Health makes a great gift - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Health makes a great gift

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Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2005 6:09 am | Updated: 7:32 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Maybe it’s because money seems harder to come by. Or perhaps you are fed up with the whole useless gift thing. This holiday season can be different as you give the gift of health — or, more correctly, presents that promote a healthy lifestyle.

These five suggestions are applicable for multiple generations.

Athletic shoes Actually, you won’t be giving the shoe — just a gift certificate. Any exercise professional worth his weight in Power Bars will tell you that properly fitting shoes are key to the exercise experience.

"Most running and walking injuries are a direct result of improper footwear," says Jeremy Hendricks of Performance Footwear in Tempe. A foot-strike analysis is usually free, guaranteeing the shoe really does fit, but expect the shoes to cost about $90.

Pedometer Walking is one of the best and easiest forms of exercise. With a pedometer, your family member or friend will know exactly how close, or far, he or she is to hitting the recommended 10,000 steps a day. At Sports Authority stores a basic pedometer costs $11.99 (Sportline), with a more sophisticated version priced at $21.99 (Accusplit). Some pedometers even talk (Sportline, $17.99), announcing steps, distance and calories burned.

Personal training

A personal trainer is not only someone who will hold you accountable for your exercise — or lack thereof — but he or she can also provide a safe and effective workout. Kristie Spalding of the American Council of Exercise says one session with a trainer generally costs between $25 and $50. Most times when you purchase a series of sessions, the cost drops.

Be sure to ask about certification: The exercise council, for example, has a fairly stringent exam process that a trainer must pass to be certified.

Weights

It’s not about getting "big," it’s about staying healthy. And exercise professionals will tell you that most everyone should be on a strength-training program. For people who don’t like gyms but are high on convenience, weights for the home work well, are fairly inexpensive and can be bought at places like Sports Exchange in Mesa. Owner Kevin Alms says that beginners generally start with three to five sets of weights. For healthy individuals new to strength training, a set of 3-, 5-, 8-, 10- and 12-pound weights is available for $38. Benches start at $30.

Yoga DVD

Yoga is not only great for the body, it’s also centering for the mind and spirit. "Yoga Weight Loss Workout for Dummies" ($14.95) allows you to learn the basics at home. YogaFit instructor Chris Freytag leads newcomers through the paces for 39 minutes. In addition to promoting weight loss, this video works on building stamina, strength and flexibility. Available at Borders.

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