Valentine’s is upon us. A celebratory day associated with heart-shaped chocolates, fancy four-course dinners and a few glasses of bubbly. Which all sound amazing! However if you, like us, are just getting into the swing of our New Year health and fitness routine, an overdose of sugar, calories and alcohol can potentially damage your progress.
But that is no reason to not treat yourself, a friend or your loved one this Valentines Day with healthier food, activities and gifts. Remember it’s about celebrating the connection between two people or an opportunity to focus on the relationship you have with yourself so here are top tips:
1. Have A Healthy Breakfast
Start your day with a special Valentine’s themed breakfast including pancakes with some red fruits like strawberries or raspberries. Strawberries are low in calories, are an excellent source of vitamin C and B9, as well as potassium. Try out this whole wheat banana bread pancake recipe HERE.
Or why not serve some eggs on whole-wheat toast with sliced avocado, a great source of protein containing heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
2. Enjoy A Night In
Instead of an expensive restaurant, consider having a romantic dinner for two at home or invite some friends over for a fun night in. A home-cooked meal beats an expensive restaurant any day!
Simply set-up your table with a nice table cloth, sprinkle some rose petals or add some Valentine’s themed decorations and cook your favourite dish.
Some healthier options for your mains include this sauteed salmon with citrus salsa dish recipe or try this steak with mixed olive tapenade, butternut squash and green beans dish.
For a group, try putting together your own health-conscious grazing table – allowing guests to graze while saving you time in the kitchen. Think of including foods like lean meats, fresh and dried fruits, seasonal veg and nuts. Alternatively, you can order your grazing table from The Grazing Fox.
3. Treat Someone With A Healthier Chocolate
Rewards are an important part of behavioural change especially during the initial phases of exercise. Rewards help to motivate us and provide validation. So, giving the gift of a small amount of healthier chocolate can be a nice gift for someone or yourself on Valentines Day.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate cacao offers disease-fighting antioxidants, while its flavonoids can boost heart health by lowering blood pressure.
Why not add a bar of dark chocolate to a small basket of healthy goodies and give as a gift to someone in your life who is on their journey to a healthy lifestyle. When on the lookout for dark chocolate as a gift, make sure it has at least 60% cacao. These will have fewer additives such as cream or sugar and are a rich source of antioxidants.
4. Exercise Together
Or why not do something a little different this Valentines weekend and bring along a family member, friend or your other half to the gym to try a class or work out. Alternatively, do some yoga, go for a walk, cycle, swim or run together.
Did you know that lab studies have shown that couples who jointly participated in a physical challenge reported feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love?
Gym Plus members can bring a guest for free all Valentines Weekend (14th February – 16th February). And for anyone who wants to become a member, we have a special join offer for Valentines Weekend, with a 2 for 1 on the admin fee. This offer is available when you and a friend join together in the club (Offer available from Friday 14th February – Sunday 16th February only).
5. Give The Gift Of Wellness
You could also use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to focus on your wellbeing or give the gift of wellness.
One easy idea is to have a complete digital detox and commit to spending the day sans phones or tablets. Proven to reduce stress and ensure you give each other attention, this is a nice way to enjoy your day regardless of what you do.
Or you could head off together for a spa day, taking the time to relax and unwind while enjoying each other’s company. Studies have shown that massages work to relieve stress and lower blood pressure, which makes a day visit to the spa an excellent Valentine’s Day wellness gift.
Finally, remember Valentine’s Day is a time for fun so don’t completely deprive yourself. Have some cake, a glass of wine or a couple of chocolates. But moderation is key. And enjoy!
Join Gym Plus with a friend this Valentine’s Weekend (Friday 14th- Sunday 16th) and save with 2 for 1 on the admin fee. Offer is available when joining in the club only. Try us out for free first with a guest pass. Choose yours HERE.