Fit Gifts – Wrapping Up Health for the Holidays
Some of us love getting gifts that help us workout more or differently. But some of these are the kind that involve a little cautionary advice: if someone is not currently exercising and isn’t likely to want to, then giving the gift of fitness can feel like code for “You’ve gained a few pounds this year, haven’t you?” Don’t go there. If your loved one is happy sitting on the couch then a couple new throw pillows might be more appropriate, but otherwise, here’s our list of gifts that help folks stay fit or get fitter:
Stability Ball. These large inflatable balls are great for core and balance work and deflate so you can throw them in a suitcase and take them on the road. Sizes are height based, so check the back of the box for a sizing guide. Cost: $18-35.
Yoga Mat. Great to have one at home and one at work. Heck, keeping one in the trunk of the car means you’re always ready for a quick Down Dog. Cost: $12-40.
Health Club or Group Exercise Passes. A health club pass could get someone who doesn’t currently use a gym in the habit. Cost: $7-12 each, though some discounts may apply for a large number of passes.
A Fit Monitoring Gadget. Whether it’s a FitBit, a pedometer, a heart rate monitor, or any number of devices that help wearers help themselves, these gifts do all kinds of things and run the map in terms of price. Options abound, and if the choices make your head swim, check out consumer reports, or default to a simple heart rate monitor or pedometer.
Music. Tunes make any workout better. You can give an MP3 player so your loved one can play his or her jams or consider an iTunes or music gift card. Or – the more personal and old school route – make them a mixed CD or preload music onto the player you give them. MP3 players start as low as $10-15.
A Massage. Can you ever go wrong with this one? Even people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of running shoes will happily flop down for a little deep tissue work.
A Healthy Experience. A commitment to take a friend or loved one skiing, on a hiking or canoe trip, is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime gift memories are made of. Agreeing to babysit for a friend so he or she can get in a workout here or there or join a weekly meditation group might remove a final barrier to true fitness.
Local and Healthy Food. Make learning about and enjoying healthy food easier for someone you care about, even on the run. Combine that with a few of your favorite recipes (you can even put them in a book or binder), a cookbook, or a dish you’ve made yourself, and you’ve got a very hearty offering. Or make a personalized fruit and nut basket, choosing your own fruits and nuts from your local Martin’s produce department.
Make this salty-sweet combo that gives you a double shot of antioxidants. Package your bark in decorative bags and tie with a festive ribbon.
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Bark
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Line with parchment paper. Pour in melted dark chocolate and smooth evenly across baking sheet. Top with chopped pistachios and sea salt. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.
Try adding additional toppings, such as dried fruit (raisins or cranberries), unsweetened coconut, ground ginger, citrus zest.
And don’t forget a healthy gift for yourself that only you know you need. Maybe it’s delegating more tasks at your job, or hiring someone to clean your house so you have a little more time in the new year. Things like new athletic shoes, sports bras and other gear where fit is important are best bought by their user, so don’t wait for someone else to get those for you.