So, Valentine's Day is here, or just about here, are you looking forward to a romantic, delicious meal at your favorite restaurant? Did you already or your significant other make those reservations so you’re sure to have a seat at your favorite table. Or are you expecting a card and that large box of chocolates? Or maybe you’re just going to spend the evening home, watching your favorite "Chick-Flick" with that special person who has decided to indulge you with a meal, prepared by yours truly? No matter what you’re doing this Valentine's Day, chances are you’re NOT going to be paying attention to how many calories you’re going to be consuming, are you?

Have you ever wondered how much exercise you would need to do to make up for those Valentine’s Day treats we all love so much? We’ve broken down the calorie count and active time needed to burn off some of your favorite heart-shaped sweets—the results will shock you!

(These calculations were done with body weight equaling 150lbs.)

One Panera heart cookie = 420 Calories → 38 minutes of running (6 mph)
One frosted Pillsbury fun-fetti cupcake = 200 Calories → 25 minutes on the stationary bike
One Reese’s peanut butter heart = 170 Calories → 21 minutes of rowing
One bag Jelly Belly Valentine mix (1.5 oz) = 160 Calories → 15 minutes of jumping rope
One chocolate covered strawberry = 140 Calories → 10 minutes on the stair climber
One M&M’s Valentine fun-size pack = 140 Calories → 13 minutes of running (6 mph)
One Pillsbury Valentine sugar cookie = 60 Calories → 20 minutes of yoga
One chocolate covered cherry = 48 Calories → 6 minutes of swimming
One Snickers Valentine mini = 33 Calories → 8 minutes of jumping jacks
Brach’s Conversation Heart Candies (1 piece) = 5 Calories → 1.5 minutes of walking (2.5 mph)

Indulging a bit too much may have you feeling a bit guilty the next day and find you making your way back to your gym, where you may have a hard time remembering just where you stashed your membership card 

And since we mentioned a trip to the gym, we thought we’d just mention a few things you can do to jumpstart your fitness routines so in the future you’re not straying too far off of the fitness path.

Don’t Overdo it Right off the bat!
Doing too much too soon can overwhelm you mentally, and a rigorous routine may eventually feel like too much to deal with, which in return may make you feel defeated." Understand that you're probably not going to be as fit as you were, if you've not exercised in a while, "Pre" Valentine’s Day, and that's OK. You can start with just 10 minutes a day; the goal is just to get moving more. Research has shown, time and time again, that people have a tendency to overdo it initially, and they can end up with injuries, which ends up putting them further behind any fitness goals they may want to reach. The reason being if you’re not conditioned properly then your body is not prepared for the extra activity, you’re going to subject it to. Low-intensity workouts are a good way to reintroduce the body to activity, frequency, and duration. After a week or two, you can bump up the intensity, as long as you're not feeling any pain, just muscle discomfort, which is normal as the muscles get used to being used again.

Make sure your workouts include three key components.

When you're getting back into fitness, your exercise plan should include components of cardiovascular endurance, resistance training, and flexibility, this is what most trainers recommend. Combining all three components will give you the most satisfying results faster than by just strength training alone. And always remember to go at your own pace and listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to back off a bit.

Begin with what works for you!

Do you only feel comfortable committing to one day a week initially? Fine, mark it on your calendar and stick with it. Don't feel like you have to immediately start logging five to six gym workouts per week. Remember you can't get to three to four days a week without mastering day one, so just make that start. As you get comfortable, try to work your way up to four days a week. The body responds to consistency over time, so your results will come much faster if you can keep a regular pattern and frequency.

Don’t forget to take those “Rest” days!

Another reason not to jump into a six-days-a-week workout routine: Recovery is part of being active. "When you take a day off, your body isn't. It's actually working very hard to repair and replenish itself after all the work you put it through. Rest days are key to long-term wellness! This is a lifestyle you're creating now, so be realistic about the frequency of your exercise program.

A good warm-up preps your body for the increase in activity and a cool-down allows your heart rate to return to a normal resting rate. Don't cut corners here. Muscles that have not been accustomed to strenuous activity for some time, will experience some form of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which basically means you are going to be tight and achy for 24-72 hours after your workout. You may also experience this as you work out regularly, but up your intensity. A proper cool-down session can reduce some of this soreness.

When you skip the stretch after a workout, those muscles that were just working so hard can tighten up, increasing your risk of experiencing an injury. For serious athletes and marathoners, cooling down is even more essential since it helps regulate blood flow throughout the body, bringing it back to a balanced state.

Stopping or slowing down too quickly is not the right way to bring your body back to center. Doing so can cause dizziness, and in serious cases, lead to blackouts. Once you've completed your workout, start decreasing your pace incrementally over a period of three to five minutes to bring your heart rate back to normal and promote healthy blood and oxygen flow.
Don't skip the stretch: Stretching after cardio may feel like a luxury on a busy day, but this is the time to work on your flexibility since your muscles are already warmed up from your workout.

Getting back to the beginning of this post, We’re not saying to not to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, but it’s good to keep in mind the real cost of these seemingly small indulgences. When you treat yourself or your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, consider also making a date to the gym to work it off together—nothing says “forever” like taking care of your health!