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Father's Day Health and Fitness Gifts

A good Father's Day gift can encourage good health -- and still be fun too.

Gadgets, and Odds and Ends

"If your dad's already a weekend athlete, an MP3 player can be a great thing," says Brott. It may not seem like a Father's Day gift that obviously encourages fitness, but MP3 players are ideal for exercising (as anyone who has tried to work out with a stuttering, skipping CD player can tell you). They're not hard to use, as long as your father isn't phobic of technology. Brott also recommends getting your dad a subscription or a gift certificate to iTunes or another web site where he can download music.

 

If your father travels a lot, think of some things that will help him live more comfortably on the road. For instance, consider a sound machine. Many are sold as combination travel alarm clocks that will allow your dad to fall asleep each night to soothing digitally recorded wind chimes or waterfalls, no matter what godforsaken motel he's staying in. Along similar lines, think about a sleep mask or slippers as a Father's Day gift -- things that can make him feel calm or at home when he isn't.

 

Many older men wind up needing to wear glasses permanently. An unfortunate side effect is that many stop bothering with sunglasses, since they just can't see well with their old pair anymore. So to make bright summer days easier on your dad -- and to protect his eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays -- treat him to the pair of prescription sunglasses that he'd never buy himself.

 

As men get older, some come to feel like that they've kept important aspects of their personality secret from everyone, says Reed Schimmelfing, MSW, a therapist practicing in Northampton, Mass.

 

"A lot of guys just have never been comfortable talking about anything deeper than baseball," says Schimmelfing, who specializes in treating men and boys. "But once they reach a certain age, they start wanting to express some of these things they've kept hidden." So Schimmelfing suggests that an ideal Father's Day gift could be a blank book or journal. Ask your dad to fill it.

Spending Time Together

Brott and Schimmelfing both urge people to think outside of the usual Father's Day mind-set. You don't have to follow the herd of early June shoppers to the mall. Instead, spending some time with your dad could be the best and healthiest gift you could give.

 

"Maybe this sounds like I'm trying to be cheap," says Brott, "but I think it's nice to give a gift that's something you can do together, rather than a gift that's just for him. It stresses the connection between a father and his child, which is what Father's Day is supposed to be about."

 

"Buy him a ticket to a special event, like a baseball game or a Bruce Springsteen concert," says Rob Okun, a psychotherapist and co-director of the 22-year-old Men's Resource Center in Amherst, Mass. But make sure you take care of the details. "He shouldn't have to drive, park, or figure anything out," Okun says.

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