Christmas can be an unhealthy time of year. We overindulge in the food and drink department and physical activity takes a back seat.
Once the new year hits, health comes back to the fore with a vengeance. With that in mind, health could be the perfect gift this Christmas.
Here are some gift ideas with a health and fitness theme:
- Gym membership, 10-visit pass or PT sessions. None of these are cheap and cost can be an impediment to joining a gym. Gifting one or some sessions with a personal trainer could put someone on the right track to improved health.
- Massage. We live in such a busy world that most would appreciate an hour to themselves to destress with a relaxing massage. The benefits are physical and mental.
- Workout gear. 'Active wear' is more than just being comfortable when you work out - it's a fashion statement these days. This could simply be a pair of good running socks to something a bit more extravagant like a Fitbit, which tracks your sleep patterns as well as logging your daily food and activity to keep you accountable to your goals.
- Equipment. Even the simplest piece of sporting equipment like a Frisbee or paddle bat and ball that do not cost the earth might be just the thing someone needs to get moving. It could also be a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell or a skipping rope. Depending on your budget, you could go for a bike, scooter, trampoline or set of monkey bars.
- Lesson or class. Sign your friends or family members up to a stand-up paddleboarding, surfing or kayaking lesson. Or a trip to a climbing wall or Ninja Parc.
- Book. This gift opens up a range of ideas, including recipe books, nutrition book, mindfulness books and exercise books. You could also set up a health and fitness magazine subscription or the like.
- Voucher. When all else fails and you are really struggling to choose something, go for a health-related gift voucher. This could include a consult with a nutritionist or dietitian if you are buying for someone who wants to improve the way they eat in 2020.
Speaking of the latter, last year University of Newcastle professor and nutrition expert Clare Collins shared with the Newcastle Herald and our readers a few tips to help survive the festive period without totally compromising your health.
If you are hosting Christmas you have a certain control over what foods and drinks are offered, so plan ahead.
"Do you really need six kilos of sausages? Would you rather have two kilos of chicken? What's your budget for your Christmas celebration food and how can you make some of that food special but also healthy," Dr Collins said.
Offering more fruit and nuts can be a healthier option than having extra sweets or a second pavlova. That can also extend to gifts by using trays of fruit instead of boxes of chocolates or biscuits.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Nobbys To Newcastle Ocean Swim, January 25: A two-kilometre ocean swim between two of Newcastle's most beautiful beaches. it starts under Nobbys Lighthouse and finishes on Newcastle Beach.
Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing of the harbour.
Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 23: For the novice to the experienced there are three courses of varying distances to choose from. They include the Enticer, the Sprint and the Olympic offering.
Summer Sessions Week #4
Hit the water for a cooler workout in summer. This could be at the ocean baths or in a pool. If you are not a lap swimmer there are still ways to get a good workout.
Set 1: Walking or jogging 30-40 seconds, rest 20-30sec. Repeat four times.
Set 2: Holding on to the edge of the pool and kick hard for 30-40 sec with a 20-30sec rest. Repeat four times.
Set 3: Treading water for 30-40sec with a 20-30sec rest. Repeat four times.
Repeat through from set 1.
You can warm up and cool down with some gentle walking in the water or swimming laps.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.