Published November 27. 2020 11:12PM
“It’s not what you said,” she scolded. “It’s how you said it.”
It was Christmas Eve. I was five, maybe six. Nana just left for the night after giving me an early Christmas present.
I forget if I received socks or underwear or a government savings bond (items she gave me more often than I care to remember). I do remember doing exactly as I had practiced with mom. I thanked Nana for the gift and gave an example of how I would use it – something mom said was a “nice touch” and made me a “little gentleman.”
But nice touch or not, this little gentleman still got reprimanded. Did my words lack sincerity? Did I say them sarcastically?
Whatever the reason, the memory remains – as does its effect. To this day, nothing can put my underarm deodorant to the test like having to fake gratitude after getting a bad gift.
Yet nothing can make me feel better than giving a great gift – something useful yet a bit off the beaten path – that’s genuinely appreciated.
Since you very well may do Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday, here are a few health and fitness gift suggestions available at Amazon.com that meet my great-gift criteria and might be right for someone you know.
I used Amazon for this article because of the likelihood you do. In 2018, American consumers spent more money there, a total of 49 percent of all e-commerce, than at the next three top retailers – eBay, Apple, and Walmart – combined.
As much as your friends and family enjoy the holiday season, they probably dread another season that occurs at about the same time: the cold and flu season. So why not give a gift that can lessen the effects of one or the other?
I haven’t had a cold that’s caused me to miss a day of work or a workout in 20 years, and my use of Cold Calm, a homeopathic remedy manufactured by Boiron, has to be the reason why.
When I take the first dose at the onset of symptoms, what used to be a week or two ordeal of headaches, achy muscles, and congestion becomes a night or two of a stuffy nose. And if the stuffy nose wakes me from sleep, another dose of Cold Calm clears my nasal passages in minutes.
That run-down feeling that often accompanies a cold gets lessened, so much so that I’ve had downright intense workouts in the p.m. after consistently hearing, “You sound awful” in the a.m. (Using Cold Calm, oddly enough, makes me sound far more congested than I am.)
Another Boiron product, Oscillococcinum, is equally effective in lessening the effects of the flu.
Downright intense workouts can sometimes create more-than-normal muscle soreness. Years ago, I could wake up the day after an unusually intense bike ride feeling as if the fronts and backs of my thighs had been whipped repeatedly throughout the night.
That feeling doesn’t occur anymore because after hard rides I now massage my legs using a RumbleRoller, a foam roller that’s really stiff and bumpy. While I know others who prefer using the more traditional foam rollers, I like the hurts-so-good feeling the stiff bumps create – and that that hurt breaks up the adhesions that form it seems because of the metal rods and screws in both my legs.
Compared to other foam rollers, the RumbleRoller is expensive, but if the one getting this gift engages in hardcore workouts or has suffered a significant injury (like a fractured femur – or two), this is the foam roller to get.
Another way I help my legs recover after a ride is by wearing calf compression socks or sleeves. I put them on, elevate my legs for 20 minutes or so, and the heavy-legged feeling the ride produced is just about gone.
I imagine using them would be even more helpful to runners considering constant pounding their legs take.
Non-athletes can benefit from compression socks or sleeves as well. I gave a pair recently to a lady in her mid-80s whose calves kept cramping while she was sleeping and that – in combination with an after-supper glass of tonic water (for the quinine) – has allowed her to sleep through the night.
I prefer the sleeves to the socks and recommend those produced by Zensah.
A gift that aids in healthy eating is an electric nonstick griddle since the need for cooking oil is eliminated. I use mine primarily to make what I call protein pancakes.
The key ingredient is 100 percent whole grain, low in fat, and available through Amazon if it’s not carried by your grocery store: Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix. While all varieties from Kodiak are healthy and good tasting, I use Buttermilk because it has less sugar than the Cinnamon & Oats version.
Other ideas worthy of healthy gift giving: a water filtration pitcher, fitness or philosophy books, or selecting a miscellany of healthy food items – protein powder, creatine, energy bars – and placing them in a basket, box, or gym bag.