By Joyce Florance

I’m sure you have received gifts you wish you could return. My husband is notorious for giving me things I can’t use. I try to give him hints all year long, but it doesn’t seem to do any good. I continue to receive “doodads” and electronic equipment I can’t work. Maybe I’ll give him a big hint this year and have him read this article. Here is my list of things every runner, athlete or fitness buff would love to get for the holidays.

  1. Runner identification bracelet, dog tag or shoe tag. This is first on my list since it can include the athlete’s name, emergency contact with phone numbers and medical alerts. If you run, walk, or bike by yourself, these tags can help identify you if you are involved in an accident and are unconscious. They are invaluable. Check out Road ID on the Internet.
  2. Seat shield. When I return to our car after road races, I find that my husband has prepared my car seat with plastic garbage bags and towels to protect the leather from sweat. If you need to travel after a workout, a seat shield is a necessity. These seat covers are washable and go over the entire car seat to protect it.
  3. I have had a running journal since 1980 in which I meticulously enter workout information. There are also journals for weight training and other fitness activities. Every fitness buff could use a new journal every year.
  4. Give your fitness friend or loved one a gift that keeps giving all year by giving a subscription to a favorite fitness or health magazine or magazine that features healthy cooking.
  5. Just before my 50th marathon my husband gave me a little runner on a chain. This is one gift that he has given me that I cherish to this day. Fitness themed jewelry is an excellent gift for fitness enthusiasts.
  6. Appropriate clothing. After Christmas I usually see a lot of our members sporting new fitness outfits. Fitness clothing, hats, socks, and gloves are always a popular item for athletes.
  7. Portable music and connectivity. My staff is amazed that I can run three-to-four hours without an iPod, but I know they are popular items among athletes. Wireless headphones are a must. Also popular are armbands and pouches for phones.
  8. GPS watch. Even with the phone apps that are out there for tracking distance, I still love my GPS watch. I don’t think anyone could go wrong giving one of these as a gift

These are my main picks for gifts for athletes. I hope I have helped you identify good gifts for fitness enthusiasts in your life, gifts they won’t be returning but will be using immediately.

Fitness Tip: Exercise will not necessarily help you to live longer, but it will improve the quality of your daily life. I have heard it said that, “Exercise is not about living forever, but living for today.”