The Gift of Health: Part 2 — Professional Help, Getting in the Game

VERO BEACH — In Part 1 of this article on health and fitness-related gifts for Christmas and Hannukah, we offered suggestions on the latest gadgets and gear for the runner, cyclist or exercise enthusiast in the family.

Today, we suggest helping fund a loved ones’ “professional help” to aid in their pursuit of good health in the New Year and tips for helping friends and family “get into the game.”

Professional Help

The services of a personal trainer or fitness instructor can help your loved one get the most out of their workout time and energy, and if a lack of discipline in getting to the gym is a problem, knowing you have an appointment with the trainer can be a real motivator to get there and get going.

All major fitness centers in the Vero Beach area such as Christi’s Family Fitness on Old Dixie Highway have personal trainers on staff who are available by the hour to work with members on a custom plan to meet their health and fitness goals.

The major country clubs with fitness centers also either have personal trainers on staff or can refer members to highly recommended trainers who can work with members at the club or in their home gyms.

Services for these professionals range from $40 to $75 per hour and up. Most clients meet with their trainer two to four times per week.

Funding a week or a month of personal training is a wonderful holiday gift. Making a present of 12 sessions of personal training could be a creative way to celebrate the “Twelve days of Christmas” with a loved one who is working hard for better health.

Several local fitness clubs and trainers also offer intense group programs called “boot camps” to provide the guidance and accountability of working with a professional trainer without all the expense. The camaraderie and opportunity to make new friends is an added benefit of these programs.

Longevity Fitness and Longevity Max offer their brand of BCx boot camps. The sessions incorporate military and fitness boot camp strategies, sports conditioning, plyometrics, resistance training, power yoga, kickboxing, obstacle training and other activities to mix up the workout.

Depending on the duration, these boot camps cost $250 to $350 and have discounts for repeat campers. Longevity has also announced that it plans to offer a special BCx Limited boot camp designed to offer people with some kind of limitation due to age, weight or injury a safe way to get in shape.

Despite the health benefits and the promise of quick results when working toward a hard, lean body, running, cycling and boot camp are not for everyone.

The traditionalist in the family may prefer something like Pilates over some form of exercise that is all the rage.

Pilates Vero Beach at Royal Palm Pointe offers “Authentic Pilates Equipment Training” via individual sessions with a trainer for $70 to $80 per hour and semi-private sessions for $40 to $50 per hour.

In order to get up off the couch, some folks need to be motivated by great music and the sensual lure and mystery of the dance floor. If dancing is more the speed and style of the people on your shopping list, you are in luck.

Vero Beach offers some great options for dance classes for fun and fitness, from ballroom to Zumba to swing and belly dance. Royal Ballroom on U.S. 1 in the KMart Plaza and the 14th Avenue Dance Studio both have packed schedules with classes for singles and couples of every ability level.

Group classes and lessons range from $10 to $25 in most cases, with individual dance lessons ranging from about $60 to $100 per hour and up. Lessons and classes are usually available in a package deal.

Getting in the Game

Florida is synonymous with golf and tennis because the climate affords year-round play. Tennis gives the player not only a strategic challenge but a great cardiovascular workout. Golf provides a chance to get out into the fresh air to drive away stress and improve muscle tone.

If the course is walked, golf’s benefits encompass all of those wonderful fitness perks of walking as well, and it’s a way to stay active and fit long after retirement.

The selection of golf and tennis equipments, gadgets, accessories and fashion apparel is nearly endless and provides ample opportunities to delight the golf or tennis addict — or even the occasional player – with goodies to make them look and play better.

Unless your resident golfer has been talking in his or her sleep about that certain driver or hybrid on the wish list, golf clubs are a tricky thing to buy as a present. Often customized for the golfer’s stature and swing, these would best be the realm of something given as a gift certificate. A decent set of clubs ranges from $600 to $800 and up, with a good pre-made starter set going for $300 to $400.

In addition to the excellent golf pro shops on site at our local golf courses, Golf Roundup on Miracle Mile has a good selection and knowledgeable staff to help settle on an appropriate gift for the gentleman or lady golfer.

Water aerobics and swimming are also great, year-round activities which are not only excellent for health and wellness, but apparently for a long life.

The American Association of Retired Persons published last year that “New research shows that swimmers live longer than walkers and runners. And not just a little bit longer, either. In a study of more than 40,000 men ages 20 to 90 who were followed for 32 years, swimmers were 50 percent less likely to die during the study period than were walkers or runners.”

Swimming is also a low-impact activity, meaning that it doesn’t place strain on the joints, so it’s great for people who suffer from any kind of arthritis.

If you’re looking for swimwear or all-around sportswear that can be worn for a variety of activities, Nancy Cook at the Twig shop on Ocean Drive has a wide variety of ladies’ swimsuits for everything from lounging and wading to serious swimming. She also carries leggings and other exercise apparel for the active lifestyle.

“The main thing for exercise is comfort,” Cook said. “If you want to look good while you’re working out to feel good, you can get that at the Twig.”Speaking of comfort, keep an eye out for Part 3 of this article on Sunday, focusing on rest and relaxation and looking good, feeling good.

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