Get Healthy Carson City: Love your heart | NevadaAppeal.com

Get Healthy Carson City: Love your heart

Cortney Bloomer and Valerie Cauhape
Carson City Health and Human Services
love shape hand silhouette in sky
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

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 coming up in less than a week, many are scrambling to find the perfect gift to express their love. Cards, flowers, and chocolates are all tried and true 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 you care about their well-being?

Carson City Health and Human Services’ staff have 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 for you both to enjoy together. Unwind as a pair, instead of stressing about ways to show your love. Plan a fun, active date. Snowshoeing around Lake Tahoe presents breathtaking vistas and plenty of opportunities for hand-holding. Skiing or snowboarding can be a great idea, since you get to spend time sitting beside each other on the chairlift. If you’re an outdoorsy person and your partner isn’t, 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, and happy to be with each other.

If you’re planning to engage in a romantic sexual interlude with your partner, give them the gift of safer sex. Get tested for STDs, and present them with a clean bill of health. Always use condoms to prevent the spread of STDs and reduce the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. If you’re uncomfortable talking about safe sex, practice what you’d like to say to your partner ahead of time so you don’t lose your nerve in the heat of the moment.

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 for 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. With a gift of vegetable seeds and some tools, you and your love can 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, since 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 gift is just to spend time together with the one you love.

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CCHHS.