Holidays, and other special days we celebrate like birthdays, can often be an excuse to eat food that is bad for us and do other things that encourage poor lifestyles. How much do we play a role in the gifts we give?
Food gifts such as cakes, candy, ice cream and pie can cause problems for someone who is battling diabetes. Of course if a food gift is given it is bad form not to eat it, further, it is a good excuse to stray a bit from the healthy routine.
Instead of giving someone some DVDs, what about giving them a pedometer? Pedometers are fun because they measure steps and relative distance and encourage people to walk. This is certainly better for them than sitting around and watching movies.
Another great “health gift” is inexpensive healthy recipes and cookbooks. Perhaps there are certain foods that a person likes such as German or African-American. Their tastes can be encouraged in a healthy way.
Another area that a gift can “nudge” people into healthy lifestyles is clothing. Running shoes, hats and shorts and tops can encourage regular exercise. On a little more expensive level you can give as gifts sports watches and bikes as well as stationary bikes. In fact you can spend about all you care to spend on this type of gift.
An excellent gift is a membership to a health club. You can give them a trial month and if they like it they can pick up the payments.
For children instead of giving them the latest video game consider giving them sports equipment. Also things like jump-ropes bikes and scooters encourage exercise. Consider the massive number of young children who are morbidly obese. You could be saving their life.
There are, additionally some interactive video games that encourage movement.
The key thing when considering this situation is that it is a mindset. People become “health conscious.” If you start to give these kinds of gifts other people will no doubt follow suit.
In researching this article I ran across a fascinating sub-point. This is an exercise that also encourages health.
For sometime it has been very popular to follow your “family tree.” Another way to look at that and to employ the idea is to try and find the history of your ancestors’ illnesses and diseases. Not only is this interesting but it may give you an idea of problems to look for in your own life.
Even if you only use this idea once in awhile, your family and friends are ahead of the game.
“Healthy Holiday Gift Giving,” Fact Sheet, December “NIH News in Health,” December 2008, NIH
National Institutes of Health, 1-301-435-7489