‘Tis the season for gift giving. Forget the box of chocolates. We already tend to overeat during the holidays and there’s usually no shortage of sugary treats. The chachkas that you carefully select for your loved ones may end up gathering dust or being regifted. Gift cards sound like the ideal gift because they’re easy to buy and the recipient can select a gift of their choice. However, according to Consumers Reports one-third of gift cards are never used.
Whether the person you’re shopping for is fit as a fiddle and eats for optimal health or is just dreaming about self-improvement, you can express your love with practical gifts that promote health and fitness.
Some of the best gifts are experiences as opposed to material items. A professional therapeutic massage is one idea. If the person you’re shopping for has never gone for a massage and you think she might feel uncomfortable going alone, use your computer to design a coupon good for a Friends Day at the spa, and you can treat both of you. If that’s not within your budget, make a booklet of vouchers redeemable for a variety of free experiences you can do together such as a nature hike in the woods or skating on the canal.
When gift shopping, think of what the recipient might like, not necessarily what you like. You’re only limited by your imagination. An old-fashioned skipping rope is great for cardio. If the recipient likes gadgets, there’s a cordless rope that counts jumps and calories and it’s good for low ceilings. Wearable activity trackers are available in a range of styles, but not everyone is obsessed with counting steps or measuring sleep.
Reusable water bottles and food containers are environmentally friendly and help maintain a healthy weight. Whether your gift recipient is extremely health conscious or could use some encouragement, giving tools to bring healthy snacks, meals and water when they’re on the go will support positive habits. The Israeli invention SodaStream replaces soft drinks by turning tap water into sparkling water. Give the gift of fizz minus the sugar and artificial sweeteners. A spritz of lemon or lime juice or a mint leaf adds natural flavour.
Foodies will love the spiralizer – an inexpensive gadget that turns zucchini and other vegetables into noodle shapes. The smaller pencil-sharpener style model takes up minimal storage space and is easier to clean than the larger hand-crank model. It’ll provide a good arm workout. Loved ones will appreciate this simple device. The veggie “noodles” are a healthier carb alternative to pasta. Serve raw or stir fry.
Yoga is a popular practice for people of all ages. Yoga mats, carrying straps or bags and yoga tops and pants make great gifts. Lululemon is the quintessential brand for fashionable yogis but you can find yoga clothing at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. Gym bags are a nifty idea. Consider the functionality. Some have a separate compartment to keep wet or sweaty clothing or shoes away from other items.
Socks may sound like a silly gift, but it’s something practical that most people would use. Merino wool blend socks keep your feet cozy and wick away perspiration to keep you dry when you’re walking, hiking or running in cold weather. You can find economical multi-packs of brand name sports socks at stores like Costco or you can buy individual higher-end more technical socks at sports stores.
Books, e-books and audio books are literally available on millions of topics including motivation and healthy recipes. Gym memberships, personal training sessions and subscriptions to sport-specific (e.g., golf, running) or healthy lifestyle magazines show you care.
Chanukah Health Tip: It’s a Jewish tradition to celebrate the festival of lights by eating food prepared with oil. Instead of serving your loved ones artery-clogging fried latkes and jelly doughnuts, make baked latkes and drizzle heart-healthy olive oil on vegetables. Total deprivation isn’t necessary. Enjoy a more healthful dessert such as fresh berries with dark chocolate. Moral licensing is the phenomenon that drives many of us to feel we deserve to treat ourselves with something decadent if we recently exercised, we haven’t indulged in some time or it’s a special occasion. This behaviour can sabotage weight-loss plans and over time create a negative cumulative effect on our health. Eight days of Chanukah is eight days of temptations. Are you able to enjoy Chanukah without fried food? For some, that may be a miracle.