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Tim Allen Gives Gifts Of Fitness

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Tim Allen is making sure you're "nice" when it comes to getting fit.
By John Morgan, Spotlight Health
With medical adviser Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.

Every holiday season we suggest some of the best health gifts you can give to the loved ones in your life. This year we got a little extra help from Santa himself -- or the next best thing -- Santa Clause 2 star Tim Allen.

In fact, Allen was so helpful we came up with two lists. This one is over-flowing with coveted fitness presents. A second list we'll publish next week will bring good cheer to people with other health issues.

As jolly old St. Nick, Allen has a magical way to gain and lose weight. But if you or the people on your 'nice list' rather not continue shaking like an ever-increasing 'bowl full of jelly,' Allen explains a few of his fitness gift ideas. 

"First, my weight loss IS magic and I'm not allowed to explain it," says Allen, whose recently released Santa Clause 2 on DVD makes a great stocking stuffer for those who believe laughter is the best medicine.  "But I can tell you what I'm planning on giving this season. A gym membership and sessions with a trainer -- trainers are great for friends who need that initial motivational push."

Motivation is exactly what Americans need. Far too many party-goers and football-bowl game couch potatoes will continue to pack on even more pounds during the holidays. With excess weight gain definitively linked to heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes, now is the perfect time to jump-start that special someone's fitness program.

Allen, now 50 and fit, stays trim himself without special effects but in fact uses a trainer to supervise his workouts.

"I do have a personal trainer who keeps me in shape with a combination of weights and cardio," Allen states. "I personally think true results come from consistency, discipline and a healthy fear of the actual trainer."

Fitness guru to the stars Debbie Rocker believes that trainers are ideal for people who truly want to improve their fitness, reshape their bodies and feel healthier.

"It seems like we're smarter and fatter every year," Rocker notes. "What is lacking is not technology and tools. It's motivation. People need to find someone who speaks their language and strikes a chord in them to exercise. When you train with a coach, you learn to focus and this helps people avoid injury and get better results."

Santa's helpers

While a portly physique lends itself to the archetypal image of Santa Claus, when it comes to fitness, the best and most economical holiday token of love is easily the revolutionary new fitness book - ProBodX - available for under $20.

Another excellent, low impact workout with both upper and lower body benefits is rowing. And you don't need water or a person with a megaphone yelling at you. The Concept 2 roweris now in its fourth generation and is smoother and quieter than ever before. At $850, this elegant machine provides the single best cardiovascular workout you can get from a piece of exercise equipment. If this gift doesn't get your heart pumping faster, be sure to read Part 2 of the gift guide for tips on heart scans.

According to orthopedic surgeon Robert Klapper at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, walking with weights is "one of the best nurturing exercises available." But walking with hand barbells or strapping on ankle weights can disrupt one's gait and cause injury. By transforming walking into a better weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise, the $80 Walkvest is an excellent gift to promote weight loss, strengthen the heart and improve bone density.

And to insure your workouts create optimal cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits, the Mio cardio-watch is stylish, light-weight, comfortable and easy-to-use. At only $119-$149 it's also easy on Santa's wallet and is a lot more economical than hiring your own personal coxswain for your rowing machine. "I use the Mio because it is a simple, one item monitor," says Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer and NBC's Today show fitness correspondent. "It allows you to check how you are doing...calories and heart rate, which can be a big motivator for improving you health and fitness level."

Few refute that purposeful exercise-walking is beneficial, and golf is yet another opportunity for low-impact, recreational fitness. While it's been said that 'golf is a good walk spoiled,' with the Nike Air Dual Strap System the walk will be a lot more comfortable. This $40 backpack-like harness attaches to a golf bag and incorporates small air bags to distribute the weight over a wider area, relieving tension on the shoulder joints and spine.

Golf is also a fun way for the family, and especially kids, to enjoy outside exercise in a safe environment. Tiger Woods has added a few new clubs to the Nike Golf Learning System he introduced for kids last holiday season -- a 3-wood (SRP: $59.99) and a 7-iron (SRP: $49.99).

Shredding pounds

Keeping exercise fun is embodied in the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing. More and more fitness experts are recognizing the exceptional total body workout surfing provides. "Surfing is a fantastic workout because you are constantly exercising on unstable planes which force you to engage your entire body not just a few major muscle groups," says Edythe Heus, fitness author and New York Chiropractic College graduate.

Foam boards from Surftech SofTopsare making wave-riding a lot safer for grommets. A great resource for learning about surfing before your lesson is Matt Warshaw's indispensable tome -Encyclopedia of Surfing or some inspirational surfing DVDs like Shelter and The Campaign from Poor Specimen Productions .

And for those who plan to 'surf' on the snow, Santa has a sleigh full of choices when it comes to snowboarding safety gear. Expensive lines like Giroare joined by Acid Helmets which offers one of the highest quality helmets for a truly modest price ($50). For only $18, Dakine wrist guards will almost certainly prevent a trip to the emergency room for the most common snowboard injury on the slopes - a broken wrist.

While most boarders are less concerned about their looks than their skiing cousins, they do place a premium on good visibility. Oakleyprovides unmatched quality in their Wisdom ($95-$135) and A-frame ($85-$125) goggles which exceed the American National Standards Institute specifications for optical quality and protection. Made from a patented lens material called Plutonite, Oakley goggles screen out 100% of UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light.  

And with all these new fitness 'toys' to help burn calories and keep the heart healthy, another hi-tech gadget will help keep you properly motivated.

Tanita body fat monitor & scale allow you to determine how much fat you're burning using bioelectrical impedance analysis. This is important when building muscle because muscle weighs more than fat so your weight can actually increase even though you're more fit. Tanita's nicely-styled body fat analyzer ($49-159) can eliminate a demoralizing trip to a regular scale.

At the risk of looking a gift horse in the mouth, before beginning any exercise program, it is important to remember to consult with your physician first. If you're still in need of some healthy gift ideas, in Part 2 of our annual guide, Allen and his elves will recommend products designed to promote health rather fitness.

Spotlight Health is the leading creator of celebrity-featured health-issue awareness campaigns, connecting consumers with impassioned celebrities whose personal health battles can open eyes, dispel myths and change lives. Spotlight Health helps sufferers and caregivers meet the challenges of difficult health circumstances with understandable, in-depth medical information, compassionate support and the inspiration needed to make informed healthcare choices.

Created: 12/13/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.

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