Updated: Dec 4, 2020
By Ashley O'Rourke PT, DPT, ATC, LAT
With the holidays quickly approaching these are my top picks for the fitness loving individual on your list (in no particular order)....
*This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a small compensation if you make a purchase by clicking my links*
Trust me, everyone wants one of these- even those who don't know it yet. Nearly every single time I use this on patients/clients they ask "What is that you're using?" and "Where can I get one?" It is a handheld percussion massager and is great for sore muscles, improving bloodflow, and reducing muscle tension. Personally, I prefer to use the Hypervolt by HyperIce to the Theragun because it is equally as powerful, but significantly quieter. It is also a little cheaper.
For a slightly cheaper and more portable option, consider the Theragun Mini
2. Hyperice Vyper Vibrating Foam Roller/Therabody Wave Roller
Both HyperIce and Therabody (the makers of Hypervolt and Theragun) have now come out with a 2 in 1: a vibrating foam roller. This allows you to get the effects of foam rolling and the effects of their percussion massager simultaneously. The only downside is that, unlike with the percussion massagers, it is not as versatile. You will be limited to using it only on the parts of the body where it fits and in a way that you can lie on top of it.
3. Normatec Segmental Compression Boots
These are the perfect recovery gift for someone who enjoys hard work-outs or for use by someone who has swelling in their ankles or knees. These boots fill up with air segmentally resulting in compression that pushes swelling and/or lactic acid out.
Never, ever can you go wrong with athleisure- particularly this year. It has become the international outfit of quarantine and the everyday wear for many (particularly those now working from home). But still, for the fitness fanatic who you are shopping for, nothing says "let's do this" more than a new gym set to work out in. After all, we're working hard for that body, we might as well show it off! Here are my top brands:
A simple stocking stuffer, this is the perfect gift for someone who carries a lot of tension in their neck, works a lot on a computer or has frequent recurring headaches. Lying on this massage peanut with it located at the base of your skull, it will help to release tension in what are called your "suboccipital muscles" which, when tight and overworked, cause neck pain and headaches.
A Fitbit is a great investment for someone who is actively trying to take control of their health. It is more than just a watch- it provides insight into a number of aspects related to your health so that you can track your progress. It track your daily activity, sleep patterns, exercise, heart rate and nutrition/weight. It provides motivation by allowing you to challenge friends and reminds you to take a moment to breathe or stand up when you have been sitting for too long. Read your text messages and keep track of your health all in one place! This is a great tool for accountability and I wear mine every day. I personally own one of the trackers, not the smart watch variation, simply because I am not much of a watch person to begin with and prefer the slim, non-cumbersome nature of the tracker.
FitTrack Dara Scale is the similar idea, but in scale form. It can keep track of 8 different users and provide 17 different types of measurement including:
Body Fat Percentage
Weight Without Fat
There is also a specific scale for pregnant women: the Beebo Family Smart Scale
7. Pelaton or other Fitness Bike
With COVID-19 forcing gyms to close or reduce capacity, staying active and motivated can be hard. With a studio bike you can do both, keep to your exercise schedule and have someone there cheering you on. It's like going to class, but without the risk of contracting COVID. While Pelaton is your best choice if you are not worried about money. Here are some other alternatives that are nearly as good, but slightly cheaper:
Best Bike with No Subsciption: Bowflex C6 ($999)
Best Bike with BYO Screen: Echelon Connect EX3 ($1,040)
Best "Feels like riding a bike": NordicTrack S15i ($1,599)
Best Overall Alternative: Myx Fitness Myx ($1,299)
But, if you are still in need of something significantly cheaper:
ProForm Folding X-Bike Elite ($399)
8. The Mirror
Again, this is a great gift- particularly this year- with COVID-19 forcing gyms to close or reduce capacity. Staying active and motivated can be hard. With The Mirror you can do both, keep to your exercise schedule and have someone there leading the class- all while not risking contracting COVID-19. This is ideal for those who prefer a more dynamic and dimensional workout. Whether you prefer HIIT classes, bootcamp classes, strength training or yoga/pilates, with The Mirror, you have it all in one place.
(10% off code: TRXAMB10V2AC7X)
And for a third time, another perfect yet more affordable option for the person trying to stay fit at home during a global pandemic, is the TRX suspension trainer. TRX attaches to any door and allows you to work the entire body from arms and back to legs and core with a single piece of equipment. They also provide you with a booklet/CD of exercises to keep you fit all around.
We all know that staying fit is more than just exercising- it is also heavily dependent on diet. The Nutri Nija Personal Blender is perfect for making healthy smoothies or protein shakes that you can take with you when you are on the run.
11. Hypersphere or Hypersphere Mini
Much like the Vyper or Wave Roller, the Hypersphere allows for tissue mobilization through vibration paired with foam rolling. While the foam roller version is better for larger areas and muscle groups, the Hypersphere and Hyperspere Mini (good for travel), allow for more target treatment of smaller areas and trigger points.
*BONUS: Mini Loop Bands
This may seem small and irrelevant, but there are more exercises you can do with a band than anything else. It is small, lightweight, portable, versatile, cheap and a great little stocking stuffer. They come in a range of resistance options, but I recommend buying a pack (1 with each resistance), so that you can move on to the next band as soon as you progress out of the previous one. As a physical therapist, this is my preferred brand of mini loop band because they are slightly larger than the average band - giving a little more comfort and versatility - but also because I have also found that they tend to break less often.
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