Sondra E. Z. Hines
Sondra E. Z. Hines
Sondra E. Z. Hines
Sondra E. Z. Hines

Qcity readers, time is running out if you’ve yet to shop for Christmas gifts.

Whether you’re brave enough to fight mall traffic, stand in endless long lines or splurge for priority shipping, the holiday clock is ticking.

Bah, humbug!

I have a better option. Why not give yourself or loved ones a gift of health, something that isn’t confined to one day and can be used throughout the year.

I’ve got you covered.

I’m sharing 12 gifts — for men and women — that don’t necessarily have anything to do with Christmas and everything to do with wellness!

Let’s get started:

1.  Oral B toothbrush – One of the best investments I made, and my dentist confirms it with each visit. A new model offers a few extras, like Bluetooth connectivity, if you’re willing to spend more. Cost – $89 to $130.

2.  Garmin Vivo Fit 2 – is an activity device that tells time, tracks steps, sleep, inactivity and calories. It has a battery that lasts up to one year. Cost: $80 – $100, depending on where you buy it —,

3.  Bondiband Headbands – I was gifted my first Bondiband, and am now a huge fan. The headbands wick sweat, securely hold my hair in place, are stylish and affordable. Cost – $9.

4. Yoga Mat – In addition to using them for yoga, a personal mat is great to take into gyms where germs always lurk. I use my yoga mat regularly. Cost – $10

5.  Sur La Table popcorn maker – Preparing items at home is usually cheaper and healthier. Having this handy item is one way to cut calories and save money. Cost $20.

6.  Kettlebells – cast iron weights with a handle. According to Prevention Magazine, you should add them to your routine if you want to “get a leaner, tighter figure without spending much time.” Cost: $30 – $70 and up at sporting goods stores. Here are some tips to help you get started:

7.  Jump rope – one of my favorite childhood activities is now a favorite in my adulthood. Jump ropes are portability, affordable and fun. A good rope should have sturdy handles and, preferably, be adjustable. Cost – $10

8. Socks – a good pair of athletic socks are worth every penny, especially if you work out regularly. I like the ones by CEP, which pack a lot of features into their unisex socks (proprioceptive ankle and arch stabilization) and fun colors. Cost – $19.

Honorable mention goes to the following free “gifts.” (As a fitness professional, I’m obligated to encourage exercise.)

9.  Burpees – Squat that moves into a quick plank position, then back to standing in one quick movement. Coaches and trainers use burpees as an all-around conditioning exercise that gets the heart rate up.

10. Planks – the plank is one of the best exercises for your core, because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture.

11. Abdominal Crunches – helps tone/flatten the belly, burn fat, and strengthen your core.

12. Meditation – With the holiday season now in full swing, stress levels are high, tempers are short, and often we forget to relax. Taking a few minutes daily for reflections, because stress can lead to more serious health problems. Cost – Free.

Before beginning any of the suggested exercises, consult with your physician. And if new to fitness or returning from a layoff, I suggest a session with a fitness professional.

Until next time, I wish you merry fitness, joy and wellness!

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Sondra E. Z. Hines is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, workshop presenter and motivational speaker. A former adjunct professor, she has 15-plus years as a fitness instructor...