Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fitness Enthusiast... or Fitness Newbie

Here are some hot holiday gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life. Whether they're just starting to break a sweat or an avid workout fan, these tools and toys below are excellent additions to anyone's fitness routine. You might even find some things to add to your own holiday wishlist!

BOSU Trainer - This inflatable dome-shaped piece of equipment has a wide range of uses. By adding an unstable surface to your routine exercises, you engage your core, work additional stabilizing muscles, and enhance your balance. Flip the BOSU over (dome-side down) for even more exercise options.  Buying tip: sporting goods stores and Target also sell the BOSU, watch for sales!

Kettlebells - More fun, as well as functional, than a set of dumbbells. The range of movements available to do with a kettlebell are incredibly varied. Due to its' shape and handling, kettlebell exercises are more likely to utilize your whole body and engage your core. Buying tip: don't let the shape fool you, a 10 lb kettlebell will be a challenge for a beginner or intermediate-level fitness buff. For a great workout program - kettlebell + DVD workouts - check out Kettleworx (also sold at Target and sporting goods stores).

Heart Rate Monitor - For those looking to track their progress and monitor their workout intensity. This simple and effective tool will make sure you're training as intensely as you need to be to get results. Buying tip: there are several forms to choose from. While some heart rate monitors boast they can track heart rate through a touch screen on a watch, that's not always the most practical if you're in an intense workout. While it does take getting used to, a chest strap monitor with corresponding watch (readout) may be more efficient and effective.

Foam Roller - Myofascial release is just a fitness-nerd term for "wow, rolling on this thing really feels good." Available at Target, Walmart, and any sporting goods store, this simple piece of equipment is essential to any home gym. Use it before or after a workout to massage your muscles and enhance their recovery. Buying tip: there are a lot of fancy models of foam rollers emerging now, given the increasing popularity of them. You don't necessarily need a body-sized one or one with special nubs, but beware that low-cost rollers (<$15) often lose their form quickly, making it harder to roll on.

Fitness DVDs or Books - There are a plethora of fitness DVDs on the market today, which can enhance anyone's fitness routine. From yoga and dance to Jillian Michaels strength training and Walk Away the Pounds, there's something for everyone. As far as books go, Women's Health & Men's Health Magazines have a great series of books that offer effective workout/exercise ideas and you don't need a gym membership to use them. Each book is full of sound, safe fitness/nutrition advice, with great descriptions and pictures of each exercise.  Some titles in their series are:  The Big Book of Yoga, Big Book of Abs, Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts, Big Book of Exercises. Buying tip: you can get all of these at a great price on!

What fitness gifts would YOU like to receive this year? Please share below!

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