4 'thrilling' date ideas to put your romance in overdrive this Valentine's Day

Want to rev up passion and romance with your date? Whether you're newly matched or you've been married for years, adrenaline-boosting adventures can ignite or rekindle your relationship. You see this strategy on reality TV shows like the "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" — couples go bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, NASCAR racing and more — all in an effort to get close fast.

"Doing something physiologically arousing really increases attraction to someone you're at least reasonably attracted to and that you're new with," says Arthur Aron, a research professor of psychology and director of the Interpersonal Relationships Lab at Stony Brook University in New York. "We also have studies showing that if you exercise and then meet someone a few minutes later you're more attracted because your body is stirred up and you're associating those feelings with that person," says Aron, adding that even meeting a person on a scary bridge makes you apt to be more excited by her or him.

Same goes for taking on thrilling experiences with long-term partners: "You're simulating the exhilarating period of discovery experienced when you first started dating," Aron says.

When it comes to butterfly-inducing romance, Cupid doesn't love boring. Here are some thrilling date ideas:

Get behind the wheel of a race car

Auto Club Speedway, Fontana. Prices vary. autoclubspeedway.com

Hop aboard a helicopter

Orbic Air, Burbank. Couples packages start at $399. orbicair.com

Hot air balloon rides

California Dreamin' Balloon Adventures, Temecula. Starting at $148 per person. californiadreamin.com

An old-fashioned roller coaster ride

Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park. Seasonal online pricing: $40 per person. knotts.com


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