Health and Fitness Holiday Gift Giving Guide

December 7, 2011

Not everyone on your holiday gift list will like a gym membership or running shoes. But fear not, here are some other healthy gifts for the people you will be shopping for this holiday season.

Pomegranate. An easy, inexpensive and healthy gift, the pomegranate is a traditional Christmas fruit symbolizing fertility and birth. Loaded with antioxidants and thought by many to prevent some types of cancer, pomegranates are tasty as garnishes or as a standalone snack. I advise collecting the seeds of a few pomegranates and packaging them in a festive tin to avoid gifting the sometimes frustrating task of harvesting pomegranate seeds, trust me, my stained white t-shirt and I know how hard it can be.

Yoga class gift certificate. Yoga is a calming way to get in shape and all you need is some comfortable clothing, free carpet space and the proper instruction. Nowadays yoga-specific gyms and classes are easy to find and always welcome beginners. Yoga offers amazing workouts ranging from weight-loss and muscle toning to stress relief and physical therapy. Yoga can also vastly improve your ability to regulate your breathing which can have beneficial effects for other fitness activities such as running or bicycling. Personally, I do a simple 15-minute yoga routine every morning to alleviate stress and prevent my sciatica (a lower back issue) from flaring-up.

iPod watch band. Many people think running is boring and I agree with this opinion. One way I have found to alleviate my boredom are these watch bands. They are secure ways to fasten an iPod nano or other device to your wrist and are a safer alternative to holding your expensive smartphone in your slippery hands while running. Having a “soundtrack” while you run can mean the difference between a tedious exercise routine and a fun workout. Plus, I’ve found listening to music can help my pacing and breathing. Give the gift of music “on-the-run” to those on your list who need a little extra help to get up and go.

Badminton. Badminton gets you out of the house and moving. It has a forgiving learning curve and can be an addicting way for two or more people to cooperatively get a light workout. Target, Amazon and other retail stores have reasonably priced badminton sets. It can be played with or without a net so finding a court can be as simple as walking out your front door. I recommend this especially for family or friends who appreciate low-impact sports that are easily enjoyed.

Coffee. Coffee is another healthy and relatively inexpensive gift. As a native of northern California, I am used to freshly ground beans brewed in a French press. Using my new drip coffee maker is somewhat melancholy. Give the gift of gourmet coffee, or if you want to spend a little more, a nice new French press. Although more studies need to be conducted, recent research about the health benefits of coffee indicate that it may reduce skin cancer, prostate cancer and uterine cancer risks.

Bicycle. Bicycles are fantastic gifts for so many reasons. They can cut the cost of commuting and keep you trim and, compared to a car, upkeep costs are minimal. Bicycles vary widely in cost, so you don’t have to break the bank to give the gift of two wheels. Dutch bicycles are all the rage on the West coast these days. They offer an easy ride, large wheels and chain guards so you don’t have to worry about dirtying your nice clothing. Check out local, independent bike shops for deals on new and used bicycles.

Another good place to find healthy gifts while supporting a good cause is the Prevent Cancer Foundation Shop for Prevention page. You can pick from a variety of products that are good for your loved ones and support cancer prevention and early detection research, education, advocacy and community outreach.

This holiday season you don’t have to give predictable fitness gifts to your friends and family to keep them healthy. Think about exploring some of these options to give the gift of having fun while staying fit.

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