Giving the Gift of Fitness

Have you ever given anyone a health or fitness related gift, only to have the recipient get offended because they assume you are saying they need to lose weight or get in better shape? Trust me, it can get ugly. And the ones who get the maddest are the ones who need it the most!

Here are some tips for healthy gift-giving this holiday season that will help you give a nice gift, while maintaining your relationship with the recipient.

First, understanding the benefits of regular exercise yourself will allow you to share a gift with someone in the true spirit of love and concern for them. If the recipient can understand you are looking out for their best interest and want them to live a longer and healthier life, the gift will be well received. A corollary to this first point is to give a fitness gift to someone who already understands the importance of healthy activity in their life.

Second, select a gift that can also be used when the person is not “exercising.” A nice sports watch, for example, can be worn as a regular digital watch on a regular basis, then kick into timing laps or keeping pace when the person is working out. Heart rate monitors can be worn without the chest transmitter strap, similarly providing regular sports watch functionality until the user needs that heart rate measurement.

People love high-tech gadgets. Especially men. So the third point is to find something that uses new or innovative technology. In the health and fitness world, there are several products that fit this bill. Timex makes some incredible speed and distance units that use GPS technology to give constant readouts on speed, distance, pace, and more. Newer units also come with heart rate monitors and can send all that data to a separate recorder unit that can download training data to your PC.

Perhaps no one puts high-tech into a wrist unit better than Finnish company Suunto. Their wristop computers are the ultimate in multi-function training devices. They range from simple functions like time, date, and stopwatch to the more advanced altitude, temperature, and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). Suunto even makes units that will keep your golf score, and measure the speed of your swing.

Finally, choose something simple that can be a constant reminder to get more regular physical activity than the recipient is currently getting. A pedometer is a great tool for motivation, as it constantly reminds you to take more steps per day. Pedometers count steps, distance, calories, time and much more (depending on the model). A person can clip one on their waistband and go all day-whether deliberately “exercising” or not-and keep track of their effort.

Whatever health and fitness gift you decide to give this holiday season, be assured you are helping the recipient live a better and healthier life. That’s truly the “gift that keeps on giving.”