Ideas offered for a healthy new year

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002

We're down to the wire. Those of us who plan to purchase gifts for loved ones may be feeling the pressure. As I was beginning to panic the other day, I took a moment to relax and breathe and realized if you ask people what is important to them many will reply, "my health."

Gifts for good mental and physical health. Why not? The Kenai Peninsula is loaded with options respecting varying budgets. These are a few of the ideas some friends and I came up with.

Even though some of these gift ideas may be too expensive for reduced income budgets, there might be a less expensive alternative. For example, one idea we thought would be appreciated is a gift certificate for a sauna. There are health clubs and day spas locally that offer the luxury of a sauna for around $8 and up. The Kenai Recreation Center charges $3.50 for a walk-in sauna. Also, a 10-visit punch card is available there for $30.

A massage is another healthy gift. You could make up your own gift certificate redeemable for one massage from you. If you don't know how to give a good massage, the Kenai Community Library has a video demonstrating how to give a massage. If your budget will allow, there are numerous trained masseuses who give 30- or 60-minute therapeutic massages.

Day spas and health clubs are more than likely offering holiday specials right now. The day spas might have specials on steam baths, facials, mud wraps, scrubs and other types of pamperings. Health clubs may have specials on short-term memberships -- a try-us-and-see-how-you-like-us kind of promotion.

A gift certificate for a session or two, or three, with a certified personal trainer would be ideal for the person who has expressed an interest in beginning strength training or aerobic exercise. Call the local health clubs, they can give you a list of the personal trainers they have providing services in their facilities. Some trainers will make home visits as well.

Be sure the trainer is certified from a quality organization such as American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, or National Strength and Conditioning Association, just to name three. Personal trainers in our area charge around $30 per hour and up. Personal trainers also may offer holiday specials.

A gift certificate for yoga or tai chi lessons is another idea. I noticed in the KPC spring 2003 course schedule that just arrived, both yoga and tai chi are offered this semester. Call 262-0300 for more information. Also watch local newspapers for instructors advertising, as well as in the yellow pages and bulletin boards.

Other health gift ideas we came up with were gift certificates for hair and nail care; and gift packages related to relaxing baths such as candles, bath salts, soft music and even tub toys.

Gifts for good health can be simple such as a water bottle. I received one last Christmas and have used it everyday, all year long.

The most valuable and unique gift you can give is yourself and your time. You've probably heard of making gift certificates redeemable for child care or for providing respite for a caregiver. It seems like such a simple gift, but believe me, it will be a much appreciated and treasured gift.

I wish you good health and joy.

Linda Tannehill is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension Office. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs. The Kenai Peninsula District Exten-sion Office is at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A, Soldotna, AK. The phone number is 262-5824 or toll-free at (800) 478-5824.

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