Harvard Health Letter

5 ways to give the gift of health

Look for gadgets or services that get people moving.

give the gift of health
Image: DeathToStockPhotos

During the holidays, or at any time of year, a gift that benefits health can have a lasting impact. It may be especially helpful to someone who wouldn't normally purchase such an item or doesn't know about available options. A few guidelines to keep in mind: "The gift should be easy to use. Consider the receiver's interests, and accommodate previous injuries, surgeries, medical conditions, or functional limitations," says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

1. Services

Health club memberships promote year-round health, but they can be pricey. The average cost in the United States is about $58 per month or $700 per year. If that's too much, consider a gift certificate for a few sessions with a personal trainer. Costs vary, but you can find them for as low as $60 per hour. Look for a personal trainer who's certified through an organization such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

2. Gadgets

A wearable fitness monitor is helpful to track everything from heart rate to the number of steps walked per day. The majority cost between $50 and $200, and you'll find them at big box stores and sports retailers. An automatic pill dispenser makes sticking to a medication regimen easier for someone who takes several pills daily. The devices are available in drugstores and online. Prices start at about $50.

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