Gift Guide: What you need to work(out) from home

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

And given everything that has happened in 2020, everyone needs a bit (or a lot) of self-care after this year. With that in mind, here is a helpful list of suggestions for the best gifts around promoting a healthy body and healthy mind this holiday season.

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2 men’s running shoe, Caraa face masks, Bala bangles, JBL Club One headphones
Courtesy of Reebok, Caraa, Bala and JBL

Amazon: Amazon Halo is a new device and service dedicated to helping customers improve individual health and wellness. The app offers a suite of A.I.-powered health features that provide data and insights into overall wellness, and the accompanying band uses multiple sensors to accurately capture important health metrics such as body composition, activity, sleep, and even tone of voice. Note that the Halo is tied to a monthly membership for this analysis; the subscription is free for the first six months, and auto-renews at $3.99 per month thereafter. SRP: $65 is the early access price; the Halo will usually retail for $100.

Alala: Sometimes a good way to motivate yourself to work out is to simply upgrade your workout clothes. An old T-shirt and sweatpants don’t always cut it. After all, if you look good and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll be more positive and energized. Alala makes luxury workout wear that is both sophisticated and high-quality and is meant to be worn all day. The brand’s Edge leggings are formfitting but don’t feel tight or restrictive, with a front key pocket inside the soft waistband and a power-mesh panel around the waist for extra support. SRP: $115.

Back Bay: Running outdoors is a great alternative to exercising at a gym in the COVID era. It will get chilly in many areas over the next few months, and many avid runners wear full face coverings, pandemic or not. Back Bay’s Running Face Mask sports a comfortable cooling fabric that regulates your body temperature to prevent overheating on your face. And all of Back Bay’s neck gaiters are designed to comfortably fit men and women of all sizes. SRP: $17.

Bala: For both beginner and experienced weight lifters, these wrist and ankle bangles can help strengthen your arms and legs without much work at all. Ranging from a half pound to two pounds, the Bala Bangles can be slipped on for wear while working at home, taking a walk through the neighborhood, or even doing household chores. (Not to mention you could also just add them on while doing regular workouts, such as running and yoga, to up your toning game.) SRP: Starts at $40 for the half-pound bangles.

Caraa: If you’re someone who likes to exercise outdoors regularly, you probably already know the struggle of finding a face mask that lets you breathe comfortably while moving at a faster clip. In my experience, disposable face masks are actually the best for this, but they’re not really a sufficient long-term option—not only because they’re disposable but with another COVID wave looming, PPE needs to be made available for first responders and frontline workers first. The next best thing I’ve found are these reusable, washable, nonmedical face masks from accessories brand Caraa, which pre-pandemic was probably best known for its convertible gym bags. Each pack comes with five lightweight masks made with dual-layer cotton fabrication for increased breathability and comfort, adjustable ear loops for fit, and a wide filter pocket for added protection. SRP: $25.

Cubii: Given how overwhelming 2020 has been, we’d be reluctant to encourage excessive multitasking. Nonetheless, this might be a simpler, perhaps even nervous stress-relieving method. The Cubii JR compact seated elliptical easily fits under even a small desk, allowing the owner to get work done while getting in a light workout at the same time. Users can work out with the built-in LCD monitor. It also comes with a workout mat and a set of wheel stoppers. SRP: $249.

Dr. Scholl’s: The venerable orthopedic foot care brand has a bevy of potential stocking stuffers. The Dr. Scholl’s sized running insoles (created specifically for runners) provide targeted support and cushioning for optimal performance and injury prevention. Additionally, they help prevent pain from runner’s knee, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. Designed to protect the heel, arch, and ball of the foot, the cushions reduce shock by up to 40% as you run. Also crucial, they have the brand’s proprietary SweatMax technology to eliminate odor. Cushions are available for men’s sizes 7.5 through 14 and women’s sizes 5.5 through nine. SRP: $15.

JBL: Released this summer, JBL’s Club One headphones were designed by DJ and producer Armin van Buuren as a “do it all” headset that suits both professional touring and everyday use at home and at the gym. The result not only merges stage-ready performance with True Adaptive Noise Canceling, but also has a stylish but flexible design meant for long-term use and travel with durable metal hinges, a leather headband, cushioned over-earcups, and more than 45 hours of playback time on a single battery charge. SRP: $350.

Fitbit: The Sense is Fitbit’s top-of-the-line smartwatch, touted as the first to include an on-device electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to help you manage stress. (Who doesn’t need help with that these days?) Then there are all the other bells and whistles, such as built-in GPS, phone calls via Bluetooth, more than 20 goal-based exercises, menstrual health tracking, and up to six days of battery life on a single charge. For power users, the device comes with a six-month free trial for Fitbit Premium, which offers extra personal health insights and analytics about metrics like your breathing rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and skin temperature. The Sense also supports Fitbit Pay, which connects to your credit and debit cards and supports contactless payments—a plum feature to have during a pandemic for those on the go. SRP: $330.

Reebok: Simple but effective, these running shoes offer cushioned comfort while keeping feet light thanks to a breathable mesh upper. The Floatride Energy Foam also gives the shoes a soft step-in feel for a smoother ride, whether it be for a relay, a 5K, or a special race day. SRP: $100 for both women’s and men’s sizes.

Retrospec: Retrospec’s all-steel versatile mace bell is ideal for toning, CrossFit, and complete weight training at home. Sporting a rounded steel head fully welded to the metal stem, the Mace Bell is designed to target groups of muscles, large and small, for better strengthening and endurance. Touted to be “virtually indestructible,” the Mace Bell is available in five-, seven-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-pound increments. SRP: $21.

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