December 21, 2020

Five last-minute gifts for the health-conscious

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Inexpensive gift ideas for the people you love who love their wellness.

If you are still struggling with a gift idea for someone special, have no fear. This short, but sweet list provides you with five easy to find, inexpensive gift ideas for the health-conscious that say you care.

1. Resistance bands

Whether your loved one is a budding fitness enthusiast, an active older adult or a marathon runner, everyone can benefit from incorporating bands into their exercise routine. They are helpful for improving muscle tone and for preventing injury, because they build strength. Resistance bands are sold individually and in sets. The sets include several bands, each with a different degree of resistance (some are harder to stretch than others). They are great for home or hotel-based workouts and take up virtually no space in a travel or gym bag. Find them online or at sporting goods stores.

2. Citrus juicer

Fresh juice makes everything taste so much better — from salads to fish to roasted vegetables. You can squeeze by hand, but a juicer gets the job done without the pulp or seeds. You can easily spend upwards of $200 on a countertop appliance juicer, which is great for large-quantity juicing. However, there are plenty of handy juicers for less than $10 for when you just want to add a squeeze here and there. Some have measurements on the side, and many come apart easily and are dishwasher safe. Juice lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits for a zesty finish to roasted vegetables like broccoli and asparagus. Use juice in place of oil to lighten up and add flavor to salads with less fat and sodium. Squeeze some fresh citrus, such as lemon over broiled fish or lime onto grilled meat. Cooks can get creative with this handy kitchen tool.

3. Reusable shopping bags

Give the gift of environmentally friendly, reusable shopping bags. Slowly but surely, pollution-causing disposable bags are being phased out, by some city or state governments, because of the impact single-use plastic bags have on the environment. Canvas, nylon, polyester or recycled plastic bags are not just eco-friendly, but they can also hold a lot more stuff than flimsy high-density polyethylene (HDPE), those thin plastic bags most grocers pack your purchases in. Look for bags that are easily washable, both for the inevitable spills and smears that will occur and also for basic hygiene —you’re often carrying food in them, after all. These bags are great for trips to the farmer’s market, library or of course grocery shopping. Now, if we can all just get in the habit of remembering to bring the bags with us when we shop!

4. A sound machine

A good night’s sleep is something most people crave. But if teenagers stay up later than parents watching TV, the neighbors are loud, or the dog snores, a sound machine — also called a white-noise generator — can help achieve a restful night of sleep. A 2016 study by the Journal of Caring Sciences found that individuals who used a sound machine reported a better night’s sleep than those who didn’t. Sound machines are small devices you usually plug in next to your bed. They come pre-loaded with a variety of calming sounds such as white noise, falling rain, a rushing stream or crickets. Most sound machine devices have the option to be battery operated or plug-in, making them great to take along when traveling for noisy hotel rooms. Options such as timers, built-in clocks, volume controls and USB plugs for headphones are all considerations when choosing this gift for your sleepy recipient.

5. A reflective vest

The main cause of accidents involving pedestrians, runners and cyclists is that drivers don’t see them in the road. Keep all of your favorite active people as safe as possible with a reflective vest that lights them up for drivers to see, day or night. Many vests come with arm and leg bands for added visibility as well as reflectors on all sides of the body, so the wearer can be seen from any angle. Choose an adjustable version that allows for wearing over a T-shirt, or layer it over a winter coat or a rain jacket.