Why not give the gift of fitness this year? Here are my top 10 picks for every budget. Whether you need ideas for friends and loved ones or want to add to your own wish list, there is something for every exercise enthusiast!
Go Wallet by Shoewallet ($9.99)
Ever go out walking, running or hiking but don't want to carry a purse or gym bag? A shoe wallet is the answer! Large enough to hold your keys, ID, and even a little cash (in case of emergency), it's a must-have for outdoor exercisers and people who enjoy an active lifestyle. Look for them in a variety of sizes, colors and styles online and in specialty running stores.
Pilates by Rael Isacowitz ($13.57)
This is by far my favorite book on Pilates exercise. It contains everything you need to know to get the Pilates practice, whether you follow DVDs at home, take classes at the gym, or just want to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Pilates method. This book has it allï¿½over 200 exercise demonstrations for mat, Reformer and other apparatus. You cannot beat this price for the quality and quantity of information!
Sony Active Style Headphones with Soft Loop Hangers ($15.26)
Do your headphones ever slip or fall off while you work out? Annoying, isn't it? Well, these headphones are perfect for exercisers. Unlike standard headphones and ear buds that can fall out while you exercise with your iPod, these ones have lightweight loops that keep the ear buds in place while you work out.
Foam Roller by Perform Better ($24.95)
Foam rollers are a growing fitness trend, but they are here to stay. You can perform a variety of exercises using a foam roller, and similarly to a stability ball, they help you engage more muscle fibers and improve your balance during the exercises. Sit, stand, or lie on the roller for hundreds of exercise options, or squeeze it between your feet, hands, legs or arms to add another element of challenge to a standard workout. But perhaps the greatest thing about foam rollers is that you can use them for self-massage. I use a foam roller when I'm sore from exercising. You can "roll" any part of your body on the roller for a feel-good massage. Most come with instructions, but you can also buy DVDs and books for massage and exercise ideas. I recommend this 6-inch diameter, 3-foot long roller for the most versatility.
SparkPeople Fitness Starter Kit ($24.95)
OK, I may sound like a broken record for always talking about this Kit, but it really is great! It's the best deal around for the equipment it contains (stability ball, pedometer, resistance band and workout DVD), making it a perfect gift for anyone who is ready to start a fitness routine in 2009. Plus you can support SparkPeople and Spread the Spark at the same time when you buy from our online store.
Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat ($30)
Why did no one think of this sooner? Yoga mats have to be rolled up, and their obscure shape makes them hard enough to tote, let alone travel. Gaiam's travel yoga mat can be folded up and stashed in a suitcase. Plus it only weighs one pound! As a bonus, you can use it to absorb sweat and enhance grip by laying it on top of your regular mat in a hot yoga class.
Wii Fit All Star Cheer Squad game ($36.99)
Call me geeky, but I must admit that I can't wait to try this game! Designed to appeal to girls and teens, you can cheer, dance and jump along with these fun and heart-pumping routines. It looks like a blast for anyone who loves the Wii Fit, young or oldï¿½including me!
Perfect Pushup ($39.95)
Perfect Pushups are a hot item among men and women alike. We have a set here at the office and it is getting constant usage. Not only do the handles help you keep your wrists in a neutral position, but the height of the handles also allows you to lower even further to the ground, increasing the intensity of the exercise. You can do several different exercises with these, too, and this $40 set comes with an instructional poster of moves.
Nike Women's Gym Club Bag ($55)
For many, a gym bag is an afterthoughtï¿½they just throw their sneakers into any old bag. But for serious gym rats, a good gym bag is a luxury, a motivator, and a style statement. I think this Nike gym bag is chic and functional at the same time. It's the kind of item that I'd love to have, but probably wouldn't splurge on for myself, and that makes a great gift for your favorite fitness buff.
Nike Imara Heart Rate Monitor ($99)
There are many different brands, styles and types of heart rate monitors, but I personally use Nike's Imara Heart Rate Monitor. It's specially designed for women, it's sleek and aesthetically pleasing, and the watch looks good enough to wear even when you're not exercising. Plus, it's got all the major features that most people want in a heart rate monitor: heart rate display (in both beats per minute and percentage), calories burned calculator, alarm, timer, a backlight and more. For true fitness buffs, a heart rate monitor is a necessity! Once you use one, you'll never go back.
See anything you like? What's on your fitness wish list this year?
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