Dr. Kevin Most: Healthy Holiday Gifts
Did you miss out on the Cyber Monday sales and still need to find a great Christmas Gift
With a late Thanksgiving, the holiday shopping season has been shortened by a week. Now we all have the stress of Christmas shopping in the next few weeks, even though the Christmas reminders and decorations have been up in stores since July. This time of year we often look for a gift that has a short or single impact, that perfect sweater will only be worn in the winter and only if it continues to fit, the winter coat will certainly keep them warm for the few months they need it, and don’t forget the fruitcake.
One tradition we have here is to discuss Christmas gifts that actually may help in the health of the recipient. The gift of a health related item, can most often be used all year or will be available all year and impacts how one feels and is often a reminder thru the year of your thoughts of their health.
Let’s start with some really simple ones that have a cost under $50.
1.) Health related magazines are very popular right now and are actually tailored to the individual. A year’s subscription to Women’s health or men’s Health magazine can be purchased for under $20 a year and each month they will get a magazine with stories, hints for good health, recipes and other information tailored to them.
2.) Conversation starting books and games are very popular now. We live in a world where we are buried in our phones or iPad. How about a book or game that allows families to actually interact without the phone, where a true conversation is held. Many feel we are losing a generation of individuals that know how to carry on a conversation, that they communicate with short texts and emoji’s. These books and games allow for family or friend time in talk not text. The Complete Book of Questions is highly rated with over 1,000 questions that are written to spark a conversation.
3.) From an exercise point of view a simple yoga mat or foam roller may help that individual with their flexibility, strength, balance and core. There are many free apps that walk individuals thru the use of these from beginner to advanced. It also may encourage them to get out and join a yoga group. Both of these can be purchased for under $25.
4.) An insulated collapsible lunch box. Now many of you may be laughing at this, but how many times have you gone to lunch at a fast food place, spent $10 and had a meal that really wasn’t that good and certainly was not good for you. The lunch box allows you to prepare the meal that you want with the quality of ingredients that you want, it also allows you the freedom of mobility of where you want to eat and actually extends your lunch hour as there is no waiting in lines or waiting for a meal. Many studies have shown not only a financial savings but also a great health benefit with a prepared lunch. Slip a note in there if you are preparing it for someone else, it will make their day. $15
5.) Entering winter always allows for gifting opportunities, again you may laugh but an ergonomic snow shovel is a great gift. We know that shoveling snow is a certainty here in Chicago. Unfortunately although some see it as exercise it is in fact not good for your heart or your back. To minimize the health related issues make sure your heart is strong enough for this high strain activity and make sure you are using the correct tools. A shovel is a shovel is not true, the ergonomic shovel lowers the strain on your back and is designed to make shoveling as safe as possible. $ 30
6.) Have a procrastinator who really wants to exercise but finds it difficult? The Red Dumbbell Alarm may be an appropriate gift. The concept is simple, not only does it alarm to tell you when to work out, it won’t stop alarming until you have done 30 movements with it. Some may find it irritating, however for that procrastinator who truly wants to exercise it may be the perfect nudge to get them up and moving. $20
7.) Infusion water is a craze as well now, this simple concept allows you to get flavored water that you make yourself with a simple diffuser. It allows you to get tasty water without the chemical additives as well as vitamins from the fruit or veggies used to infuse. $25
Looking to spend a little more but still not breaking the bank?
1.) Diffusers are very popular now. We know the impact of aromatherapy. Using essential oils to diffuse aromas can help thru the day, with a great environment for yoga, sleeping and essentially everyday life .WRITE MORE ON ESSENTIAL OILS
2.) Monthly subscription to a food source- there are fruit of the month, keto box of the month, protein box of the month, granola of the month, vegan snack of the month and the popular bacon of the month. Getting a healthy food subscription reminds people of the thoughtful gift as well as exposes them to healthy food options that they may not find in their local stores
3.) Fitness trackers have been popular for many years now and they certainly have advanced, the old Nike fuel band tracked your steps and did not link to any apps, fast forward a few years and now the technology has changed and will be changing a lot over the next 5 years. The Apple Watch, tracks your activity, steps, hours standing, flights of stairs and has exercise goals that encourage you thru the day to “close the rings”, it even has an EKG built into it. I can tell you that I have had this watch for a month and it has definitely changed my exercise habits in a very positive way.
4.) Headphones are also a great gift for a few reasons, one is they now have sound cancelling headphones that protect our hearing. We are all exposed to loud noises that we do not need to hear, headphones may protect you from those noises and help you maintain your hearing. We also know that individuals who use music or books on tape when they exercise actually exercise longer as the boredom factor is eliminated. Cost is about $75-250
5.) Now I know that giving an appliance as a gift for Christmas or a birthday is normally not a great idea, but I will challenge that this year. If you do not have an Air Fryer, this would be a great gift. The Air Fryer actually cooks food using hot air not oil, so if you like crispy French fries or fried chicken without the grease, this is a great healthy gift. It decreases the amount of fat one would consume by up to 90%. A great way to cook healthy “fried” foods. Cost about $75-150
6.) We talk about air quality often as it is a trigger for allergies and asthma and actually our overall health. Home air purifiers reduce the smell of smoke, musty air and food odors. This gift would give individuals with breathing disorders and chance to breath a breath of fresh air, all year long. Cost is about $150
7.) We all enjoy our sleep and one of the rages currently is weighted blankets. Now I am personally not a fan, many people enjoy the feeling and it has increased the quality of many individuals sleep patterns. If you have poor sleeping patterns this may be a good option
8.) Home blood pressure cuffs are a great gift for the family, tracking BP on a regular basis is so much better than having it done once a year at a physical. It also promotes activity and diet changes. Omron makes a great automatic monitor that is very accurate for around $50