Gift ideas for a healthy new year


Commentary by Jessica Swenberg, MD

It’s not too early to begin your shopping for the holidays. This year, consider gifts to encourage good health and wellness in the coming year. Whether you’re shopping for adults or children, there are dozens of items to make staying healthy and fit easier and more fun. Here are a few gift ideas for adults:

  • Personal trainer – Most people, whether they already work out or are just beginning an exercise program, can benefit from one-on-one sessions with a trainer.
  • Health club membership or exercise classes – Some clubs and fitness centers offer trial or short-term memberships that make great gifts for people who want to stay fit. Indoor workouts and classes are especially helpful during the winter months when inclement weather often prevents exercising outdoors. Exercise classes, such as yoga and Pilates, are also good gifts for teenagers.
  • Reflective clothing – Vests, gloves and belts with reflective markings are must-have accessories for people who exercise outdoors before dawn or after dark.
  • Heart-rate monitor – Monitors make excellent gifts for people who enjoy precision timing or someone who has a health condition that requires monitoring.
  • Exercise DVDs – There are hundreds of options. Choose DVDs that match the gift recipient’s interests and fitness level.
  • Home-exercise equipment – While treadmills and elliptical machines come to mind, exercise equipment for the home doesn’t have to be expensive. Yoga and exercise mats, weighted jump ropes, hand weights and resistance rubber bands are low-cost items that can help make home workouts more productive.
  • Pedometers – There are some high-tech pedometers on the market that monitor time, distance, calories burned and number of steps.
  • Fitness magazine subscriptions, healthy cookbooks and gift cards to sporting goods stores are also good gift ideas for adults.

Gift ideas for children:

Don’t forget the kids. Even very young children can benefit from toys and games that promote physical activity. Balls, ride-on toys and music for dancing are good ideas for toddlers. Bicycles, jump ropes, roller skates, scooters and sports equipment are fitness-inspired choices suitable for older children. To promote exercise outdoors during the winter months, sleds, snowsuits and boots also come in handy.


Jessica Swenberg, MD, specializes in family medicine. She is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Family Medicine, 55 Brendon Way, Suite 800, Zionsville. She can be reached by calling the office at 777-6400.


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