Health & Fitness: The gift of health for Christmas

BREAK OUT: There are plenty of options for Christmas presents where health and fitness is concerned. A surf lesson is one. It is active and fun and perfect in summer. Picture: Phil Hearne
BREAK OUT: There are plenty of options for Christmas presents where health and fitness is concerned. A surf lesson is one. It is active and fun and perfect in summer. Picture: Phil Hearne

I don’t want to freak anyone out … but Christmas is now just a fortnight away.

That means if you are not all over your present shopping then you had better get to it.

If you have friends or significant others who are active then there are plenty of gift ideas out there.

I have already put in my requests for more running gear – to help me run off all of the Christmas cake I am sure to consume over the festive season.

If you are looking for some other ideas, here are a few including cheaper and more expensive options.

Water bottle. A nice water bottle never goes astray and is something you would not always think to get yourself and it does not cost too much. You can pay extra to get them personalised.

Massage, day spa treatment. Going for a massage or facial does not just help your body, it also helps your mind because it makes you stop. That means you have no choice but to relax, which is a gift in itself for those leading busy lives.

Fitness 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. There is a range of kids’ Fitbits available as well.

MOTIVATING: Devices like Fitbits can track your daily activity, food and sleep patterns and make great gifts.

MOTIVATING: Devices like Fitbits can track your daily activity, food and sleep patterns and make great gifts.

Health or fitness magazine subscription. Again, something that you may not necessarily fork out for yourself but a good way to stay up to date with current health trends and ways to improve your fitness.

Training equipment. You do not need loads of gear for a fitness session. Basically, if you have a set of weights and a skipping rope then you are set. You can get both at reasonable prices at most department stores. You could also go for boxing equipment, tennis racquets, frisbee, surfboard, bike and scooters for the kids.

Recipe book or nutrition book. Finding motivation for healthy meals can be tough but a good recipe book could help. There are plenty out there with healthy meal plans and suggestions as well as information on nutritious foods. A cooking class might also work as a gift.

Biography. This may sound more like a gift that will make you sit still rather than get you moving but sometimes hearing someone else’s journey can inspire you to new levels. 

Event entry or a lesson for something active: Entering an event is one way to stay motivated with training. If you want to get creative then there are options such as surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons. Both are perfect for the summer holidays.

Gym membership, pass or PT sessions. Gym memberships can get costly so a lot of people avoid them, which is why this is a great present. You can generally get a monthly or 10-visit pass or even book a session with a personal trainer. There is also pilates and yoga studios, swimming lessons and more.

Gift voucher. You cannot go wrong here. This covers many bases, including all of the above.

Workout Guide: Sizzling Summer Sessions

If a crazy Christmas social calendar is interfering with your training schedule, try some snappier sessions.

Here are three. Do them separate or together:

Part 1: 10 squats, 5 push-ups, 5 pull-ups/rows, 100 skips. 10 lunges, 5 biceps with shoulder press, 5 triceps extension, 20 squat jumps. Repeat twice through.

Part 2: 10 burpees, run 50 metres, 9 burpees, run 50m, 8 burpees, run 50m, keep going until you get down to 1 burpee, 50m run.

Part 3: 20 Ab rotation with hand weights, 10 ab curls with 2 straight punches using light hand weights, 10 glute bridge, 30-second plank hold. Repeat twice.

Upcoming fitness events

Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim, Nobbys beach, January 27: A 2km ocean swim from Nobbys to Newcastle beach. oceanfit.com.au/event/nobbys-newcastle-ocean-swim.

Cupid’s Undies Run: Newcastle, Nobbys beach, February 18: A 1.5 kilometre run, in your underwear, to raise funds for the Children's Tumour Foundation. cupidsundierun.com.au.

Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 25: The perfect new year challenge. There is plenty of time to get training and events cater for the novice to the diehard. newcastlecitytriathlon.com.au.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.