How to Go on an Exercise Date


For a lot of people, exercise and dating don't really go well together. Working out is something you do at the gym, either by yourself or in a room full of sweaty classmates. Going on a date, on the other hand, usually involves sitting, eating, watching movies—and maybe a long walk on the beach if you're lucky.

OK, so maybe you're too old for mini golf and batting cages, but there are other ways to enjoy quality time with your sweetie while still being active. (And if you ask me, the batting cages are still a blast too.) Here's our guide to finding—and keeping—a fit fella.

Recruit an active partner…
If you're single and looking for love, you can better your chances of finding a fitness enthusiast by looking in the right places.

The gym might be a good place to start, but let your interactions happen naturally. If you've ever been hit on by an overbearing meathead while huffing and puffing on the treadmill, you know that fitness-club pickups can be awkward and uncomfortable if not done right. Instead, join classes or clubs with people who have similar active interests, or start hanging out in parks and public places where there's a lot of activity going on.

Last year a friend of mine met a great guy through online dating, and he recently told her it was her interest in tennis, listed in her profile, that gave him the motivation to first email her. It was a subject they initially bonded over, and now they barely go a weekend without squeezing in a match or two.

If you're really serious about finding someone who shares your passion, check out online dating hubs like Fitness Singles or the multi-community site TangoWire, which features dating groups for cyclists, runners, dancers, weightlifters, yogis, and more.

…Or convert your sedentary one
My boyfriend and I take turns teaching each other activities we enjoy. He's coaching me to do pull-ups and "real" push-ups, and I show him new yoga stretches after we run. It's helping us both learn new skills and gets us more involved in each others' lives.

Even when one of us isn't in the mood to get off the couch, we can usually strike a deal: He'll buy me dinner at the new restaurant I've been craving, for example, but only if we walk all the way there and back instead of taking the subway.

Don't let differences get in your way
I've tried running side by side with my boyfriend. It doesn't work. He annoys the heck out of me with his "helpful" advice about my breathing, my stride, and my pace. Plus, I run much slower than he does, so he has to either run ahead or he doesn't get as good a workout as he should.

We've come up with a good compromise, though: We jog to the park together, stretch, and then set off on our separate runs (and we savor that alone time!). We meet up at the end to run some stairs together, and then cool down and walk home together.

If you and your significant other are on conflicting fitness levels, there are plenty of ways to work through it: You can bike or skate while he runs, for example, or you can hop on side-by-side treadmills at the gym so you can stay close at different speeds.

Five fantastic exercise dates
Working out together not only is a great time-saver, but it can also strengthen your emotional relationship and even boost your physical attraction to each other. If you're looking for an active, unconventional date, try these suggestions.

  • Hiking: Nothing says romance like a walk through the woods and a picnic lunch. Climbing steep or narrow off-road trails requires communication and trust, so it's a great way to bond while breaking a sweat.
  • Tennis: Get your competitive juices flowing with a one-on-one match or loop in another couple and test out your teamwork with a game of doubles.
  • Day at the beach: Take along a volleyball and some boogie boards, lather each other up with sunscreen, and spend the afternoon in the surf and sand.
  • Walking tour: Explore a new neighborhood, choose a restaurant a mile away, or walk to the theater before your weekly movie night.
  • Canoeing or rowing: An hour on a lake gives you plenty of time to get to know each other—and plenty of upper-body exercise.