The festive season has crept up on us once again and this can often be a challenging time for us all to make healthy choices. Here in Australia, we’re lucky that the festive season brings good weather, which can help us to stay active - whether it’s at the beach, in the park or simply in our own backyard.
With weather like ours, why not consider giving gifts this Christmas that encourage your family and friends to get active? Australia has some of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Presents that promote exercise can give twice – especially gifts for children . Getting them active at a young age can have life-long benefits.
Here are my top ten active gifts from the heart, for the heart.
The skipping rope is such a fantastic and affordable gift for kids - both big and small. Challenge your friends and family to master these skills and you’ll all increase your level of fitness, and have fun!
These days there are so many different types of Frisbees, it’s hard to know what to buy. For longevity, make sure you pick a good quality Frisbee; choose one that has a bit of weight to it, or one in a ring shape to give the ultimate flying (and therefore, running) potential. If you want something that’s a bit different (and very Australian) you could also choose a boomerang.
For generations, the clunk of bat on ball has been an iconic part of our Australian summer. A cricket set, complete with bat, ball, wickets (and pads if you’re using a hard ball) is something that can get a whole crowd of family and friends on their feet for a few hours.
Why not bring the beach to your backyard with a portable water slide? It’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer’s day and can entertain the hungry hoards while their waiting for the barbeque to get going. Who knew that a little liquid soap, water and a hose could be so much fun!
This gift can help to bring the sea to life and entertain and intrigue in an active way - who knows, perhaps they’ll find Nemo or Dory at the same time?
A bike is a form of transport like no other. Cycling is booming across Australia as a recreational sport and as a form of transport. As cities and towns across the country add more and more bike paths and bike lanes to make it safer to ride, there’s never been a better time to get back on the bike.
If you’re a female bike rider, why not enter the Heart Foundation’s Gear Up Girl recreational ride. You’ll be helping out your favourite charity at the same time as getting active!
Being a yoga teacher, I might be biased, but the gift of yoga is something that gives someone benefits for their body and their mind, both of which are great for your heart health. During the summer season, there are a lot of free or discounted yoga classes to try throughout Australia. Check your council website for these events.
Bocce (Italian) or Boules (French) is a game with a European flavour, but one that works well in the great outdoors. You can play almost anywhere, whether it's in your backyard or pack a picnic along with your Boules set and head to the park.
Check out these bocce tutorial videos on YouTube to learn more about the game.
Fitness trackers can be a great way to reinforce and quantify healthy, active behaviour in people. Pair that with encouraging your friends and family to join a free group and they will be taking a step towards better heart health in 2017.
Football is traditionally a winter sport, but who says you can’t kick a ball around in summer? Whether you prefer a round ball or the oval variety, each game offers a different set of challenges and requires entirely different skills. Why not choose a variety of footballs from different codes and to keep your friends and family ‘on the ball’.
I’ll be spending my holidays camping and hiking along the east coast of Australia (I’ll be taking my Frisbee and yoga mat with me), discover more ways to keep your friends and family active this festive season.