With Christmas just around the corner, I would like to give some gift ideas for the fitness buff on your list. Perhaps you are the fitness buff and youd like to see some of these gifts under the tree for yourself. I have included gifts in all prices ranges. All of these gifts can be ordered on-line or purchased at a fitness supply or big box store. Keep in mind that costs are approximate and may vary from retailer to retailer.
These are high density foam cylinders used for releasing tension before and after a workout. Sometimes referred to as a poor mans massage, they are excellent for myofascial release and trigger point penetration. Using body weight provides the pressure needed to roll out pain, stiffness, adhesions and areas where connective tissues adhere to the bones. Foam rollers are available in a range of sizes and density levels. For someone new to foam rolling be sure to include an instructional DVD. Cost: 12.95-$39.95
Resistance bands can be purchased with or without handles; however the handles make these bands very versatile. Bands are available in different tensions as follows:
- Extra light yellow for rehabilitation and those who have little or no exercise activity
- Light Green for those with some exercise activity and rehabilitation. Starting size for women
- Medium Red for those who exercise regularly
- Heavy Blue for intermediate to advanced exercisers: good for training larger muscle groups
- Extra Heavy Gray for trained athletes and extremely advanced exercisers
- These are ideal for frequent travellers. They can be used to increase strength, range of motion and postural stability. Cost: $10.95 - $15.95
Everyone should have an inflatable stability ball for improving core stability. They are versatile, portable and easy to use. They can be used in place of a weight bench and even make a great seat at a desk. These come in a variety of sizes, 45, 55, 65, and 75 cm. Make sure they are burst resistant. Recommended sizes for height categories are as follows: 55 cm 411 54, 65cm 55-511 and 75cm 60 67 Cost: $19.95 - $45.00
Gloves allow your hands to stay dry and also help with grip. Women like them too since they help to prevent calluses from forming on their palms. Neoprene gloves are used to wick moisture, great for those with sweaty hands. Leather has more solid support and is better for those who lift heavy. These usually come in various sizes and a tight fit is important. Cost: $14.95- $35.95.
Kettlebell training uses the entire body for virtually every movement pattern, enhancing strength, balance and hand-eye coordination. Kettlebells also strengthen the bodys seat of power the hips. With a well-developed hip drive, athletes can improve any skill that requires power, such as running or jumping. These are available in a variety of sizes from 2kg 48kg. Women should start with 8kg and work up to 12kg or higher. Look for kettlebells without vinyl on the handles. Costs range from $18.95 - $100.00 or more for the larger sizes.
This is an ideal gift for anyone who loves to walk. Basically a pedometer counts steps. The goal is to reach 10,000 steps by the end of the day. The best pedometers can calculate and display other interesting stats such as distance, calories burned, speed, elapsed time, steps per minute and function as a stopwatch and alarm. Some even have fancy features such as talking, playing music or reading your heart rate. Cost: $15.00 - $350.00
Skipping rope is an excellent way to add intensity to any workout. Intensity is critical for successful weight loss. It is also very portable and can be packed into a suitcase or briefcase. For a beginner a lighter weighted rope is best until stamina and strength have been improved. For a more experienced exerciser a weighted jump rope would be best. Cost: $9.95-$65.00
These are essential for those that do yoga, Pilates, stretching or rehabilitation. Mats come in many widths, lengths, colours and thicknesses. A sticky mat is ideal for the yoga practitioner. A strong and durable hanging mat or a thick cushioned mat is great for rehabilitation and stretching. Cost: $16.95- $129.00.
This is a great little timer for those who love to do interval training. This little timer makes workouts easier to plan and execute with more consistency. One or two different time intervals can range from 2 seconds to 99 minutes. Auto mode repeats intervals and the manual mode acts as a countdown timer. The alarm beeps, vibrates or both in durations of 1, 5 or 10 seconds. It has a clip on the back to attach to clothing. Cost approx. $19.95
This is an ideal gift for those that love to track and write things down. These diaries allow workouts, diet and goals to be tracked. Often they contain helpful tips too. Available at most book stores. Cost: $15.95 and up.
These are great for the fitness buff who loves to workout with their i-pod. The best headphones are ear hook headphones. The soft caps of these headphones fit comfortable even in small ears and the flexible over-the-ear hooks keep them in place while sweating during rigorous workouts. Cost: $20.00 and up.
Replace old BPA plastic bottles with stainless steel bottles. The most practical ones hold 1 1.5L of fluid. Cost: $20.00 and up.
There are a multitude of fitness and wellness magazines on the market. Many of these are for specific interest such as running, walking or bodybuilding. There are also many magazines geared to general health and wellness. Cost: $20.00 and up.
Massage is effective in moving toxins out of and loosening up muscle tissue, increasing joint flexibility and improving long-term performance if done on a regular basis. There are different types of massage, Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai, sports, etc. Make sure that the massage therapist is registered with a governing body. Cost: $85.00 and up for one hour.
For those looking to lose weight and get in shape, a heart rate monitor is a great way to monitor intensity and make sure to work in the target heart rate zone. Many monitors not only provide a continuous heart rate reading but also tell if a person is working in the zone and how many calories they are burning. Basic models are great for weight loss and general fitness. For the athlete, there are monitors that offer multi-sport support, workout feedback and advanced features such as GPS and downloadable data. Be aware that some models come with a chest strap. Strapless models can also be purchased. Cost: $ 25.00 - $40
The TRX allows for training of the entire body by combining variable resistance bodyweight training, elements of instability and multiple planes of movement. Build with industrial construction, the TRX weighs less than 2 lbs., requires minimal storage space and can easily be set up anywhere. A door anchor is available as a separate purchase for home use. The kit comes with an instructional DVD. Other instructional DVDs can be purchased separately. This is an ideal gift for an experienced exerciser who is looking for a change. Cost: Approx. $200