A good Father's Day gift can encourage good health -- and still be fun too.
Over the years, the Father's Day gift has become synonymous
with the impersonal and the uninspiring -- the tie, the socks, the bottle of
cheap aftershave to add to the unopened collection maturing beneath the
bathroom sink. So come June, every American with a father who wants to do
something different traipses through the mall and struggles to come up with a
new answer to the annual question: What can I get my dad for Father's Day that
is not a tie, nor socks, nor aftershave?
My father lived with me and my family during the last two years of his life
while he sank ever deeper into Alzheimer’s disease.
His behavior was frequently bizarre. He might emerge from his bedroom with
three of my son’s baseball caps piled on top of his head but wearing no pants.
When trying to participate in a conversation, he might blurt out passionate
pronouncements that made no sense at all. “Ya see, the individualism is
something that’s not already formed,” he would bellow. “You gotta...
Well, why not give him a healthy Father's Day gift this year?
What about something that might make him feel better, either physically or
Now, this isn't as dreary as it might sound. We're not talking
about a home defibrillator, a year's supply of cholesterol-lowering statins, or
a subscription to the Organic Sprout of the Month Club. A healthy gift doesn't
have to be something that produces a feeble smile from your dad -- and a
frantic hope that you'll give him the receipt so he can return it the next
Plenty of Father's Day gifts can be fun but also encourage a
healthy lifestyle. Here are a few ideas.
Obviously, getting some physical activity is good for people of
any age, so use your Father's Day gift to encourage your dad to get moving.
Even if he's fallen out of the habit of exercising regularly, a new piece of
equipment might be just the thing to inspire your father to start up again.
Think about getting him back onto the tennis court with a new
racket or onto the golf course with a new set of clubs. Something as simple as
a new basketball hoop in the driveway might make him almost as happy now as it
did when he was 10. Marcus J. Goldman, MD, recommends a pitch-back net for guys
who want to do some practice in the backyard.
But what if your dad isn't quite the sporty type and you still
want to encourage him to get some exercise?
"Think about giving your dad a few sessions at the gym with
a personal trainer," says Armin Brott, author of numerous books about
fatherhood including, "The New Father: a Dad's Guide to the First Year"
and "Father for Life". A trainer might help your father learn about the
benefits of fitness, and perhaps help him figure out a kind of exercise that
he'll enjoy. Or if your dad is more of a homebody and reluctant to trek to the
fitness club -- and you've got some siblings willing to chip in -- think about
fitting up his basement with some new equipment, like a stationary bike or
An adjustable workout bench can also be a great Father's Day
gift, and they are not only for guys keen on going shirtless at the beach.
Strength training helps people stay healthy, especially as they get older. It
allows seniors to stay more mobile and independent, and their increased agility
reduces the risk of dangerous falls.