Whether you’re married, dating or living up the single life, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of having your social life revolve around food and drink. You go out with co-workers for happy hour. You meet friends for coffee. You’re constantly out with your love for dinners on the town. It’s easy to see how it happens: Everyone has to eat, so why not do it together? But believe it or not, there are ways to keep your social life active while burning calories, rather than consuming them. So if you’re tired of the standard dinner and movie night—and want to avoid the high-cal movie theater temptations—here are some ideas for date nights that will get you moving.
I had never played laser tag until recently, when my husband and I went out with friends for a laser tag birthday celebration. I had no idea what to expect, and if I had, I would have dressed in short sleeves for sure. You suit up in a vest with sensors, grab a laser gun, and you’re ready to roll. For 15 minutes, you move stealthily around the arena, trying to sneak attack your enemies while trying to avoid being shot yourself.
When I first heard that games only lasted 15 minutes, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed so short. But by the end of 15 minutes, you are sweating both from the adrenaline of the hunt and from moving around so much. I must admit, I was pretty terrible at the game, and only got worse with my second game, but holy cow was it fun. Moving around for 30 minutes total—up and down stairs, too—gave me a good workout. My wrist was even sore the next day from holding the gun.
I know it’s not exactly the season for ice skating, but just because it’s not Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t get your skate on. Most skating rinks have open skates, and hitting the ice is a great way to cool down from the summer heat, as well as have an excuse to hold hands with your significant other. Plus, you can always go elementary-school style and hit the roller rink. Trust me, once you do the limbo, you won’t have any doubts that skating is a good workout.
There’s no doubt that hiking is a good workout. I personally don’t like to hike alone because I watch way too many crime shows. But bringing a friend or partner along on a hike not only helps you have safety in numbers, but it’s also a great opportunity to bond in nature. Bring a picnic and bottle of wine to make it a real date—or at the very least remember to bring lots of water.
Strap on those dorky borrowed shoes and start aiming at those pins. I know bowling isn’t the most active date night you can have, but it gets you off the couch, doesn’t it? Plus, whenever I go bowling, I generally get in a few gut-busting belly laughs, so it counts as ab work. Just don’t drink too much beer to offset your calorie burn. And stretch that arm—the only time I have elbow-area soreness is after bowling.
Sure, you won’t get a high calorie burn, but putt-putt is still a fun active date. You’re getting a good 18 holes of walking in, and don’t discount all of the up and down squatting to pick up your ball after you sink a hole in one. Plus, don’t underestimate the amount of effort it takes to get that golf ball up some of those wicked hills they throw at you in the form of igloos and animals.
Although I’m terrible at it, I still love to dance. Dancing is great with the man-friends or the lady friends and is a ton of good clean fun. Take a ballroom dance class, and you’ll have a standing date each week to get your groove on. It’s no gym class, but that doesn’t mean you’re not getting exercise. I recently danced my arse off at a wedding, and in my tipsy haze, actually remember thinking, “Wow, my legs are TIRED!” If you’re out on the town, try not to drink so much that you offset the activity, though. Moderation is key.
What are your favorite active dates? Give us your ideas in the comments! —Erin