Health and Fitness – Improve the Health of Loved Ones by Giving Them Your Time

The gifts of the season include the clichéd fruitcake, striped tie, and Fruit of the Loom underwear. But I suggest you go outside the holiday box this year and give the gift of health and fitness.
Not only that — go outside of the traditional health and fitness presents. These trite expressions of love involve the giving of health-club memberships or the presentation of treadmills. That is such a nice intention, but that membership will not be used beyond Martin Luther King�s Birthday and that treadmill will quickly bear the weight of more junk than a rented Tijuanan mule. My suggestions require your active participation, and they are truly gifts that keep on giving.
� Make arrangements to walk twice a week with that out-of-shape recipient of your festive munificence. First give this person a calendar, and circle the same days of the week for each week throughout the year. Be sure to indicate a time and only mark in pencil. You have laid the groundwork, and it is now up to the two of you to identify a compatible schedule for both of you to walk. Then you can mark in ink. This will work even if you are separated by hundreds of miles. You both can walk simultaneously and communicate through mobile-phone technology. Representatives of your favorite friends and family plan will gladly assist you.
� For the smoker in your life, make monthly appointments to visit the cancer unit together at your local hospital. Bring flowers along, and spread some cheer among the oncology patients. Some will be suffering the effects of lung cancer, and some will be suffering from the effects of other forms of cancer. The impact should be sufficient nonetheless. Continue these monthly appointments as needed during the coming year.
� Send a motivational saying once a week to that certain person on your list in need of, well, motivating. I like to print an inspiring saying or quote on a slip of paper and mail it to the intended individual. This will have a profound impact upon your special person. Sure, it would be much easier for you to purchase a book or calendar of quotes and hand this off to him or her. But where would that personal touch be? There would also be no guarantee that the book or calendar would be used. Everyone loves to get mail, and everyone will open their mail. Your desired effect will be achieved.
� If you live close enough, you can choose two days (or more) each month when you will cook a meal with that friend or relative on your holiday list. You can work together on planning healthy, delectable, and enjoyable meals. This can sow the seeds for much healthier eating when you are not in the company of each other.
What makes these gifts so different from traditional gifts is that you are actively involved in their presentation until the next fruitcake and striped-tie season. You are frequently there to provide that extra something for that gift recipient. Most of these holiday ideas are inexpensive and will simply require the time commitment.
You can even throw in a package of tighty whities for good measure. Happy holidays!
This health and fitness column is brought to you by that guy who believes there is nothing phallic about Santa riding up and down chimneys all night long. That guy is Ron Blake, and he can be showered with presents at www.myblakefitness.com.”

Ron Blake

Ron Blake, a personal fitness trainer in Phoenix, has been training individuals and groups for 15 years. He has also coached high school cross-country and track teams in Indiana and California. He was born in Gary, Ind., and Indiana University awarded him bachelor and master's degrees (as long as he agreed to quietly leave the state!) Visit his website, www.myblakefitness.com for more information.

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