Give the gift of fitness this holiday season

The Christmas marketing assault continues as many consumers prepare to purchase gifts for family members and friends. The wide variety of offerings for athletes deserves some scrutiny.

Recently, there has been a surge in high-tech computerized items as well as expensive pieces of equipment. Novel fitness presents can add interest to a workout and many of the best items are not costly.

Some items worth considering:

Suspension Trainers. Body weight suspension trainers provide a simple approach to resistance training. Athletes use their body weight to provide resistance in a variety of positions. The apparatus is a series of straps that are braced on a beam or pole. The exercises allow multiple muscle groups to be exercised during the movement. Many of the maneuvers are variations on push ups, sit ups and pull ups with an aerial component.

Kettlebells. A kettlebell is best described as a cannonball with a handle. Its use provides an excellent workout that includes cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility elements. They come in different weights and are excellent for exercising both limb and core muscles. The dynamic component allows imitation of actual movements in a particular sport. Starting with low weight is crucial to avoiding injury.

Safety Items. Many runners continue their workouts in “rain, sleet, snow and gloom of night.” If a member of this hardcore group is on your list, consider lights or clothing that add visibility, devices that bring warmth to cold extremities and anything that provides gripping power to sneakers on slippery surfaces.

• Lessons. A gift certificate for a class or lesson in an area of interest for the recipient can provide a special experience. Sometimes this can serve to begin a new challenge.

Fitness-related gifts can be an inexpensive investment in good health.

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