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Healthy holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list

10 minute read
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Looking for a few splurge-worthy gift ideas for the special people in your life? These favorites from the Optum Store are sure to wow. Happy shopping. 

Nancy Fitzgerald

By Nancy Fitzgerald

If you’re fresh out of ideas for holiday gift giving, relax. The Optum Store has you covered. We offer a selection of just-right gifts for everyone from the weekend athlete to the beauty addict to the brand-new parent. The best part: Everything’s designed with health in mind. That means every gift you give this season will not only be a hit — but it’ll also help the people you care about live happier, healthier lives.

Holiday gifts for fitness buffs Holiday gifts for fitness buffs

Whether they go for a quick jog after work or are training for a marathon, the athletes in your life are always looking for ways to improve their game. 2 gifts they’ll love:

1. A souped-up smartwatch. Studies show that wearable fitness trackers significantly increase physical activity levels, lower blood pressure and promote weight loss. Plus, they look good and are fun to wear. You have several styles and models to choose from, depending on how seriously your giftee takes working out.

Withings Steel - HR Health & Fitness Tracking Watch, $180. Take your fitness to the next level. Track activity, sleep and heart health—in style. Keep on top of your personal goals day and night with the hybrid smartwatch that delivers a detailed overview right to the companion app. It automatically counts steps and recognizes walking, running, swimming, or sleeping. And it’s water resistant to 50 meters, with a 25-day battery life. Sleek and trendy, it lets you access your data in the app or on the web with your personal Withings account, and it syncs seamlessly with Apple Health and more than a hundred other partner apps to export or import your activity data.

Withings Steel Sport - HR Health & Fitness Tracking Watch, $200. A great choice for the more dedicated athlete. Small and light, this watch really packs a punch. Activate the workout mode right on your wrist by choosing from over 30 sports. Then hit the timer to track your duration and distance, while the Health Mate app widget displays your heart rate and total calorie expenditure for the day. The watch even monitors the quality of your slumber, recording the time it takes you to fall asleep, your sleep cycles and any nightly interruptions. The Withings Steel Sport also features automatic exercise recognition, giving you credit for all your moves, all day long. And it estimates your VO2 max—that shows you how much oxygen your body absorbs and uses during exercise, a key to improving your aerobic fitness. You’ll see trends, map your progress and get coaching to help you improve over time. Whatever your health goal, the Steel Sport will help you get there.

2. Therabody Theragun. Nothing gets rid of post-workout kinks like a therapeutic massage. But who has the time (or the money) for a daily session? That’s where the Theragun comes in. The device pounds you — in the best sense — with targeted pulses of pressure to stimulate your muscle tissue. A 2020 study from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine showed that the Theragun reduced fatigue and boosted recovery time without a reduction in performance for university student athletes.

“It’s great for weekend runners and elite college athletes,” says Chuck Yasinski, head athletic trainer at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania. “The fact that my athletes keep coming back for it tells me all I need to know about what a great tool it is.” Two models that will “knot” disappoint:

Theragun Elite, $399. Get a powerful, deep muscle treatment that’s ultra-quiet. The Theragun Elite works to melt away tension and release soreness. With an easy-to-hold ergonomic grip and a customizable speed range, you can get just the treatment you need to get back in the game fast.

Theragun Mini, $199. It’s a pocket-sized partner that combines quality muscle treatment with portability. Compact but powerful, the Mini is an agile massage device that goes wherever you do. Pack it in your gym bag to get a quick treatment right after your workout.

Holiday gifts for beauty lovers Holiday gifts for beauty lovers

Do you have a fashionista on your gift list? A cousin or pal who’s always on trend and perfectly put-together? Check out these options:

1. Withings Pulse HR, $100. Here’s proof that beauty and brains go together. The Withings Pulse HR is sleek and super smart. But it’s more than just a pretty face. Real beauty, after all, comes from the glow of good health, and this watch can help you look good from the inside out. Crafted with a premium stainless steel case and polycarbonate surface coating, its minimalist style stands up to the rigors of everyday life and your workouts. The Withings Pulse HR records all your daily activities to give you the best overview of your health while it monitors your activity. And that can make a big health difference. A 2020 study from the American College of Cardiology showed that people who wore a fitness watch took more steps daily and had lower blood pressure. A smartwatch can even boost positive emotions by making fitness more fun and help with weight loss. If you get your beauty glow from laps at the pool, you’re in luck: It’s water-resistant to 50 meters, with a battery that lasts up to 20 hours. Walk, run, swim: It even tracks the time you spend in each heart rate zone—moderate, intense, and peak—to help you level up during your workouts.

2. MDSolarSciences Daily Perfecting Moisturizer, $68. Who doesn’t love a one-and-done product? This glam gift does the work of many skin helpers, with buzzy ingredients that an in-the-know beauty lover will appreciate. First, it hydrates with ceramides, which protect that all-important outer layer. Ceramides can even help improve acne and other skin conditions, according to a 2014 review in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. This all-in-one moisturizer also helps depuff and brighten thanks to caffeine, an anti-aging antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals, which can cause lines, wrinkles and saggy skin. And, of course, the cream protects skin from the No. 1 ager — the sun — with a silky-smooth, mostly mineral-based SPF 30 that doesn’t leave a white residue. The price point won’t break your budget, but it’s still a high-end treat to delight.

This all-in-one moisturizer also helps de-puff and brighten thanks to caffeine, an anti-aging antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals, which can cause lines, wrinkles and saggy skin. And, of course, the cream protects skin from the No. 1 ager — the sun — with a silky-smooth, mostly mineral-based SPF 30 that doesn’t leave a white residue. The price point won’t break your budget, but it’s still a high-end treat to delight.

Holiday gifts for health enthusiasts Holiday gifts for health enthusiasts

We’ve all got friends who drink healthy smoothies for breakfast, munch on kale chips for stress and work hard to get — and stay — in good shape. (Perhaps that someone is you — if so, no shame in self-gifting.) For these folks, it’s all about delivering the health edge. Some choices that will do just that:

1. Withings Sleep Tracking Mat, $100. This thin pad slips under your mattress and has sensors that detect heart rate, movement and even snoring. Then it gathers all that information into a sleep report, with vital stats about the length — and the quality — of your sleep. Plus, the Withings Sleep Tracking Mat can accurately detect moderate to severe sleep apnea, according to a 2021 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Sleep apnea can cause your oxygen levels to fall and interrupt your slumber, draining your daytime energy and increasing your risk of chronic illness. The Withings sleep analyzer can give you the information you need to share with your health care provider to get the apnea treatment you might need.

2. Everlywell Sleep and Stress Test, $199. When you’re clocking enough z’s and keeping your stress level in check, you’re set up for a healthy day — and life. That makes the Everlywell Sleep and Stress Test a great holiday gift.

Checking levels of cortisol, our body’s main stress hormone, is one way to know if we’re under too much pressure. A little cortisol in short bursts is fine, but a too-high surge over time can put us at risk for heart disease, digestive issues, sleep issues, weight gain and more.

The test also detects levels of melatonin, the hormone that cues us to wake up and go to sleep. The results can offer a window into whether some sleep-routine tweaks are needed. A good night’s sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight, and it boosts your mood and brain performance. For your health-minded friend, getting a snapshot of the stress and sleep hormones — and having that all interpreted by an Everlywell-approved doctor — can help them hone their wellness goals.

But remember: At-home tests are just one component of health care. They should never replace seeing your own doctor. Be sure to make an appointment with your provider to discuss the results and make a plan of action.

3. Withings Body Wi-Fi Smart Scale, $60. Wellness goals include getting to and staying at a healthy weight. But depending on your life stage and body type, those targets can shift. The Withings Body Wi-Fi Smart Scale takes this into account. It not only gives you weight and body mass index (BMI)— a measurement of whole-body health — but it offers 3 personalized modes: pregnancy, baby and athlete. It syncs wirelessly with the Health Mate app to record and track your data so you can view trends and achieve your health goals. Bonus: You get healthy living tips on your app to help you step up your diet and fitness.

Holiday gifts for new parents Holiday gifts for new parents

New moms and dads want two things: To show everybody pictures of their baby and to get a good night’s sleep. We can’t help you with the pictures, but we can give you a couple great gift ideas that sleep-deprived parents on your list will love.

1. dpl Neck Pillow, $99. Caring for a new baby is one of the great joys of life. But it can also be a pain in the neck. Literally. New moms may lean forward awkwardly while breastfeeding, hunching their shoulders and causing pain in their upper back and neck. And carrying a little one all day can leave new parents with aches that make it tough to fall asleep.

Pamper the new mom and dad on your gift list with a dpl Neck Pillow for pain relief. It uses infrared and red-light therapy to penetrate deep into joints and soft tissue for powerful, quick pain relief — and a bit of luxurious relaxation. Infrared light therapy works below the skin’s surface, targeting pain at the source.

2. Therabody Wave Roller, $149. Caring for a baby is like running a marathon, so help those new moms and dads on your list stay the course with the Therabody Wave Roller. It combines vibration therapy and an innovative wave texture to deliver a powerful, efficient way to soothe the aching muscles and tense shoulders. Many parents experience these pains in the early days from late nights bouncing the baby, doing endless loads of laundry and standing at the sink washing bottles.

Studies show that vibrating wave rollers can help you increase your range of motion in the hips and knees and reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The Wave Roller features a full-body rolling experience that’s Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to connect to the Therabody app for personalized routines so that you can release tension and increase mobility where you need it most.

Withings smartwatches and Theragun massagers
For more gift ideas, check out all our selections at Optum Store

Additional sources
Trackers and health benefits:
JMIR Publications. 2019. The Use of Wearable Activity Trackers Among Older Adults: Focus Group Study of Tracker Perceptions, Motivators, and Barriers in the Maintenance Stage of Behavior Change.
Tracking steps and blood pressure: American College of Cardiology. 2020. “Step it Up: Higher Daily Step Counts Linked with Lower Blood Pressure.”
Massage device and range of motion and performance: Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2020. Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles' Range of Motion and Performance
Withings Sleep tracker study: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2021. “Validation of the Withings Sleep Analyzer, an Under-the-Mattress Device for the Detection of Moderate-severe Sleep Apnea Syndrome”
Sleep apnea: Mayo Clinic. Sleep Apnea.
Ceramides: Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2014. “Moisturizers and Ceramide-containing Moisturizers May Offer Concomitant Therapy with Benefits”
Red-light therapy and pain: European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2017. Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy on Pain in Patients with Musculotoskeletal Disorders
Pain Research & Management. 2006. “Infrared Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain.”
Vibrating roller effects: Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 2018. “Effects of Vibration and Non-Vibration Foam Rolling on Recovery after Exercise with Induced Muscle Damage.”