Wearable Devices that Track More than Steps
Fitness trackers and smart watches remain extremely popular – and with good reason! Today you can get reliable devices that keep track of your activity, sleep, heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen level, menstrual cycle and more. Fitbit has dozens of options, with many priced at less than $100. Apple has models of their highly coveted watches, with prices starting around $250 and going up to more than $1,000. And the very cool OURA ring is a more discreet way to wear a device – without sacrificing any of the high-tech features. We've certainly come a long way since the days of clip-on pedometers, and chances are someone on your list is ready for an upgrade!
Mini Air Purifier
Have an allergy sufferer on your list? A mini air purifier takes up minimal space, helps clean dust, smoke and other particles from the air and promotes better ventilation.
Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
Just about everybody has a water bottle (or three), but how many of us are actually cleaning it well enough to ensure it's not harboring bacteria? One recent study indicated that reusable water bottles contain 40,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! That's reason enough to make a self-cleaning water bottle your default gift for all of your friends who need to stay hydrated. The latest "smart water bottles" such as those from Larq have built-in water purification devices that use UV-C LED technology to kill waterborne microbes and eliminate odors, ensuring that water tastes fresh and clean and is safe to drink. Expect to pay $60 or more for a good quality one.
Dry, flaky and cracked heels are more than just unsightly – they can also be painful! Socks with a gel lining infused with moisturizing ingredients are one easy way to counteract heel dryness. Just slip them on for 30 minutes or more, and heels will be quickly softened and moisturized. Many brands offer them for less than $10, so it’s also a great stocking stuffer.
We're all in favor of anything that makes sleep a more enjoyable experience, and silk pillowcases definitely fit the bill. Pure silk stays cool to the touch all night long, and it helps prevents friction that can make hair frizzy or result in nightmare tangles. Silk is anti-microbial and can support better skin health. Some people even swear that the friction-less material helps discourage wrinkles, but that's still up for debate. Nevertheless, at less than $100 for highly rated pillowcases from brands such as Blissy and Slip, it's a luxurious gift that’s also very practical.
Over the past few years, weighted blankets have soared in popularity as millions of people have discovered that the gentle pressure they deliver is relaxing and really can help promote better sleep. Fortunately, there are many more affordable and attractive options today, so you can find one to fit into just about any bedroom décor. Plus, there are blankets with cooling features that are perfect for hot sleepers. Prices begin at around $70 and go up to $300 or more.
Too much light in the bedroom interferes with sleep. In fact, just the LED light on electronics can be enough to keep you from getting the sound sleep you need. Sleep masks are an effective solution that are also travel friendly. Look for soft, breathable, and machine washable fabric, convex eye cups to create space between the sleeper’s face and the mask, and an adjustable strap. Prices for quality masks start around $25 dollars.
The perfect footwear for after a workout or yoga class or even a quick walk with the dog, combination sneaker sandals (sometimes called recovery sandals) take comfort and functionality to a whole new level. There are many brands offering supportive and stylish designs that are podiatrist approved, including Merrell, Hoka, OluKai, Adidas, Vionic and Teva. Prices range from about $80 to $200.
Perfect for those just starting a health and wellness journal, these notebooks come with ideas and prompts for setting goals, reflecting on lifestyle and habits, tracking progress, practicing gratitude and much more. Papier offers beautiful journals starting at $38.
Healthy Meals at Home
We all know that cooking at home is a great way to eat healthier, but it can also be time consuming. A gift card for a popular meal kit subscription can help. Most companies, such as Hello Fresh or Daily Harvest offer vegetarian options. For vegans, Green Chef, Hungry Root, or Purple Carrot offer welcome variety. Prices vary widely based on frequency of delivery and the number of people each meal must serve. For a lower price idea, a Mediterranean, Vegetarian, or Vegan cookbook is a great addition to a home chef's library.
Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden
Fresh herbs are a healthy and delicious way to improve home cooking. Growing them at home is easier and more economical with a compact, LED powered hydroponic system, such as the ones from AeroGarden. With seeded pods that are ready to be dropped into the unit, all your recipient has to do is add water, plug it in and go. The unit turns on and off automatically, and notifies you when it's time to add water, so maintenance couldn't be easier. Plus, it’s small enough to fit into even the most compact kitchen space. Models can be found starting at around $60.
Yoga is for everybody! To help motivate a beginner a colorful new mat or a gift certificate for beginner classes is a great gift. For more devoted enthusiasts, consider some fun new accessories such as blocks, belts, bolsters, or sandbags, or a gift certificate to an active wear store will keep them practicing their poses in style.
Massage tools range from vibrating neck wraps to sophisticated electronic devices and hand-held, portable tools. Power and speed are the two biggest variables, so consider those carefully when making a selection. Many models, such as the Theragun Mini Mass gun are blue-tooth-enabled and ergonomically designed so an individual can easily use it on themselves. Prices range from $40 for a back and neck massager wrap to $250+ for high-tech hand-held devices.
Know an outdoor lover? Hiking poles, back packs, and other trekking gear make useful gifts for and one who wants to spend more time exploring the great outdoors. If you don't know what they have or need, give them a gift certificate to a sporting goods store like REI.
This article first appeared in the November 2023 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.