Five Healthy Gift Ideas That Show You Care

Liza Famador, MD

Imagine that you are out doing some holiday shopping and you see a travel mug that you think might be a good gift for a friend. But your friend probably doesn’t need another travel mug, and maybe they drink too much coffee anyway.

As you make your holiday list and search for the perfect gifts for your friends and family, there are plenty of useful, thoughtful, and, most importantly, healthful gifts available for everyone on your list.

Here are five great ideas for presents that are sure to please while encouraging healthier habits:

1. Massage gift certificate

Stress is a part of life. Everyone copes differently, but studies have shown that a little bit of stress can be a good thing. It makes you more resilient, and helps you handle life’s challenges better. However, sustained stress can have many negative effects on our bodies. If you know someone who needs to de-stress, give them a gift of a relaxing massage. Physical touch boosts dopamine and serotonin in your brain, which help regulate your mood and relieve anxiety. It’s also been found to lower blood pressure and heart rate and strengthen the immune system — a benefit during cold and flu season.

2. An invitation to fitness

The secret to sticking with an exercise program is finding an activity you truly love. Check around for fitness studios that will let you purchase an introductory class in yoga, strength training, spinning, or Pilates. Or check with your own health club for their policy on bringing guests. It’s a great way to get someone to try something new.

3. Fitness tracker

These gadgets range from simple to elaborate, with prices to match. They can track everything from your vital signs and daily steps to calories burned and even the quality of your sleep. Some are inexpensive enough to give to kids and might encourage them to get up and move a little more.

4. Fruit of the month club

Yes, this is kind of old school, but it’s a great way to encourage a healthful habit. If you find that the subscriptions in catalogs or online are too pricy, then make up a fruit basket yourself once a month and deliver it in person! This has the added benefit of maintaining your social connections, which studies have shown may bolster our physical health and psychological well-being, increase longevity, and strengthen the immune system.

5. Healthful cooking ideas

Consider a subscription to a magazine or online portal that offers nutritional information and healthy recipes. Everybody needs some inspiration to break out of their kitchen routines. You could package the gift card with an apron or a good-quality wooden spoon to round out the theme.

As you go down your holiday shopping list, keep the health of your friends and family members in mind. Because health is the best gift of all.

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