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Christmas and Fitness: Best Gifts for Fit Friends


With the holidays coming up, the big question in the air is what are you going to gift your friends and family or what is on your list? If you or your friends and family are interested in the world of fitness then this is the read for you. There are a lot of fitness gift options out there to help you or your loved ones become healthier …. without breaking the bank!

Here are some great ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life! 


Resistance Tubing and Bands


Resistance tubing and bands are exceptional pieces of equipment that help to develop muscular strength, endurance, and power. Tubing and bands are easy to store or pack in a suitcase for travel since they are small and lightweight. They both use elastic to increase resistance during activity - the difference is that tubing is round and bands are flat. The bands that are suggested here are called loop bands which are primarily used or placed around the legs, either at the thighs or the ankles depending on the exercise. We selected this particular brand because it is made from heavier fabric which increases its durability and it also has an anti-slip design on the inside of the band so no more sliding! Are you worried that you will not get the same training effect as when working with dumbbells? Research has shown that training with resistance tubing and/or bands demonstrate similar results to that seen with conventional strength devices  such as weight machines or dumbbells (Lopes, 2019).   To find resistance tubing and loop bands: https://tinyurl.com/e4hd2x6x and https://tinyurl.com/6k2uf933



Kettlebells and Medicine Balls


Kettlebells have become another popular piece of resistance equipment, and they do live up to the hype.  Kettlebells provide a different training effect than dumbbells due to the unique shape. The kettlebell weight (center of mass) sits below the handle while the dumbbell weight is equally distributed on either side of your hand. Due to the difference in how the center of mass is distributed between the two pieces of equipment, this can create differences in difficulty for various exercises in certain range of motions. One of the most popular movements is the kettlebell swing. Studies have shown that the kettlebell swing provides a stimulus that improves cardiorespiratory fitness, maximum strength, and explosive strength (Lake).




Medicine balls or “med” balls are another great addition to any home gym. Med balls help to incorporate power into your exercise routine since you are able to slam and throw them. We need power to perform many of our activities of daily living or to help us recover from a loss of balance. A very popular exercise to generate power, get your heart rate up, and work the whole body is the med ball slam. To find med balls: https://tinyurl.com/5wybc8jn

Yoga Blocks


Yoga blocks are a great addition for any beginner yogi. Yoga is not an easy feat but yoga blocks help turn you into a pro! As you begin your yoga practice, you may have trouble getting into some poses due to a lack of flexibility or stability…. yoga block to the rescue! Each side of the block is a different length to help provide you stability and support while moving into poses. To find yoga blocks: https://tinyurl.com/w7drxck6



Wireless Headphones


Headphones have come a long way and there are many options to choose from but we’ve narrowed it down to the two best options for fitness junkies. Music will set the mood for your workout and get you pumped to perform your best therefore you want to have reliable headphones. Wireless headphones are great for working out as you can leave your phone in your bag or on the floor and not worry about wires getting in the way of your movements. Two very popular wireless headphones are Apple AirPods and Powerbeats Pro (both are Android friendly!). AirPods are an option for everyday use and lower intensity exercises while Powerbeats Pros are great for higher intensity workouts that include jumping, or quick movements as they have ear hooks to ensure the headphones do not fall. They can both be purchased at https://www.apple.com or the Powerbeats Pro at https://tinyurl.com/kd8nf5vy


Garage Girls Membership


The best gift of all? The gift of a fitness community! Stuff your loved one’s holiday stocking with a Garage Girls membership. Check out our website for this gift of health, fitness and community!


References

Lopes, J. S. S., Machado, A. F., Micheletti, J. K., de Almeida, A. C., Cavina, A. P., & Pastre, C. M. (2019, February 19). Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE open medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383082/.


Lake, J. (n.d.). Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2012/08000/Kettlebell_Swing_Training_Improves_Maximal_and.28.aspx

Cassidy Wolf, B.S. is a recent Kinesiology-Fitness graduate of California State University Long Beach. She is a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist and looks forward to gaining more certifications to continue her fitness career in the strength and conditioning environment.

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