With Christmas edging closer and closer, I know some of you might still be looking for gifts (I know that I am) so, dear reader, here are some brilliant gift ideas that will help you and your loved ones stay active, healthy and happy throughout 2020 whatever your budget and whatever your current level of fitness.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
I am a Garmin Geek who owns a fabulous Forerunner 735xt and who lusts after a Fenix 6 Pro. However, based on features and value for money, I would highly recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 4 (or even the Vivoactive 3 if you don’t especially need music playback). With Spotify and a sleeker and slimmer look with than the “S” model, it compares favourably with any smartwatch on the market. While it may not possess the running analytics that hard core runners might look for, this gps and heart rate monitoring smartwatch is ideal for the pool and the gym and even has some funky on screen animations to guide you as you exercise.
New Balance FreshFoam 1080 v10
You don’t need expensive running shoes to run and every person will have their own preferences, but over the years I have come to love the New Balance 1060 running shoes to the extent that I currently own four pairs. Ample space for those with high arches, the 1080s provide a great balance in comfort, support and performance. While I own the v9’s, the 2019 v10’s models seemingly deliver a much improved fit with a smooth feel and superb transition. I normally recommend buying the previous year’s model (this applies to all running shoes) as improvements rarely justify the extra cost, but I do reckon that these will be my next purchase as I make my return to running.
One of my New Year resolutions is to make use of my local weekly parkrun event, as a runner and as a volunteer, but do you know that these free, friendly and fun 5k events are for everyone including walkers with tail walkers ensuring that nobody is ever left behind?
Regularly attending parkrun is a great way to develop your running ability and to keep fit while you will be hard pushed to find a friendlier or more supportive group of people.
You can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so when Decathlon offered to support my triathlon training (Bishopbriggs Sprint Triathlon entered while writing this blog) with a new bike, I did not complain or refuse. As a member of the Decathlon Bloggers Community I love their ethos of sport for the many and have been impressed with the quality of their kit. That being said, I was surprised at just how good my Rockrider 560 was. Light, strong and built with components that belies its superb price tag, this is a bike that is ideal for those new to mountain biking, commuters like me who love detouring along trails and even those participating in events. Buy it in red to make you go faster.
Aftershokz Trek Air headphones.
Santa came early this year and he has been very good to me with a pair of waterproof (I do live in Glasgow) Aftershokz Aeropex my Christmas gift from my mum. However, having owned a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium in the past (hope the person who found them in Edinburgh Airport is still enjoying them) my advice would be to buy a pair of the Aftershokz Trekz Air at almost half the price. Slightly heavier, their 6 hour battery length is sufficient for most rides and also on runs where you want to be able to listen to music, podcasts, directions and still be present in any environment (not sure if my boss will allow me to wear them at work). Using bone conduction technology, the quality of sound is very good even if the bass can be a little weak while they look sleek and fit well even for spectacle and hat wearers.
Like the Aftershokz, my preference for these revolves around feeling safe on my bike. As I commute through the city centre and several parks (I often extend my homeward journey from work) I have become aware that pedestrians can be as big a danger to me (and me to them) as motorists as they cross cycle lanes, roads and walk dogs along woodland trails. Rather than a sharp and often too late shrill ring of a traditional bell, the Timber Bell can be switched on to gently vibrate as you cycle. This gentle ding ding can be heard by approaching walkers who instinctively step out of the way while I have read that its a preferred and less aggressive way of signaling your arrival to horses. They also look really cool (I am reminded of Swiss cowbells).
More for open water swimmers and triathletes, the Dry Robe has become a wonderful addition to my swimming kit. Water and windproof, it allows you to change in almost any elements (less exposure in more ways than one) and keeps you warm after a cold loch swim. With winter now open us, I have also found my girlfriend snuggled up in my Dry Robe and reading a book
Aquasphere Kayenne Goggles
Whether I am swimming in a pool or in a loch, I prefer to wear goggles. And my favourites are Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles. With a curved and oversized lens they provide me with an increased field of vision (which is needed as I rarely swim straight) while the the anti-fogging further improves visibility. With quick release buckles and a quick and lasting seal, these goggles are a great fit and price.
While I am not an ambassador this year, I will still be taking part and I would urge anyone who swims to consider signing up for one challenges With distances of 400m, I.5km , 2.5km and 5km (as part of my return to fitness, I’ll be doing the 2.5km), there is a distance for everyone. All the money raised is shared between the Swimathon Foundation and charity partners, Cancer research UK and Marie Curie.
For Home fitness
Decathlon Indoor Bike*
Winter is upon us and with a steel plate in my shoulder, I am hesitant about venturing out on to cold and wet roads, but I am also conscious of the fact that I have a tendency to pile on the pounds during the winter and I do have a triathlon to train for, so my next recommendation is for the Domyos E-Seat Exercise Bike from Decathlon.
It is ideal for those wanting to do some Netflix and Spin with its really comfortable seat and ergonomic design. You can spend a few hours watching your favourite Christmas shows AND get fit.
Mirafit punch bag*
If your family are anything like mine, Christmas is a time for cheer, fun and the occasional squabble. Rather than falling out with a meddlesome mother-in-law, a drunk dad or an annoying auntie, excuse yourself and go for a few rounds with the Mirafit Punch Bag.
Easy to assemble, sturdy and taking up little space, this is the ideal gift for anyone looking to expend some energy while it is a great workout. Make sure to invest in some gloves and some hand wraps for additional fun and safety and look out for my full review in the New Year.
Every fitness drive starts by taking that first step and by finding a way to be active that you can fit into your day. Post surgery, one of the most useful tools I use is a simple Step. For an aerobic workout, it can be easy or as difficult as you want and a few weeks of using it should see an improvement in your fitness levels.
All prices are correct at the point of publication. I have either owned or been gifted * every item on this list and promote them not due to my affiliations (although I am a Decathlon Blogger) but because I genuinely believe that they make ideal fitness inspired gifts, no matter what sport or activity you enjoy and no matter your ability.