Are you thinking about holiday presents – and not feeling inspired? Consider buying a healthy gift. (No groaning allowed!) A few ideas:
Kites, jump ropes, hula hoops, balls, and Frisbees. Partnership for a Healthy America suggests these favorites on its "10 under $10" list. "Healthy gifts can be very affordable," says Partnership for a Healthy America's Elly Spinweber. "They're also a way to engage with the kids." You can show them your hula-hooping skills – and reminisce while you're at it. Why not start up a Christmas Day kickball game, too?
A membership to a YMCA or health club. You can give one to your aging parent or to your teen. Not sure how to find the closest place? Check out the YCMA's "find your Y."
Edible arrangements and fruit boxes. Sure, they don't last forever. But neither do flower bouquets. Visit the websites for Edible Arrangements and for Harry & David. (If you want to go all out with a gift that keeps on giving, choose a year-round fruit-of-the-month club.)
A subscription to a health magazine. Magazines such as Self, Health, Women's Health and Men's Health will make your loved ones want to hit the gym. Sure, they may run a few too many articles on "rock-hard abs" and "flat-belly diets" – but they're still inspirational. Your present also arrives 12 times in a year – not a bad deal for less than $20.
High-tech health gifts. Blood-pressure trackers (Consumer Reports likes the Omron 7 series wrist monitor), blood-glucose meters (Consumer Reports likes the Accu-Chek compact monitor), and heart-rate monitors (Consumer Reports likes the Timex Zone Trainer) can be a fun way to track progress. "Everyone loves technology," says Dr. David Chess, a geriatrician and internist who is CEO of Enhanced Care Initiatives and president of the nonprofit Project Patient Care. "They love toys, they love gizmos." But would it offend a loved one? No, says Chess, who even suggests a wi-fi scale from BlipCare that can send you your aging parents' weight. He suggests explaining, "This is my way of my knowing what's going on in your health without your having to tell me…I'm concerned about you, and I want to be connected with your life." Younger relatives can track themselves to see if they're gaining (or losing) too much weight. "When we're driving down the road, those white lines are really helpful so I stay inside my lane," says Chess. "A scale is that way. Knowing those numbers – it's knowing if I'm in my lane. If you don't know you're over the white line, how do you correct it?"
A do-it-yourself service. Fix your aging parents' carpet to get rid of easy-to-trip-on wrinkles. Install safety lights. Change light bulbs. Shovel the snow. It's healthy for you – and cuts down on falls and heart strain for them.
A healthy outing. Why not treat everyone to a holiday bowling extravaganza? "I've created my own gift coupon for my niece and nephew that entitles them to a day of doing something together," says Linda Descano, president and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi.
A bike helmet. A designer scarf won't save a life – but a top-notch helmet might. A Bontrager Solstice, for example, costs about $45 and gets good reviews. Colleges such as Stanford University are making a big push to get students to wear protective headgear.
If you've got more creative gift ideas that just happen to be healthy, please leave a comment.
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