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Give the Gift of Health & Fitness

Healthy Gift Ideas for Holidays & Special Occasions
  -- By Jen Mueller & Nicole Nichols, Fitness Experts
With the holidays approaching, you've probably got gift-giving on your mind. Stumped over what to get Uncle Joe or Mary, your college roommate? If your friend or family member has expressed interest in getting healthy or already has an established fitness routine, then a health-related gift might be perfect for her! Here are some ideas to get you started:

For the Reader

Health-related magazine subscriptions offer lots of options when considering a title to best fit your recipient's needs and interests. Many magazines promote subscription deals at this time of year, so be on the lookout for those. A typical magazine subscription will cost between $10 and $25 for a year. If you're a current subscriber, often you can purchase a gift subscription for someone else at a substantial discount. Here are some popular magazines to consider: Similar gift ideas: Health, nutrition and fitness books (check out our Healthy Family Book Reviews), healthy cookbooks, health-themed calendars (daily, weekly, or monthly).

For the Fitness Enthusiast

Many health clubs offer short-term gym memberships (one or three months) that give someone a chance to try out the facility and see if they like it. A gift like this is easier on your wallet than a yearlong membership, and may give that special person the motivation he needs to achieve his fitness goals.

Some gyms also sell passes to fitness classes that do not require gym membership. If your giftee prefers a step class over the treadmill, consider buying her a package of fitness classes at a local gym. Also check out specialty clubs (such as Pilates, Spinning or yoga studios) and their class options. For example, if you and your husband have wanted to try Spinning, buy a few classes for both of you to enjoy together.

Similar gift ideas: Personal training sessions, fitness videos or DVDs, fitness equipment (yoga mat or props, stability ball, resistance bands), gift card to a sporting goods store, workout clothing or socks.

For the Music Lover

iPods are hot items right now that can make a workout more enjoyable. For someone who already has an iPod Nano, the iPod Sport Kit is an affordable accessory for just $29. It has a sensor that goes into any shoe and measures activity (distance, speed, etc.), and then wirelessly transmits the data to the receiver on an iPod Nano. The new iPod Shuffle ($79), which holds 240 songs, is compact, easy to use, and makes an excellent gift for any age. And there's always an iTunes gift card (available online or in a variety of stores), which can be used to legally purchase music, movies, TV shows and podcasts for any iPod or mp3 player.

Similar gift ideas: iPod accessories (such as an arm band that holds the iPod while you exercise), other mp3 players, fitness music CDs, gift card to the Apple or other electronics store, Nike+ apparel or shoes (which coordinate with the iPod Sport Kit).

For the Overworked

Who doesn't like a little stress relief and pampering now and then? Spa treatments can be beneficial for both physical health and mental rejuvenation. Spas offer a variety of services that appeal to different interests and price ranges, from massage to manicures, pedicures to peels. "Specialty" spas are becoming more common, such as those that solely cater to men or pregnant women. Do some research about the spas in your area to find the best fit, whether a gift card so your recipient can choose their service, or a specific treatment.

Similar gift ideas: Bath products (oil, gel, loofah, bath pillow), relaxing music or meditation CDs, aromatherapy candles, facial products (scrubs, peels, moisturizers), cozy bath robe or slippers, towel warmer, massage oils and how-to books, reflexology or acupressure socks/gloves.

For the Giver

There are so many health-related causes that rely on donations to keep their programs going. Instead of giving a gift that will end up collecting dust in a few months, why not give a donation to a charitable organization in someone's honor? Here are some organizations to consider: Similar gift ideas: Live tree(s) for planting, store-bought products that benefit a cause (such as pink ribbon items for breast cancer or Red items for AIDS relief), giving holiday gifts in another's name for hospitalized or underprivileged children, other charitable donations for specific causes that are important to your recepient, and bumper stickers or car magnets that bring awareness to a cause. For more charity ideas, visit www.CharityNavigator.org.

For the Runner or Walker

If someone on your gift list has expressed interest in running or walking an upcoming race (such as a 5K or 10K), consider signing him up and paying his race entry fee. Perhaps he doesn't want to do it alone or just needs a little push to register. Another idea is to pay entry fees for your whole family and to start a family tradition of completing the "Holiday Race" each year. There are a variety of races throughout the year in most areas (including kid-friendly "fun runs") and most of them benefit a charitable cause. This is a great way to do something nice for others—both the gift recipient and those benefiting from the charity!

Similar gift ideas: Entry fees for other competitive and non-competitive events (cycling, triathlon, swimming, etc.), a race day gift box for someone who regularly completes races (water bottle or camelback, energy drinks, gels, or bars), gift certificate to a running or cycling store, outdoor workout apparel for your climate.


Now you've got plenty of gift ideas for the health-conscious people in your life, as well as the loved ones who you'd like to encourage along a journey to health and fitness. Hopefully this will make your shopping a little easier this year. Happy Holidays!