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CindySays: Gift ideas for a more healthy, active life

By Cindy Boggs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- How's the shopping coming? Are you simply going through the motions in an unmotivated yet panicked state as you watch the days slip away?

I find it extremely hard to be inspired in the selection process unless I truly believe in the reason behind the gift.

If you're reading this column, then chances are you value health. If this is the case, here are my top 20 fit gifts from which to peruse. I find these ideas worthy on a variety of levels because they support and/or enhance an active lifestyle. Choosing an item from the lists just may connect your loved one to a healthier and more energetic life.

Nutrition related

  • Blenders (at home) and shaker bottles (on the run) come in handy when trying to supplement your diet with smoothies and shakes.
  • Whey protein to supplement shakes and protein bars for nutrition on the run.
  • Fish oil (a great stocking-stuffer) is the perfect gift for anyone interested in good health.
  • Personalize a well basket for a loved one with dietary restrictions or needs -- heart-healthy, vegan, gluten-free, for example.
  • A healthy cooking class and/or cookbook to learn how quick, easy and economical it can be to eat healthfully.
  • A freezable lunch bag or insulated sack to make packing your food for work a safe and easy option.
  • Activity related

  • Personalized yoga mat so there is no mistaking whose mat is whose in class.
  • A kettlebell training class and a kettlebell (to use at home) will burn calories and strengthen muscles simultaneously -- a versatile metabolic fitness tool.
  • If you already have an Xbox consider the Kinect Trainer exercise program. Animated trainers lead you through personalized workouts in your home.
  • Foam rollers are the poor man's massage therapist. Work out post-exercise muscle soreness and increase circulation. A therapeutic gift for active people.
  • From Loopasana.com, the Alpha Loop is simple yet brilliant reinvention of the yoga strap -- a continuous loop that has no buckles to fumble with and doubles as a mat carrier -- the most versatile accessory the yoga lover will ever need.
  • Buy a three-month gym membership for the loved one who just can't seem to take the plunge into fitness but wants lots of physical activity options and professional support.
  • Certificates for personal training are good for someone who wishes to take their fitness to the next level, is new to exercise, needs individual attention or is serious about sports specific training.
  • Outdoor equipment to support the outside exerciser, such as bike helmet, backpack, survival kit, lantern, hiking boots, cornhole game, ski stuff, gardening tools, polarized sunglasses, GPS navigation, hula hoop, skates, whitewater trip, baseball glove, golf gear.
  • Ear pods that stay put in the music lover's ear to motivate a runner or walker.
  • Activity tracker such as the Fit Bit or Garmin pedometer watch for techies who love feedback at their fingertips.
  • Water optics swim goggles will make the time spent exercising in the water much more enjoyable when your goggles are custom-fitted with your prescription.
  • Massage therapy voucher will be one of the most appreciated gifts by the athlete on your list.
  • ME2 Kids Pedometer awards points each time they exercise and these points magically unlock computer games and activities when connected to computer -- a fun way to limit screen time and encourage physical activity.
  • Healthy apps are available to assist in the quest for a healthier lifestyle, such as counting calories, tracking physical activity, de-stressing and finding healthy recipes.
  • Healthy gifts from the heart

    Whether the people on your list are young or old, active or not, wrap up a fit gift. Nothing will be as valuable or long-lasting. Make no mistake, good health will never magically appear beneath the tree, but the tools to acquire it certainly can.

    Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindysays@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.


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