Tablets, flat screen TVs, and blenders are all great gifts. Who doesn't want a shiny cool new gadget? But the greatest gift you can get is more basic than that – it's health. I know, boring and cliché, but true. If you don't have your health, nothing else matters.
The next time the stomach bug hits, there is one thing you will wish/pray for, and it's not a tablet. Working out will not prevent the stomach flu, of course, but we all know the benefits of exercise. So instead of a gadget that promotes laziness, get yourself a fitness present this holiday season! It's much easier to justify a new gadget purchase when it's making you healthy.
This is a billion dollar industry with a lot to choose from, so here are some gadget and equipment recommendations.
There are several ways to track your fitness; everyone from Nike to Polar is in on the action. These various wrist devices track your movement and how many calories you burn and some even have sleep trackers. If you are trying to lose or gain weight you can also log your food, do the math, and figure out if you are burning more calories than you take in, or eating more calories than you burn.
I like to think I was ahead of the curve when I wore a tracker and wrote an article about the Go Wear Fit. It was interesting to learn that I burn more calories training others than working out myself, and that I need to sleep better. Since then, these tools have exploded in the wellness scene. Several companies by trackers for their employees and then have competitions to see who is the most active employee. I think they are great if you are not an active person. It guilts you into moving when you realize how you are more sedentary than any of the Golden Girls.
Here are the top three gadgets on the market in no particular order:
I am sucker for fitness equipment; it fills a void in my heart that I never knew existed until I became a personal trainer in 2001. I have everything from bands to medicine balls at my house and I desperately want a Hex Squat bar and a sled. Granted I would only use the Hex bar for deadlifts, but it would be so worth it. Look at how it evenly distributes the weight, and the ergonomics … am I the only one salivating over this bar?
For your home, however, I would recommend simple equipment that is easy to store and can be used for many different exercises. It's great to have some equipment around the house for days you cannot make it to the gym, or walk outside. And if you don't belong to a gym, you can outfit a home cheap without breaking the bank. If you have children, working out at home is a great way to be a fitness role model. My son is only two and he already tosses around a medicine ball and attempts to do pushups.
My top five favorite items for your home:
1. Resistance bands – Great for weight training, stretching, or cardio. You can place the bands around doors and do almost any exercise you could do with a machine plus more. I use my bands all the time for a full-body workout. I even take a band with me when I travel. If you want to know which types of bands to buy, email me.
2. Soft Medicine Balls – These are soft so you do not have to worry about making too much noise slamming them on the ground, playing catch with a workout partner, or having a child run into it (they think it's fun). I use mine with all my clients. These are actually cheaper than the ones I have, and more durable.
3. Kettle bells – This is basically a weighted ball with a handle. I hide these from my son because they are solid. You can do a ton of exercises with this, like deadlifts, shoulder press, bicep curls, and many others. For women, I would buy a 15- to 20-pound one and for men, I would buy a larger one closer to 20 or 30 ponds. I own a 20- and 30-pounder and want another 30-pound one.
4. Stability Ball – These are the large balls some people sit on in their office or home. You can do core exercises on the ball, like pushups with your hands on the ball or even pushups with your feet on the ball and your hands on the ground. This is a great piece of equipment for pregnant women to open up their hips by simply bouncing while sitting on top of it (don't fall off). The site tells you based on your height what size ball to purchase.
5. Valaslide – This tool is like putting plastic wrap on your hands and feet. The Valaside comes with two separate little sliders that you use with your hands or feet, and are great for working the core. You can do a lot of exercises with them on the ground, standing up or on your knees. My favorite exercise with them is in a pushup position with your feet on them and you pull one leg at a time into your body and feel the burn in your abs.
With New Year's resolutions only a few weeks away, get started now on living a healthier lifestyle. Keep in mind you do not need any of these tools to get fit, but they can help make your routine a little easier. If you have a favorite gadget, send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.