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?
It may seem a peculiar American vanity that men have in-boxes full of hair loss treatment offers and spend billions of dollars on hair loss treatments each year. Not so. As Gersh Kuntzman illustrates in his book Hair! Mankind's Historic Quest to End Baldness, chrome-dome anxiety has tormented us for ages. Caesar's laurel wreaths? Classic red herring, Kuntzman says.
Baldness is biblical, too -- from the Maccabees to Samson and Delilah (a story Kuntzman calls "practically a commercial for Propecia")...
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 mentally?
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 day.
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 treadmill.