Still looking for gifts for a few on your list? The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has some affordable and healthful last-minute gift ideas to help your loved ones get a jumpstart on a happier, healthier 2015.
Not only does OMRF have some of the top medical researchers in the country, a handful of them are avid fitness and health enthusiasts, and they offer advice to help you stuff that loved one’s stocking with a gift that will keep on giving.
1. For kids: outdoor toys
We might live in the digital age, but that doesn’t mean footballs, baseball gloves, rollerblades and bicycles aren’t fun anymore. With childhood obesity on the rise nationwide, gifts that encourage children to play outside are more important than ever.
“If children make physical activity a regular part of their lives, they’re more likely to stay fit even after they’ve outgrown the toys,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., a physician and medical researcher.
2. For parents: fitness tools
A jump rope is timeless, effective and fun, and even top-tier brands tend to come in at $25 or less. Other options are all-purpose exercise bands, yoga mats, water bottles, gym bags and dumbbells. People who learn to document their fitness goals are statistically more consistent and see greater results, so a simple and inexpensive journal can serve as a great tool for maintaining good health.
“As a scientist, I inherently love putting data into charts,” said OMRF researcher Linda Thompson, Ph.D. “Nevertheless, I was surprised how much I was motivated by seeing my running distance increase in a chart and watching my goals increase in difficulty in a journal. It seems so simple, but it really can be the push somebody needs to become consistent with their fitness.”
3. A pedometer
Activity trackers like Jawbone’s Up or the Fitbit Flex start at $100 or more. But simpler options like the Yamax Power Walker, a digital pedometer that currently lists for $35 on Amazon, will do the trick without breaking the bank. Aim for 10,000 steps a day — about five miles for most people.
“When I only have 2,000 steps by afternoon, it reminds me to take the stairs or the longest routes between labs rather than riding the elevator or taking short routes,” said Thompson. “I’m not the only one at OMRF who has walked laps around the building to meet goals of our company fitness center challenges. It’s amazing how much seeing your progress can push you to do more.”
For someone who travels or is just short on time in general, the “7 Minute Workout Challenge” app is a great option to get the blood pumping in a tight window. The app features 12 exercises done in 30-second bursts, and it’s pretty tough to beat the $1.99 price tag.
If you’ve got a videogame player or avid comic book reader on your list, give the “Zombies, Run!” app a try. This $4 app sets out to get people up and moving with mission-based, videogame-style “zombie chase” interval training.
Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a Pulitzer Prize winner that serves as a biography of cancer. This book tracks the disease back to its earliest documented appearances and brings it up to the modern age as we continue to try to understand and defeat it.
ChiRunning by Danny and Katherine Dreyer is a favorite of runner and OMRF cancer researcher Gary Gorbsky, Ph.D. The book outlines a new approach to distance running, blending running with the principles of T’ai Chi, for a customized program designed to help you run farther and faster “This method greatly reduces chances of chronic injury,” said Gorbsky. “As a marathoner, I’m a proponent of this running technique.”
“Finding the perfect holiday present can be hard,” said Prescott. “But if you can give something that helps your loved ones stay happy and healthy, that beats fruitcakes and socks any day.”