Friday, December 14, 2007

A Dozen Gift Ideas

A dozen gift ideas to inspire
BY John Meing

Still shopping for Christmas gift ideas? We've come up with a dozen for a spouse, best friend, mom or other recipient who's trying to improve his or her health. Who knows, you might even find something for yourself. Happy shopping! (A caveat: If you don't know how the person will react, giving one of these "it's good for you" gifts might not be a good idea. You could be sending a message he or she doesn't want to hear.)


Why give it: Smaller dishes provide a visual reminder to eat less. One company markets the Diet Plate, marked off into serving areas, and a bowl with "fill to here" rings. But a salad or luncheon plate in a beautiful design would serve the same purpose.

Price: The Diet Plate sells for $35; a set of simple salad plates is about the same amount.

Where to shop: Where dinnerware is sold; online for the Diet Plate.


Why give it: WichiTalk reader Barbara Eklund says the Polar F6 she got for Mother's Day has inspired her to work harder at the gym, whether she's in a cardio class or doing weight training. A heart rate monitor is used to track your heart rate, one way of monitoring how hard you're exercising. Hers also tells her how many calories she has burned.

Price: The Polar F6 sells for $120, but other models are available for less -- and more.

Where to shop: Sporting goods stores.


Why give it: It's a constant reminder to be more active. Pedometers count how many steps you take; fitness experts say that taking 10,000 steps a day is one way to stay fit. Some pedometers also display distance, calories burned, speed and other statistics.

Price: $15 to $60.

Where to shop: Sporting goods or discount stores.


Why give it: Working with a trainer can provide motivation, instruction or help in reaching a goal. And you don't have to be a gym member: Online training is available, perfect for the person who needs 24-hour access.

Price: $30 to $65 a session at a gym, depending on the facility, the trainer and the number of sessions you get. Online programs are $15 to $50 a month.

Where to shop: Local fitness facilities or online.


Why give it: Jumping rope burns fat, increases stamina and firms muscles. It's portable, so it's great for people who travel. Choose one made of plastic or plastic beads for durability; look for a swivel turning action.

Price: $8 to $15; weight-training ropes are about $50.

Where to shop: Discount or sporting goods stores.


Why give it: They're sleek, decorative and a reminder of where you are and where you want to be. Some measure body fat; some track previous, current and goal weights for multiple users; some are solar-powered; others handle 400 pounds.

Price: $35 to more than $400.

Where to shop: Discount or sporting goods stores; Finest Linens and Things; Bed, Bath & Beyond.


Why give it: Studies have shown that people who track their workouts or what they eat are more successful than those who don't. WichiTalk reader Karen Ryno designed her own after not finding one that included all the features she wanted; she now sells her Body Balance Nutrition and Fitness Tracker. A blank journal or small notebook would be a way to get started.

Price: From 79 cents for a pocket notebook on up. Many fitness and nutrition journals, including Ryno's, sell for about $15. Online versions are about $40 per year.

Where to shop: Bookstores, discount stores. Ryno's is at and other places listed there.


Why give it: A set provides an easy way to work out for someone who travels a lot or adds variety for regular gym-goers. They're appropriate for all ages.

Price: $6 to $20, depending on how many you get. Many come in sets of three.

Where to shop: Sporting goods and discount stores.


Why give it: Laughter is the best medicine. It helps relieve stress, boosts levels of endorphins and may even protect you from a heart attack. What you choose depends on the recipient. One idea: a title from the American Film Institute's 100 funniest films. The top 10 include "Some Like It Hot," "Tootsie," "Blazing Saddles" and "Airplane!"

Price: Depends on what you choose. A video is $10 or less.

Where to shop: Again, it depends on what you choose.


Why give it: To inspire someone who is trying to lose weight or who has recently gotten a new medical diagnosis. You'll find a variety: for the reality-show fan, "The Biggest Loser Cookbook"; for someone with celiac, "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: Creating Old Favorites With New Flours"; for the vegetarian, "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule."

Price: $15 and up.

Where to shop: Bookstores, online, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association.


Why give it: These clocks simulate sunrise, providing a kinder, gentler way to wake up. They don't take the place of light boxes, used to counteract "winter blues," but some people say that waking to light makes them feel better mentally.

Price: $70 to $180.

Where to shop: Online. We couldn't find any sold locally, but if we missed a source, let us know: We'll pass along the word.


Why give it: Sometimes, that's all that's needed for a good night's sleep. Know whether the recipient is a back, side or stomach sleeper. Then, you can choose from foam, polyester, down or some combination.

Price: $5 to $140 (you tend to get what you pay for).

Where to shop: Department stores; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Finest Linens and Things,


This one might be on our list -- but it won't be available until late February or March, and it costs $300. Still, the Yamaha BodiBeat sounds pretty cool. You upload your favorite music, then head out for your workout. It finds the songs that match your tempo: Speed up, and it switches to a faster song. Slow down, and so does the music. Or you can set your target heart rate and it finds the songs to get you there. Or you can just listen to music. Watch for updates on availability.