Improving one’s health can be a long, hard journey … so it’s great to have some health-oriented tech and tools to help along the way!
While plenty of products out there are geared toward people who want to make healthy lifestyle changes, not all of them are equally effective. We’ve gathered a list of nine of the best healthy gifts for the holidays to help your loved ones end 2022 on a high note and kick off the New Year the right way. Read on to discover presents that have been proven to work.
The best healthy gifts of 2022
1. Air fryer
Air frying has been the name of the healthy cooking game for several years now, and for good reason. As delicious as they may be, deep-fried foods are often high in unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats. Unfortunately, this means that frequently eating deep-fried foods is associated with a variety of health concerns, including cardiovascular issues and type 2 diabetes.
Air frying offers a healthier way to cook your favorite foods, such as fried chicken, French fries, etc. Rather than using high heat and excessive amounts of oil, air fryers rely on powerful convection heat that circulates throughout their chambers to perfectly crisp up your meal. This cooking method seems to have less of an impact on your health than traditional frying methods. A 2022 study found that air-frying French fries led to a reduced formation of potential food hazards versus deep-frying them!
In addition, air frying is often much quicker than other types of high-heat cooking, such as baking or roasting, which means it’s a great everyday kitchen tool as well!
2. Wearable fitness trackers
The basic formula for hitting your long-term health and fitness goals hasn’t changed much over the years. It requires hard work, dedication, and plenty of time and attention spent in the kitchen and at the gym. But there’s definitely something to be said for being able to track your progress with modern-day technological advances!
Having real, measurable metrics is invaluable when you’re trying to get a handle on your health, which is why wearable fitness trackers are an excellent gift for anyone looking to improve their physical fitness. These trackers allow you to monitor a variety of metrics related to your health, like calorimeters, heart rate, heart rhythm, sleep quality, and more.
Even better: not only do wearable fitness trackers allow you to see how well your training is going on a biological scale, but there’s even some evidence that knowing this information boosts your commitment to your goals! One 2020 systematic review found that using wearable fitness trackers led to increases in physical activity.
3. Body composition scales
Body weight scales are widely used by people pursuing health and fitness goals but knowing your body weight alone is not nearly as powerful as knowing your body composition.
For example, if you’re aiming for weight loss, it’s important to keep track of your lean body mass in addition to your weight, since losing lean body mass can have negative health implications, such as lowered metabolism and declines in neuromuscular function. On the other hand, if you’re trying to gain muscle mass, having a real metric for your current skeletal muscle mass can give you meaningful insights into how your fitness journey is proceeding that you might not be able to glean from your body weight alone.
Because these data points are just as important as your weight (if not more so), a body composition scale is an excellent gift for loved ones who want to better understand their health. Using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), body composition scales measure your body’s fluid balance, muscle mass, and fat distribution, giving you vital information about your physique that helps you track your fitness progress more accurately.
4. Compact treadmills or walking pads
If the era of WFH has taught us anything about fitness, it’s that walking every day is an integral part of your overall wellness. Getting roughly 8,000+ steps in per day has been shown to significantly lower all-cause mortality when compared to more sedentary lifestyles. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that many Americans are only walking an average of 5,117 steps per day, falling short of that goal.
Walking pads and compact treadmills make it possible for your loved ones to bridge that gap and incorporate more physical activity into their lives. In bad weather, they allow you to get more steps in even if you can’t get a full workout done. Many smaller walking pads can even be installed under a standing desk, for easy but effective movement in the middle of your work day.
5. High-quality blenders
Does one of your loved ones use supplements to reach their nutrition goals? Consider gifting them a high-quality, all-purpose blender to make their lives more convenient.
A good blender makes it easy to whip up healthy smoothies, protein shakes, and other fitness-oriented beverages that you may want to incorporate into your diet. For example, many athletes find that incorporating protein powder into their diets in conjunction with a good workout program can promote muscle mass gains. Some high-tech blenders even double as water infusers, which can help your loved ones reach their hydration goals as well.
6. Meditation mats and benches
More and more, we’re learning that good mental health is just as crucial as good physical health. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation exercises into your daily routine can improve both your mental and physical well-being, and they can encourage long-term behavioral changes for the better.
A regular meditation practice may even help improve sleep quality, another important health factor that impacts everything from your mood to how quickly you recover from big workouts!
If your loved one likes to meditate, why not give them a meditation mat or bench? Meditation mats and benches can make seated and kneeling meditation practices more comfortable, so your loved one can ease any pain caused by these positions and ultimately dive deeper into their mindfulness exercises.
7. A meal prep subscription service
Do you have someone in your life who wants to eat healthier but isn’t quite sure where to start? Do some of the hard work for them by signing them up for a healthy meal prep subscription service!
Having healthy, balanced meals already prepped for you is a convenient way to meet your health goals. For example, one study found that prepared meal plans enabled cardiovascular disease patients to follow their nutritional recommendations more easily than patients who were assigned a self-selected food plan. Meal planning has also been associated with healthier eating patterns and fewer instances of obesity.
But meal planning may be challenging for some people, especially if they don’t know what a healthy meal looks like or if they don’t have enough free time to prep healthy meals every day. This is where a meal prep subscription service can make a huge difference. By getting meals that are already prepared delivered straight to their door, your loved ones can start familiarizing themselves with nutritious meal components and portions – and save some time in the process.
8. Personal massage guns and foam rollers
If you’re working out hard and pushing yourself in the gym, recovery is just as important of a factor in your fitness as the workout itself.
In addition to good nutrition and sleep habits, there are plenty of recovery-specific tools that can strongly impact your fitness journey. For example, personal massage guns, which use percussive massage (aka vibrations). Not only does a percussive massage treatment feel good after an intense, soreness-inducing workout, but it may also have some other benefits, like improving flexibility and improving muscle strength in older adults with sarcopenia (age-related muscle mass loss).
In a related vein, self-myofascial release tools like foam rollers can help roll out sore muscles while improving your range of motion and muscle strength.
9. Athlete-specific earbuds
Finally, as many athletes know, having the right music or podcast to listen to can make or break your workout — and this has actually been proven by science! Researchers have found that music may have an ergogenic effect on your performance by increasing exercise duration and performance.
When shopping for earbuds for a jogger or gym rat, choose sweat-free, well-fitting earbuds designed specifically for athletes, which increase their comfort and security by staying in place during their entire workout (no matter how vigorous it may be).
Making healthy lifestyle changes can be hard, so it’s helpful to be surrounded by loved ones who support those goals. If you have a special person in your life who’s ready to put their health first and foremost, give them the gift of wellness this season, through health tools that are proven to make a difference!