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Fitness and family health

November 30, 2018

Healthy holiday gift guide: 10 unique ideas they’ll love

For gifts to keep everyone on your list healthy and motivated, check out our roundup of unique gifts that will keep on giving.

With the holiday season underway, you’re probably on the lookout for gifts. When you’re shopping for your family and friends (or thinking about treating yourself), why not look for gifts that are not only good value, but will also be of great use in the New Year as everyone kicks off their healthy resolutions and goals?  

From kitchen tools to relaxation tech, here are nine giftable gadgets and tools – and one smart suggestion – that will give everyone on your list a wonderful health boost.   

Kitchen gadgets for healthier eating

1. Air fryers

By now, you’ve probably heard that instead of completely sacrificing your favourite unhealthy foods, you’re better off finding healthier alternatives. So, if you or someone you know is fond of fried goodies, you might consider investing in a sturdy air fryer. Most air fryers can make anything from French fries to bacon, all the while using up to 80% less oil than a conventional deep fryer. Some models only require a tablespoon or less of oil to make various sides, mains and desserts.

2. Oil infusers

Oil sometimes gets a bad rap, but when used in moderation, unrefined or unprocessed oils – like olive, flaxseed or avocado oil – can provide healthy fats that support cell growth and help lower cholesterol. An oil infuser takes it a step further by immersing your favourite nutritional or medicinal herbs in an oil of your choosing. You can throw in nutrient-packed herbs like alfalfa, fennel or nettle. Depending on what you infuse it with, once the oil is ready, you can dress a salad with it, cook with it or even create your own oil-based cleanser.   

3. Blender, food processor and slow-cooker hybrids

Not sure whether to get the foodie in your shopping list a new high-speed blender, food processor or slow cooker? You might consider going for a three-in-one deal. These multi-cookers claim to work like a personal sous-chef. They blend, crush and chop your veggies and fruits, but they can also cook, steam, heat and stir various dishes like risottos, pastas, soups and fish fillets. They do take up counter space, but if they save you time in the kitchen or money you might have otherwise spent dining out, then it’s probably worth it.

Tools and tech to boost your health and fitness

4. Workplace fitness programs

(This is the one that isn’t actually a gadget.) Despite the health hazards of sitting,  it’s not always easy to be more active or ditch the chair, especially if you need to work at a desk for most of the day. Instead of trying to commit to a pricey gym membership, why not find more convenient ways to make time for exercise while you’re at work? There’s no shortage of online and mobile fitness tools that aim to get you moving on the job. For a monthly or annual subscription fee, programs like Seven Moments offer guided exercises you can do at your desk, in your work clothes and without any equipment – and in less than 10 minutes. That sounds far more manageable than trying to cram gym time into your demanding schedule.  

5. Posture correctors

Speaking of desk jobs, sitting all day can be a pain in the neck … as well as your shoulders, upper back, lower back and just about everywhere else. Show your fellow office dweller that you’ve got his or her back with a gift that can help improve posture and alleviate pain from too much sitting. Wearable gadgets like Adrenalease and UPRIGHT provide real-time feedback to help train your muscles to correct your body’s alignment.

6. Smarter smartwatches

Smartwatches are getting even smarter. With new health features included in every upgrade, you can now track and analyze your heart health in a few swipes and taps. For instance, one new watch lets you record an electrocardiogram to measure heart activity and monitor irregular heartbeats that could lead to a stroke. Others include a fall-detection feature that can help predict and evade a potential tumble, making them a particularly useful gift for seniors.

Wearables to reduce stress and sleep better

7. Smart rings

Why stop at smartwatches when you can also have your health at your fingertips – literally? Smart rings like the one spotted earlier this year on Prince Harry’s finger not only track your fitness and heart rate, but can also measure your sleep cycle, including the amount of REM and light sleep as well as the time you spend trying to get to sleep. They’re sleek and stylish on the outside, but contain enough internal info to help you maintain a bedtime that fits your daily circadian rhythm. A smart ring might be the perfect gift for a friend in need of a good night’s rest, like a new parent – royal or otherwise.

8. Meditation headbands

Do you have a friend who needs to de-stress? Consider bypassing the spa gifts and opting for a present that promotes relaxation all year round. Meditation-centric wearables can provide real-time reactions to your brain activity, heart rate, breathing and body movements. Presenting themselves as “meditation made easy,” these headbands actively guide you through the meditation process to help you calm your mind and lower your stress levels.

9. Snoring solutions

Does your partner snore? Here’s a gift that can improve sleep health for both of you. The Smart Nora is a contact-free device that you tuck inside your pillow. When it detects the sound of snoring, it starts gently moving the pillow to stimulate the throat muscles and allow natural breathing rhythms to resume.

10. Smart speakers to manage your physical, mental and financial health

Want to give the gift that does it all? Digital assistants like Google Home and Alexa can do so much more than just tell you the time, date and weather forecast. Today’s voice-activated helpers support all aspects of your health by providing guided workouts, relaxation techniques, nutritional stats, info on the best-rated health-care providers and the latest news on stock prices and market trends. They also come in handy for at-home emergencies. For example, if you’ve slipped in the tub or you smell smoke, but you can’t reach your phone, you can easily ask Google or Alexa to call a trusted person on your contacts list so that person can call for help.

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