These 5 Adventurous Activities Will Improve Your Relationship

Studies show that one of the only sure ways to improve your relationship is to try tackling a new adventure together. This is everything you need to know.


Kelleigh Korevaar |

2000 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples who were in long-term relationships experienced a significant boost in relationship quality when they did new, exciting activities together.

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“If you normally see one another as partners in child-rearing and housework, this isn’t always so romantic. Breaking out of those roles can give you the chance to rekindle romance and see one another in new ways,” says Dr. Jaime Kurtz, author of The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations and associate professor of psychology at James Madison University.

Reach New Heights

Go ziplining with your partner. According to Health Fitness Revolution, ziplining gives you a sense of accomplishment which in turn increases your self-esteem. A study published in the European Psychologist found that high self-esteem is beneficial in romantic relationships and that high self-esteem has a positive effect on the partner’s happiness with the relationship. Alternatively, you could try working on yourself and improving your self-esteem, but that’s not as fun and it doesn’t involve swinging from tree to tree.

SA Forest Adventures offers ziplining in Cape Town, Caledon and Hermanus. You don’t even have to head far out of the city to experience the adventure and scenery. And that’s great considering the price of petrol right now.

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Take The Plunge

Going shark cage diving is one of the greatest ways to face your fears, even if you’re not actually scared of sharks. Trust us, you’ll feel adrenaline and fear pumping through you every minute that you’re out there. That might sound like it will just leave you terrified instead of with a closer, more intimate relationship, but that’s not the case. When you face fears when you want to, your brain and body produce  adrenaline, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. They’re all feel-good hormones that often last longer than the actual scary experience.

In fact, according to a study in Dialogues In Clinical Research, experiencing the ‘good’ kind of fear, the type that makes you grow, can actually cause you to experience a sense of arousal. I’m sure we don’t need to explain why that will improve your relationship.

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Head to Gansbaai for some of the best shark experiences in the world. White Shark Projects has a team of people who have 15 years’ experience in Great White Shark research, conservation and ecotourism, so you know you’re in the best hands. Plus they are constantly working on various community and social development projects.

Get Dirty

Quad biking is a fun way to explore a different city, race each other, and get a bit dirty. Dr. Jamie Burr, an expert in human health at the University of Guelph, says that off-road adventures help prevent heart disease and sleep disorders. On top of that, research by the University of Kansas found that spending time outdoors improves your problem-solving abilities. So the next time you get into an argument with your partner, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the fight and solve the problem you’re dealing with.

You can hit the quad biking trails in Caledon, Hermanus and Grabouw with SA Forest Adventures.

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Be In The Same Boat

Not all of your activities need to be action-packed, adrenaline-filled adventures. A 2013 Journal of Travel Research article found that couples who travelled together had better communication and that connection even extended to when they were back home. The catch? In order to reap the benefits the couple had to want the same things out of the holiday. The holiday also needs to involve shared activities that nurture the relationship.

“Seeking out awe-inspiring moments with anyone you want to feel closer to induces feelings of open-mindedness and affection,” explains Soviet cosmonaut Boris Volyno. According to awe researcher Professor Ami Gordon, “It may override the boredom, the routine you get into. It might help you to see that person in a different light, and feel closer and connected.”

What better way to experience some African awe than to go whale watching? Hermanus is famous for its whale watching and in season you’re almost guaranteed to see one or even a few of the world’s biggest mammals. Plus, you get up close and personal with an animal that’s decidedly less scary than a shark, and you and your partner will reap the benefits. Contact Southern Right Charters for an awe-inspiring experience that you two can reminisce about for a long time after.

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Eat Your Heart Out

“Vacation experiences are made up of seeking and escaping motives. Some are seeking adventure; others are escaping and wanting to relax. The dyad has to match up,” says Dr. James Petrick, co-author of the Texas A&M review and professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences.

You can make eating a new and exciting experience for both of you, instead of just another meal at a franchise near your house. Spending a little extra on a multiple course meal or a wine and food pairing will be an experience neither of you will want to forget. You can dress up and up the romance factor. In fact, several studies have found that red wine improves your sex life and helps you have better sex.

For an amazing food and wine pairing experience, head to Creation Wines. Their wines are award-winning and their head chef is one of the best in the industry. But don’t take our word for it, go and see for yourself. You won’t regret it.

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Alternatively, head to La Pentola. Shaun Savage is an award winning chef whose accolades include American Express Platinum Fine Dinning Award 2006-2012, Chaines Des Rottiseurs Blazon 2001-2012, Wine Magazine Top Hundred Restaurants, RASA Top Hundred Restaurants, Diners Club Diamond Award Wine List, to name just a few. Shane also has cookbooks you can buy so you and your partner can take up a new and exciting adventure together in the comfort of your own home, learning to cook like South Africa’s best. You’ll learn a new skill, improve your relationship even more, and eat great food. It’s a WIN-WIN.

Bottom line: If you’re experiencing a rut on your relationship or sex life, or you just want to work on your relationship, focus on building intimacy outside of the bedroom before you enter the bedroom. It could work wonders, and that’s not just coming from us, the science agrees. A 2010 survey by sunshine.co.uk, a travel company, found that out of 1,927 participants, most couples said they had more intimate relations after a one week getaway than during an entire two months at home.

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