Add a little love to your workouts — you'll feel the benefits

Belated Happy Valentine's Day, City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.  After more than five decades on the planet, I’ve finally discovered the secret to a fit, healthy, and prosperous life.  

The secret is one word:  Love.  When the intention behind our actions is love, whether it is working out, cooking a family meal, or reading a bedtime story, love is the magic that makes everything mo’ better.

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to reset your intentions and shower yourself and your significant other with more love.  After all, love is more important for your health and fitness than even exercise, red wine, and heart-healthy sex!  

For decades, scientists have known that love improves our health, but there is also compelling evidence that love even improves longevity, and  aids in quicker recovery from illness and injury.  

So don’t worry if you don’t have washboard abs, a big bubble butt, or the so-called perfect 10 body type, because while perhaps titillating to look at, none of these attributes are true indications of health or fitness.  

The most important thing is to take the very best care of yourself and your loved ones and do it with love.  Strive to have fit, happy, and healthy relationships (including with yourself).  In the spirit of St. Valentine, do it with love, do it often, and do it together.  Here are six ways to stay authentically fit, healthy, and happy together:

Pump Up Together: Couples who train together stay together.  Well, maybe.  Hitting the weights together will not only help tone and shape your muscles, it is yet another bonding opportunity, and working out together will surely have you appreciating and admiring each other's physique.  Motivating each other in the gym has exponential benefits that will help make your relationship flourish!

Winter Walking: A nice brisk winter walk through the snow while holding hands can be a romantic and healthy way to get the fires burning.  During the spring and summer, hiking is a great way to experience the outdoors, get great exercise, and bond as a couple.  Reconnect and reignite your love with this simple practice.  

Dive into the Pool: Getting wet together in a non-competitive lap pool will get your heart rate up, tone all your major muscles, and may whet your appetite for some horizontal stroking, too. 

Couples Dancing: No matter your dancing flavor, couples dancing is always great exercise and sexy, too.  Don’t knock it before you try it.  If you’ve never tried social dancing before, give one or all of these a whirl:  Chicago stepping, the Hustle, salsa, swing, cha-cha, rumba, waltz, foxtrot, mambo, and country western.  Working  out on the dance floor also burns calories, is interactive, and a ton of fun.  The sensual routines and intimate moves will help you both get into better shape while building a stronger relationship.  Does it get any better than that?

Cook Healthy Meals Together: Forget about going out to eat -- cook up sizzling and sexy meals together.  Second to dancing, there’s nothing more sensual and satisfying than cooking a meal together.  Oh, yeah, pumping your culinary skills is very sexy.  It matters not if you’re a pescatarian, vegan, or omnivore, because everyone has the potential to  cook up delectable aphrodisiac meals.  Pair your meal with a lovely pinot noir and chocolate truffles, and all will enjoy a happy ending.

Tandem Bike Riding: A tandem bike is a two-person bike, which looks weird to most of us, but it can be a cool couples workout.  You definitely have to work as a team on a tandem bike, and it  requires trust.   Go ahead, try something new, but rent a tandem before you buy. 

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesdays monthly.