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Perfect Health Gift #2: TIME—Yes, time, and I don’t mean a sports watch.
In a very real sense, this is ultimately what leads toperfect health. It is what our health is about anyway—the quality and quantity of the time of our lives. We try to get healthy because we want to stay around longer, and feel better while we’re here. But research shows that people cite a lack of time as a major barrier to both eating better and getting more active.
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that a mom with three kids in grade school has a lot of demands on her time and might be hard-pressed to carve out a regular window for exercise.
But a retiree might also have a pretty active schedule, without actually being physically active in a way that’s focused on improving health.
For anyone, shopping for and cooking wholesome meals takes effort, and certainly more time than calling for pizza or Chinese.
So while a generous gift of a gym membership could be a great present for someone with the flexibility to add a work-out routine to their schedule, in practice, it might not be, well, practical. Gyms and health clubs count on that. If everyone who had a membership at a given gym actually showed up to work out, the place would be worn out!
But a few dollars devoted to a babysitter to watch the kids for a couple hours, twice a week, might better enable mom to put an exercise routine into practice, whether it’s at a gym or just taking off for a brisk walk through the neighborhood.
I have seen people commit significant sums of money to health pursuits that require significant commitments of time—as gifts, or even for themselves—with the idea that the expense itself will provide the impetus for action. But that kind of pressure can be stressful and actually counterproductive.
Perfect Health Gift #3: SUPPORT—On the other hand, if part of your gift is your committed participation in an effort, that’s another matter. In fact, that could be the difference between success and failure of any new health-related venture, whether it’s exercise, dietary change, or other lifestyle adjustments.
And that applies whether the beneficiary is a pal, spouse, child or the whole family!
How can you package your support? That’s wide open. The point is to avoid anyone being isolated in a get-healthy effort while everyone around them is carrying on as usual.
If there’s a gift of new exercise equipment, It might be best to situate it somewhere the whole family can easily use it, rather than in someone’s personal space.
If Dad’s just trying to increase his overall activity level, maybe everyone could get a pedometer and the whole family could get on board.
If your mother is trying portion-controlled diet meals for a while, maybe your tradition of a weekly pizza and a movie could be adjusted to a salad and a walk before the show.
There are lots of ways to show support and encouragement, and when it comes to weight loss, the best ways just happen to be good for everyone.
And that makes it the best gift of all.
Through Thick & Thin: Perfect Health
Buying health-related gifts for someone is tricky, because people’s health needs are personal and unique. That means that a health gift should be as individual and tailored as a person&rsqu