Budget-Minded Holiday Gifts

In today’s economy, we are all looking for great returns on the money we spend on gifts for those we love. Learn how to get the biggest bang for your bucks...

In today’s economy, we are all looking for great returns on the money we spend on gifts for those we love. Nothing works better to increase the value of your preferred stock than to give the gift of fitness and health.  Below please find recommendations for my budget-friendly physical stimulus plan:


Stability Ball

At the top of my list is the Stability Ball.  This vinyl sphere is invaluable in strengthening legs and core. Low back extensions, inchworms, ball crunches and pelvic tilts are among the most effective ball-based core exercises. Wall squats and plie squats are great for one’s legs. In addition it can function as the platform for chest press, one-arm row, biceps curls and other upper-body exercises. Costing between $15 and $69, this iconic sphere comes in several sizes based on one’s height. It gets a strong buy recommendation from this analyst.


Jump Rope

New-generation jump ropes have thick rubber tubing, rather than wimpy clothesline rope. The handles can be weighted to provide extra resistance. A great quality Valeo rope can be purchased on the internet for $13.99.This ancient toy can provide a vigorous aerobic workout in a small space. Five minutes of jumping rope will cause your heart rate to rise faster than the price of an IPO.



At 90 pounds, this compact, integrated dumbbell and weight rack system is not a lightweight investment with a price tag of $300.  But considering that a rack of traditional dumbbells would need about eight feet of space and weigh in at 450 pounds, this hi-tech alternative allows the user to access every dumbbell from five to 45 pounds using a unique selectorizing system to lift only the weights required. There is also a lighter version that allows the user to select weights between three and 24 pounds and costs about $129. For the big time investor, there is an upgrade kit that will allow the larger 90 pound set to expand to 180 pounds. Whichever size system is right, his gift of steel is one precious metal you must add to a well balanced home gym portfolio.



The Bosu ball is not a ball at all. Rather it is half of a stability ball mounted on a rigid plastic base. This device provides an unstable platform for balance training, abdominal exercises, aerobic work, strength training and a host of sport-specific exercises. Any exercise that can be done from the stable floor can be done from the unstable Bosu, thus increasing its intensity and overall challenge.

The scope of people who can benefit from training on a Bosu ranges from the elderly recovering from an injury to professional athletes and everyone in between.  Costing about $100, the Bosu is an excellent asset to add to one’s exercise balance sheet.


Wrist Roller 

If your wrists are overused from spending all day performing surgery, weeding the garden or pounding the keys of your Bloomberg Terminal, this precious little gem can build lower arm strength and help prevent overuse injuries in the lower arm. The device consists of a light weight tethered to a plastic or metal dowel. Roll the dowel forward, the weight rises; roll it backward, the weight descends. Any tennis player, golfer, Little Leaguer or hockey player on your Holiday gift list can accrue benefits by dramatically increase grip strength. With opening bids between $25 and $50, this little dividend is an ideal stocking stuffer.


Gift Certificate  

Give the gift of flexibility and choice. Whether used for personal training, home gym equipment, yoga, home gym design, Pilates or nutritional guidance, a fitness gift certificate may be just the working capital needed to motivate a loved one to take the first step toward living a healthier life. Cost is entirely up to the giver. To make underwriting this venture convenient, most can be ordered on the internet and sent by e-mail. 

Investing in the fitness and wellness of love ones will yield huge dividends.  They are annuities that keep on giving.  As you can see from my buy recommendations above, one need not take a second mortgage to afford AAA-rated quality gifts.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

KC December 20, 2012 at 04:59 AM
I am pretty active and try to exercise at least a half hour every day. I rarely miss a one. However, those stability balls just wrankle me. lol I cannot for the life of me, stabilize myself on one. Yet I can walk miles and work with weights. Go figure.
KC December 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM
PS I am told by a physical therapist that massaging wrists on a plain old golf ball can be effective in dealing w/ carpal tunnel type issues.
Joseph L. Stein December 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Hi KC, fitness has 8 key elements. You seem to be blessed with strength and endurance. Balance, however, appears to be an area you need to shore up a bit. What exercises on the stability ball are you trying to do? What is your height, as it relates to ball size. What size ball are you using...55cm, 65cm? How long have you been exercising?


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