Get Healthy: Love your heart

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.Ah, love. With Valentine’s Day taking place Thursday, many are scrambling to find tokens of affection for their beloved. Cards, flowers and candy are all popular Valentine’s treats, but there might be healthier alternatives that you could give your significant other instead. What could be more romantic than letting your sweetie know that you care about his or her well-being?Carson City Health and Human Services’ staff has put together this list of healthy (but still romantic) Valentine’s Day gifts.• Give the gift of relaxation: What better way for your better half to unwind and let go of stress than with a massage or spa treatment? Want to step it up a notch? Get a couple’s massage to enjoy together. Unwind as a pair, instead of stressing about ways to show your love.• Plan a fun, active date: Here in Carson, the ice skating rink is a good option. You can hold hands while you glide together across the ice. Skiing or snowboarding can be a great idea, too, as you get to spend time sitting beside each other on the chairlift. If you are an outdoorsy person and your partner is not, a couple’s exercise class might be a better route, or you could go together to a fun dance class. Physical activity releases endorphins, which will make you and your partner feel happy to be there.• Skip the roses and order an edible arrangement. These fruit bouquets are a great, healthy treat, and they look beautiful. • Stay home with your Valentine and cook a healthy meal together. Cooking together can be fun and romantic, and you control the ingredients, so you can keep your dinner light or make it spicy. Show off your kitchen skills and impress your partner with a home-cooked meal for two. Set the scene by having an indoor picnic or add candles and bring out the china for a more formal affair. You decide!• A bouquet of roses will last less than a week, but with a little patience and a green thumb, you can watch your love grow in a garden. Now is the time to start prepping a garden for spring, and this is one way you can reap a healthy harvest for months to come. Present vegetable seeds and some tools, and get down and dirty together. • If you can’t break away from the traditional, at least try to make healthier choices. Red wine and dark chocolate both have antioxidant benefits, and a wine tasting is a great way to learn about your beloved’s tastes. Make sure not to overindulge, as alcohol can be harmful to your health, and even dark chocolate has plenty of calories. • Do you want to give both you and your partner a gift? If you’re a smoker, quit. Even if it’s just for the day, that’s a great start, and a thoughtful way to protect both your health and your partner’s. Nobody likes kissing an ashtray.In the end, it’s probably much easier to please your partner than you think. “The best gifts are the ones you don’t buy,” said Valerie Cauhape, Health Program specialist. “It’s best just to spend time together with the one you love.”For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at or “like” us on Facebook at


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