______ __ healthy holiday gift guide____


Photo by Allison Olcsvay

Know an adventurous kayaker in your life? Consider outfitting their boat with equipment that will keep them safer on the water, or that helps them pack better for longer journeys.

It’s that time of year again. Time to agonize over what gifts to give the people in your life. Why not give gifts to inspire health in the people you care about? And maybe cactuses and cookies for the others?

Ah, with all the noise out there, what would be the right thing? Here is a guide to match the health-related gift to the right person.

For the numbers, and data-driven person: A personal fitness tracker can show how many steps or miles walked or ran, calories burned, and hours slept. Your numbers nerd can make charts and challenge himself or herself to best his or her last numbers. There are now several types and prices to select.

For fashionistas: Color coordinated workout clothes may work. Or those straps to keep the fashionable glasses on your head in the wind created at high running speeds.

For the joy of movement: Music to move by, from a digital collection you create to a device with good batteries that can accompany the giftee on any routine.

What about the person who walks every day? Colorful shoelaces can spiff up the routines and those fast drying ultra-soft antimicrobial towels sop up the sweat.

For the kayaker: Boxes and bags designed to keep everything dry can make the sport more enjoyable. Super lightweight paddles can make it less of a workout but more of a meditation.

For anyone outside in the heat or burning the calories inside, neck cooling scarves can be a great tool, a simple luxury to add comfort to the workout. They really do work, sort of.

For the active runner, gift certificates for running shoes keep him or her in current treads. Like tires, running shoes wear out with mileage. Running shoes lose their cushioning after about 300 to 400 miles. Someone running 30 miles a week, a fairly common average, probably needs new running shoes every two to three months.

For someone who is doing some biking, a bike rack for the car can expand bike riding options.

To inspire eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, a nice cutting board and sharp knife might create the tipping point. A blender, juicer, or frying pan, if you think it would be used, can also inspire eating healthy creations.

For the reader intrigued by health and politics, several books show how the bad food industry has been working against us. Two of Marion Nestle’s books, “Food Politics” and “Soda Politics” carefully outline how the food and beverage industries have taken over our bodies and politics. In “Pandora’s Lunchbox,” Melanie Warner describes how the food processing industrial complex replaced real foods with food-like inventions that plague us. “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser reveals the dark side of our drive-through dining. And for video viewing, “Supersize Me” can quell any fast food urges over the holidays.

Then of course are the timeless gifts of time. For example, you can give a pledge or promise to walk twice a week with a friend or family member who needs that extra nudge.

Another nudge to get someone moving, but only in the very right circumstances, could be a dog. A serious commitment and responsibility, but for the right person, a dog needing to go out for a walk might be the perfect impetus to get someone out the door and walking. (For the wrong person or wrong dog, though, this could be a disaster.)

Ultimately, it is not about the stuff anyway; it is about caring for the people you care for.