A Very, Merry Fitness

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Exercise Enthusiasts

As 2020 draws to a close, more people than ever are working out in their basements, garages and living rooms. They’re living in athleisure clothing and choosing supplements that will improve their overall health. So, as you check each of your exercise-enthusiast friends and family members off your holiday gift list, why not feed these new, at-home, 2020 fitness and wellness habits that are sure to carry over into 2021? Here are 10 gift ideas to keep those fitness bells ringing.

Slam Ball

A slam ball can be used in all the same ways as a traditional medicine ball, but it’s slightly more versatile because, as its name implies, you can slam it hard against the ground or throw it and it will stop dead rather than bounce away. Typically, slam balls are coated in heavy-duty rubber that is textured for grip and can cost anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on weight.

Jump Rope

Nothing challenges your cardiovascular system like a jump rope, and nothing is more suited to an at-home cardio blast, because contrary to popular belief, you only need about 10 inches of free space above your head. Jumping rope can be used for HIIT-style workouts and endurance workouts alike, and will also improve coordination, agility, balance and muscle strength. The most basic model will run you about $6, with fancier speed ropes or ropes with weighted handles costing as much as $100.

Weight Vest

You don’t need a fancy treadmill to get a great walking or running workout; you just need the motivation to open your door and step outside. And for those who are extra-ambitious, wearing a weight vest on a walk or run can burn more calories and build more muscle. Lighter varieties start at around $30, with the price increasing along with the weight. Adjustable options with sleeves to add and remove weights can run up to $300 and often include pockets for a cell phone, water bottle and headphones.

Ab Wheel

This innocent-looking piece of equipment costs less than $20, but be warned, it packs a punch. A full ab-wheel rollout from a standing position to an extended push-up position is as challenging as it gets, but beginners can start on their knees and still engage the abdominals and internal and external obliques for a killer, at-home core workout in mere minutes. It also works the shoulders and lats.

Yoga Mat

These colorful rubber rectangles are inordinately useful in every home gym, whether you’re actually practicing yoga or just using a mat to cushion the floor as you do burpees, or to protect your hardwoods from falling dumbbells or your knees from the asphalt of your driveway. Cheaper versions are under $20, and more expensive types, made of natural or recycled rubber, can run up to $100.

Foam Roller

These dense foam cylinders are basically used as an at-home massage therapist to decrease muscle and joint pain, increase circulation, range of motion and flexibility and improve recovery from tough workouts. A standard foam roller costs under $10, while more high-tech, vibrating varieties are around $150, and many instructional videos can be found online.

Massage Gun

A massage gun, which can run anywhere from around $65 to upwards of $400, provides a more targeted, less labor-intensive muscle release than a foam roller and can easily be used on all parts of the body. Additionally, it offers the benefit of percussive therapy, which accelerates warmup and recovery, reduces muscle soreness and stiffness, improves range of motion and flexibility and enhances muscle performance.

Body Fat Scale

For as little as $25 – and as much as $350 - you can monitor your weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, muscle mass, visceral fat and hydration level, and track your daily, weekly and monthly progress by syncing your scale to a smartphone app or your fitness watch. Most of these digital scales run on AAA batteries or on internal lithium batteries rechargeable by USB.

Fitness Watch

The most high-tech fitness watches that track advanced metrics like sleep, heart rate variability, respiration rate, calories burned and recovery cost upwards of $500, but a perfectly reliable model that tracks your heart rate and workouts via GPS can be had for around $50. For some people, the data is overwhelming. But the tech-heads on your list will find it motivates them to be more active.

Protein Powder

Many believe consumable gifts that will be gone in a few months are the best for the they-already-have-everything types on your gift list, and when it comes to fitness junkies, nothing is more usefully consumable than protein powder. Whether it is whey protein or vegan plant protein, it provides the amino acids necessary to support muscle growth, repair and recovery.