies in your stomach will disappear. Since you're not panting, you'll have plenty of time to chat, and you can always bring a picnic lunch in a backpack to extend the day.
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"This is great for dates because you set your own pace and can talk and soak in the serenity of your surroundings,” says Colleen Ketchum, a certified Pilates instructor and creator of Beyond Barre. “The big plus for a paddleboard date is that the cell phones have to stay in the car." And while you may want to wear your swimsuit under your shorts and tee just in case, balancing is easier than you think and you likely won't take a dip—unless you want to. You'll also really work your core and burn about 400 calories an hour.
The fitness perks here—core strength, coordination, agility, cardiovascular endurance—are only to boot. The real advantage to facing a wall or rock is the support and encouragement you give each during your date, Dr. Harrison says, and that hopefully translates after the ropes are put away. If it's your first time, seek professional guidance in a gym or outdoor setting and no matter what, always be sure to use the proper safety equipment. You may be a little sore the next day, but hey, good excuse to exchange massages.
A gentle or restorative yoga class means no sweat and lots of bonding benefits to form a deeper connection. Even though there won't be much chatting, holding hands in savasana at the end of the session can be better than holding hands on a walk, says Tamal Dodge, a certified yoga instructor and star of the DVD Element: Intro to Yoga. If you can, find a class offered in a park or on the beach to up the romance factor, and keep going together after you're in a relationship: Studies suggest that yoga may help him last longer; improve your desire, arousal, and orgasms; and make you both more sexually satisfied.
Squeeze in a serious upper-body workout and get in sync with your guy—literally. Talking to properly coordinate your strokes encourages team work, says personal trainer Patricia Friberg, creator of the Power 4 Pink DVD, and we all know how key good communication is in a relationship. Though kayaking can be tough, it's also fun and you'll both feel the post-workout high of conquering a challenging workout, so go out for celebratory drinks after.
WIth indoor rinks all over the country, you can lace up those ice skates and glide around together anytime of year. It may sound a little middle school, but it's a great excuse to hold onto each other or show off how you can do spins and then try to teach him. All the while this aerobic workout will be building your balance and working your core, legs, glutes, and arms to the tune of 300 to 810 calories an hour, says Teri Jory, a certified personal trainer, figure skater and owner of Poise Productions.
The possibilities are almost endless here: Hop on a tandem bike or ride side by side in the park, by the beach, through the city, or wherever jibes with both of you. In addition to burning between 500 and 800 calories in an hour, cycling works your large muscle groups (including your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings), so even a moderately paced ride gives your metabolism a little boost, meaning you'll eliminate a few more calories after you hop off, says Kim Truman, a certified personal trainer and outdoor athletic coach.
If your guy protests to the idea of dance lessons, present him the perks of cutting a rug: You're up close and personal, learning each other's bodies, and flirting, all building up sexual tension that you have to wait until later to release. Try out different styles, from tango and ballroom to super sensual salsa or even line dancing, until you find one you both really enjoy. Above all, don't forget to have fun and laugh, even if he does step on your foot—repeatedly.
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