Dr. Kevin Most: Christmas Gifts
Well we are past Black Friday and Cyber Monday and I bet you still don’t have all of your shopping completed. Each year we try to give you some healthy holiday gift ideas and this year we will give some good and bad ideas.
Let’s start with some bad ideas and work our way to a few good ideas.
1. Kettlebell- we know people want to start working out and getting or staying in shape thru the winter, but this is not the gift to start with. Kettlebells are weights with a handle and are used to exercise. The bad thing about kettlebells is we put a lot of stress on joints and we often in bad ergonomic position when using it, couple that with the wrong weight and you are looking at a disaster. Buying a 10- 20lb kettlebell may not seem like much weight but moving that weight in a bad position can lead to back or arm injuries. Leave this one to the individual to purchase when they have reached a specific workout plan
2. Hover boards- This is one that looks fun and may be until you fall off of it. Amazing number of injuries from adults trying their kids hover boards, often broken wrists, arms or head injuries. I am not even sure this is good for kids as it promotes a sedentary lifestyle, couple that with exploding batteries and this is one I may pass on. If you decide to get one, consider wrist guards and helmet to go along with it. Fire extinguisher may not be a bad idea as well.
3. Bacon of the month club- do we really want 2 pounds of bacon sent to our house each month? Knowing we are getting 2 more pounds in 4 weeks encourages us to consume this salt and fat laden food regularly. Not good for BP or weight.
4. Cheesecake of the month club. Do I need say more? A 1.5 lb. cheesecake that will feed 8-10 does not need to be delivered to your house each month.
5. Fruitcake- although dried fruit and nuts are a good way to get fiber, vitamins, and protein these are also loaded with calories and fat. The calories and fat may outweigh any benefit of the ingredients when looked at individually. Also there is a high chance that this may be regifted multiple times.
1.) With the recent guideline changes in blood pressure control, we have 46 million new adults with high blood pressure. Awareness of your blood pressure along with life style changes will be recommended by doctors across the country soon. Having a home BP cuff is a great idea. Many of these monitors are priced between $30- 99. The most important take home here is that you get one that measures the BP in your upper arm not the wrist or finger monitors. Bring it with you to your doctor’s appointment to verify it’s accuracy.
2.) Fit Bit-Apple Watch and Garmin are 3 good manufactures. These have advanced quite a bit over the past few years. Most of these now monitor your heart rate and sleep pattern as well as your steps. They have vibration alerts to remind you to get up and move regularly and link to your phone as well. Most have GPS tracking mechanisms to accurately tell you where you have been. Prices $99-$300
3.) AHA cookbook- we talked at Thanksgiving about how unhealthy that meal could be. This cook book has great tasting recipes that are heart healthy. It will allow the entire family to eat healthy. Cost $25
4.) Smoothie maker- now this is one that can go into either list, if you are going to make protein smoothies or fruit smoothies it makes sense to have it on the good list. However the smoothie can also make a killer milkshake which would move it to the bad list. Cost $25-70
5.) Good bathroom scale- I know many of you are groaning now, but as we spoke in the past a decrease of 5 lbs. can lower your blood pressure five points and keep you away from the need for daily medicines. The scales now are Bluetooth and will track your weight. I personally think it is a good idea to weigh in daily as it sets a tone for healthy eating for the day. This is a good “family” gift and costs around $60. Great for New Year’s resolutions as well.
6.) Snow blower is another great family gift- with close to 2,000 deaths from heart attacks after shoveling snow, this one could be a life saver. Over the age of 50? Shoveling snow is not a good idea for your back or heart. A snow blower is better than an ergonomic shovel.
7.) Fruit of the month club- fresh fruit delivered to the house each month promotes healthy eating and will help with your BP and weight loss plans. Many companies have this in 3,6,9 and 12 month plans.
8.) Aromatherapy- this is now being studied in many research areas. Aromatherapy has been shown to relieve stress, think of when you walk into a home with a freshly cooked meal. It puts you in a good mood and relaxes you. Aromatherapy has also shown to help with depressive moods, increases energy and the area being studied the most is in pain relief. This is not something for all patients as asthmatics may have their asthma triggered by the aroma. Many of these kits will have peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender. The diffusers are quite inexpensive.
9.) If you have young adults, a great gift is a BACtrack, This is a pocket sized portable breathalyzer that is quite accurate. This is toll to help young adults make the right choice. Each year we have over 10,000 individuals who die in alcohol related auto accidents. Uber will hopefully make an impact on this. The BACtrack reinforces smart decisions when youths are out at the bars. Peer pressure is minimized or maximized depending on how you look at it. This tool allows individuals to test their blood alcohol level while out drinking, the app also lets you know if you stop drinking now how long it will take your BAL to drop to a safe level. You can even call an Uber from the app. Parents can use it as a monitoring device as well. The cost is $100, which is nothing when you think about the cost of a DUI, the cost of an accident or the loss of a life. This company is also working on a skin based monitor that tracks your BAL in real time
10.) A couple of good stocking stuffers, little hotties these are small chemical hand warmers that fit inside your gloves and keep your hands warm for up to 6 hours. Great for anyone who will be out in the cold for extended period of time.
11.) Another great gift “Hand Out” gloves and mittens, these are the mittens I wear. If you know anyone with Raynaud’s disease this is a great gift. Keeping the fingers warm and allowing you to free up your fingers with the half zip makes these a great gift. They also make gloves. Great for those who need to text or answer the phone without taking off the gloves. These cost about $40-60