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Health, wellness gifts in abundance

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A health club membership or time with a personal trainer is among health and wellness gifts to consider this holiday season.

HIME ROMERO/209 Health & Wellness/

POSTED December 19, 2012 5:27 p.m.

The gift of health and wellness is a great gift indeed.

Since one can’t bestow such a gift on a person with a magic wand, items have to be purchased with dollars and “sense” to help the recipient with meeting, maintaining, or surpassing health and wellness goals for themselves.

When it comes to gift giving, it’s important not to send the wrong message. The spirit in which the gift is given needs to come through – this means that it needs to be from the heart. Excuses, whether overtly stated or not, such as “I’m obligated to get you a gift,” or “Here, I think you need this (because what I think matters most),” or “I didn’t know what to get you, so I just wrapped up this thing” do not count as thoughtful.

Among some of the worst health and fitness gifts mentioned in an Internet search were a bathroom scale, a neoprene waist-slimming belt, and a workout bra. These are on the “do not buy” list, unless someone has clearly stated in their letter to Santa that they want such items stuffed in their stocking.

However, for when your intended gift recipient is a workout or wellness fanatic, or even wants to attempt to jump on that bandwagon, it makes the health and wellness gift-giving a little easier. Remember, personalizing a gift is also always a nice touch. Having the person’s initials, name, or some special inscription engraved or embossed on an item (if possible) shows you made a special effort. A few ideas and guidelines are suggested below for smaller and larger budgets.

Working Out

A gym membership can be a good gift if the intended recipient has expressed an interest. Beware though, the recipient needs to be interested in going to the gym in the first place. Just because the gift-er thinks the gift-ee needs to work out or lose weight, doesn’t mean the gift-ee feels the same – even if they do, they have to be ready and willing to start without feeling judged. For those recipients who are motivated toward fitness but need some extra support, sessions with a personal trainer might make them feel like a celebrity.

Classes from a dance studio are a fun gift and a good workout for the person who enjoys dancing but isn’t into the gym scene. Extreme workout DVD sets such as P90X or Insanity can have big payoffs for the user but are fairly costly in the realm of workout videos and, therefore, appreciated when someone else pays for them. There are also myriad other workout DVDs out there that aren’t as “extreme” for the more low-key workout person.


Nutritional consulting, diet plan memberships, and diet plan products tend to enter dicey territory unless the intended recipient has expressed a desire to obtain them. Nonetheless, sometimes the only thing holding someone back is a lack of moolah to afford such programs.

Other gifts that people tend to have a hard time spending money on for themselves are high end blenders, such as VitaMix or Blendtec. These powerful blenders do a lot more than the standard kitchen blender and are favorites of health nut types.

Other great gifts can be vitamin store and nutrition center gift cards or a canister of the recipient’s favorite protein powder. The cost of supplements can really add up, especially if the recipient is working toward a particular muscle-building, weight loss, or other health goal and needs supplements to accomplish that goal.

For The Self-Motivated

A trip to the sporting goods store will result in innumerable choices for the fitness buff on your Christmas shopping list, there is something there for nearly everyone. Jump ropes, boxing gloves and bags, free weights, yoga mats, Bosu and exercise balls, stretching bands, mini trampolines, roller blades, running shoes, workout apparel, water bottles, or pedometers – you name it, it’s in there.

People who play sports involving the use of balls can never have enough of them around as they frequently get lost, beat up, or go flat. There are basketballs, footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, tennis balls, or golf balls. Don’t forget mitts, bats, rackets, and other related gear.

Traveling Outdoor Types

For cold weather revelers, snowboards, skis and all the accompanying accessories typically go out of style or become obsolete every couple of years because of new technology. Hand warmers for pockets, survival kits, and first aid kits are also good for the person who travels up the mountain to enjoy their sport.

Some people just like to hop on their bike and ride. A mountain bike, road bike, or fun kids bike are great for young and old alike. Biking accessories for the casual or diehard cyclist work well if your budget is smaller.

Hydration system backpacks are the modern day canteens that hikers, runners, and other highly active types like because they don’t have to stop what they’re doing to rehydrate.

Gadgets, Technology

There are tons of sport bands or sport watches on the market that have numerous functions such as GPS and track distance, pace, calories burned and more. Many people enjoy listening to music while they exercise, so smaller items like special workout earbuds for MP3 players or smartphones are good for under the tree or as stocking stuffers.

Looking for a gift that’s considered fun exercise? Video gaming systems including Interactive Wii, Xbox Kinect, or Playstation Move have games such as Just Dance, Zumba Fitness, Wii Fit and others that most kids and adults seem to enjoy. There are also the accessories that are needed for the interactive games, and then there are the gaming systems themselves.

Ahhh, Wellness

When it comes to wellness, let’s not forget little indulgences like massage or spa treatments, aromatherapy oils, or acupressure mats that many people won’t purchase for themselves. Keeping a healthy body and mind go hand in hand, especially if stress is a regular part of a person’s life, so relaxation gifts can contribute to overall well-being.

Health and fitness magazine subscriptions or books may also be appreciated, as well as special diet cookbooks. Gift baskets can also be ordered over the Internet filled with items that focus on a person’s particular health issue, diet, or other wellness aspects.

Big Spenders

For bigger budgets, maybe your intended recipient enjoys home workouts so a universal weight set, or treadmill, or elliptical trainer may be in order but make sure they have room for such pieces of equipment. Be sure you’ve done your homework to determine if your recipient is a bona fide athlete or just a weekend warrior because certain types of equipment can have different levels of workout intensity, depending on the model.

Perhaps your loved one enjoys golf. One special golf club or even a set of quality golf clubs can set the giver back several Benjamins (hundreds of dollars) or much more, so be aware that golf clubs are kind of like jewelry in that they’re of a very personal preference. They have to fit right and feel right. What’s right for a beginner isn’t right for a veteran player, beginners may do well with less expensive clubs while a custom fit may be in order for a more experienced player.

Another high-end option would be a membership to a country club – or tennis club, yacht club, or sportsman’s club – just make sure the recipient can afford the ancillary costs. Some clubs have different types of memberships available, such as weekday-only or peak-hours-only memberships, to fit a person’s busy lifestyle.

Is the gift recipient more the farm type? Horseback riding, believe it or not, is also a good workout depending on the type of riding that’s done. Quality tack, such as saddles and bridles, can be quite expensive but are generally much-appreciated gifts for a horse owner. Almost every kid at some point in their life wants a pony – you could be the person who buys it for them. If an actual horse isn’t what you had in mind and you have a horse rider or horse lover on your list, riding lessons at a stable or training facility are still an investment but may not require the rider to own a horse. While a horse can be a wonderful gift, it is not only an expensive purchase but is one that requires expensive, ongoing maintenance – be sure you know what you’re getting into before you decide to buy one and tie it up under the Christmas tree.

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