Choosing the perfect Holiday gift for an athlete presents a serious challenge. Gear and apparel fashions seem to change with the seasons, and outdoor tech becomes obsolete after just a few years. And how do you know which color ski gloves your girlfriend will wear?
Luckily, the gift of health never goes out of style. All athletes—no matter the sport—require recovery, rest and rehabilitation in order to perform. We’ve sourced six gifts built around health and recovery, which are sure to sooth your athlete’s muscles—and put a smile on his or her face.
1. Opedix KNEE-Tec 2.0 3/4 Tights $195.00 opedix.com
Injury prevention is a hot topic in lifestyle sports these days, due to the large number of fitness enthusiasts, skiers and runners who are forced to take time off each year. Opedix garments attempt to reduce injuries by helping the body maintain proper alignment during activity. Opedix tights, for example, reduce lateral movement in the knee joint with a Torque Reform Technology that reinforces the knee and compresses the surrounding muscles. The KNEE-Tec ¾ tights also keep the body warm during exercise, and are perfect for skiing and other activities that require a mid-calf boot.
2. lululemon Yoga Mat $68.00 lululemon.com
Yoga is a favorite supplementary activity for cyclists, skiers and runners, because it stretches overused muscles and strengthens the overlooked ones. Luckily, yoga’s growing popularity has ensured that a studio is never far from even the most remote ski resort. There are plenty of yoga mats on the market, but we like lululemon’s mat for its versatility across various yoga environments. The sweat-absorbing surface will ensure you won’t slip onto the floor in event the hottest Bikram class, and the antimicrobial top layer will keep the mat from smelling like your old gym bag on those days you forget to wipe it dry.
3. Misfit Shine $99.00 misfit.com
Daily movement and activity is key to preventing joint disorders like osteoarthritis and improving rehabilitation times of sports injuries. Misfit’s Shine is quarter-sized disc that tracks every movement you make throughout the day. Simply put, it’s the world’s most discreet activity tracker. Size doesn’t take anything away from the product’s functionality, however. The product syncs with your smartphone, and then records every running step, swim stroke or pedal movement throughout the day. You can set a daily goal, and the Shine will let you know how close you are to that goal with a simple tap. It’s the perfect gift for a parent or older sibling trying to lose weight or maintain their regular allotment of daily exercise. The Shine is also great for athletes who want to track just how far they go during an average day.
4. Dr. Cool Wraps $34.99 drcoolrecovery.com
Ice packets are a staple for all athletes, as the inflammation-killing cold is often the first step toward recovery. But traditional ice packets are clunky, and homemade bags tend to leak. Dr. Cool’s Wraps combine the cold of an ice pack with the elastic pressure of an Ace bandage. Simply wet the wrap and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes, and then wrap it around the sore area. Velcro secures the wrap to your body, and the machine-washable cloth makes for easy cleanup. This stocking stuffer is perfect for athletes who feel pain in the lower back, the ankles and other hard-to-chill areas of the body.
5. MELT Method Foam Roller $69.99 meltmethod.com
The Iliotibial (IT) Band can be a runner’s best friend or worst enemy. The long, spindly ligament is one of the most important tissues for knee strength, however it commonly becomes inflamed during long runs. Luckily, the foam roller is the antidote to painful IT bands, as the hardened cylinder massages and then rehydrates sore hips and hammies. MELT Method’s soft body simulates a hands-on massage, and will give you plenty of pressure without the bite of cheaper Styrofoam models. The roller is latex free, which allows it to flow gently over skin.
6. Superfeet Insoles $49.95 superfeet.com
Most athletic activities begin with the feet, so it’s no surprise that overuse injuries are often tied to footwear. Improperly fit shoes can cause misalignment throughout the entire kinetic chain, from the legs to the lower back and shoulders. Superfeet’s patented insoles have become the industry leader in activity-specific corrective footwear. The company creates its insoles from a wide range of materials, from carbon fiber and memory foam to merino wool and high-impact foam. Each material corresponds with a different style of activity. Superfeet categorizes its insoles based on foot volume and shape, which ensures that even the oddest foot finds its magic slipper.
About The Author: Fred Dreier is a journalist in Denver, Colorado. He writes about a diverse range of topics including endurance sports and marketing trends. Dreier spends his free time running, cycling and skiing all along Colorado's Front Range.