Christmas Gifts 2014

Although it’s not quite December, the faux snow on storefront windows, the background hum of ‘Deck the Halls’ at supermarkets, and the return of gingerbread lattes serve as constant reminders that Christmas is almost here. Unless you are one of the rare few that have finished Christmas shopping early, you are probably wondering what to give to everyone on your list. Perhaps you can give an apron to the cook in your family, a golf calendar to the sports fan, or a box of chocolates to your hairdresser. This year, consider giving the gift of better health and show your loved ones how much you care. The gift of fitness is for everyone, from the ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ fitness type to the elite athlete.
To inspire your loved one to get started in fitness:
1. A workout DVD. You can find a DVD for every fitness level, from gentle yoga or tai chi to high intensity workouts. Workout DVDs are a great way to get off the couch and start moving
2. A pedometer or Fitness Tracker. A step counter is a fun tool to gauge a person’s activity level during the day. For the exercise newbie, measuring steps per day is an incentive to take the stairs instead of the escalator, or to walk a little further with the dog. For anyone who is a bit more ‘techy’, fitness trackers are a fun way to measure your activity over the day.
3. A few sessions with a personal trainer. A knowledgeable trainer will get your loved one started in the right direction and make them more accountable to staying on track with their fitness regime. Personal training programs are also an ideal gift to challenge and motivate the fitness enthusiast.
For the exercise enthusiast:
1. Workout gear; especially cold weather gear. Most fitness enthusiasts already have drawers full of workout wear, but they’ll still love and appreciate something new! Winter doesn’t officially start for another three weeks, but temperatures have already dropped to minus 10 degrees. A cozy running top or a wind-resistant jacket will keep your loved one warm during outdoor workouts this winter.
2. A new exercise ‘toy’. If your fit friend workouts at home, he or she will love a new piece of fitness equipment to vary his or her workouts. Some ideas include a BOSU or stability ball, a yoga mat, resistance bands or a skipping rope.
3.Registration to a fitness class. Your loved one loves fitness and will appreciate the opportunity to try something new. Yoga, boot camp, and kickboxing are great ways to add spice to a stale fitness routine.
4. A heart rate monitor. If you want to invest a few extra dollars, purchase a heart rate monitor with GPS. The fitness junkie in your life will get a kick out of tracking his heart rate, distance, and speed on his new watch, and then later on the computer.
For everyone:
1. An active outing to do together. Plan a ski trip, a snowshoe adventure, or a family ice skating adventure. The holidays are really about spending time with family and friends, and an active adventure is the perfect holiday gift.
2. Music for his or her iPod. For walking, running, or dancing in the kitchen, music is a great motivator. However, unless your loved one is a music junkie and is constantly updating their playlist, he or she will love to look forward to a few new energizing songs.
3. The commitment to workout together. Join a program together, or simply commit to being a ‘workout’ buddy.   The number one reason people struggle with sticking to an exercise program is lack of motivation. Doing something together is a win-win for both of you.
No matter how big or small your budget is this Christmas, show your loved one that you care about him or her by giving the gift of health, fitness and well-being. And while you’re at it, be sure to get something for yourself.
Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio. Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition. For more fitness tips go to

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