Four Odd Fitness and Health Gifts for Christmas

I have four somewhat odd fitness and health gadgets you may want to give a loved one for Christmas.  They are the chin-up/dips bar, the Gua Sha knife, the neck weight, and the respiratory muscle builder.  I use two already.  I’m ordering the chin-up device at the end of the month, and I want to research further before buying the respiratory muscle strengthener.

First, the chin-up/dips bar.

I’ve already given up on bodybuilding, as I’ve heard that the culture has a lot of drug abuse, which can start with steroids and extend even to illegal drugs.  So, I’m instead turning my sights on strength and cardio training.  So, the next addition to my workouts is a chin-up and dips bar.  And wait until you see the benefits!

I’m getting this specific device for Christmas.  A Stampede booth hosted a challenge to see who could hang from a bar for two minutes.  And I know only one person who can hang from a bar for one minute and 45 seconds—and he’s super fit.  So, my goal is to hang for fifteen seconds at first and, within two months, for one minute and 30 seconds.

I would like you to consider the benefits of hanging from a bar, especially if you suffer back or shoulder pain:

It stretches the spine.  If you have spinal pain, then know that hanging from a bar decompresses the spine.  I have a beloved friend who is going for back surgery.  I wish she would first speak with a sports doctor to assess the value of bar hanging as an alternative therapy.  And I’m all for natural cures.  I would never see a chiropractor, especially after hearing stories of patients ending up with paralysis from chiropractic treatments.  But bar hanging seems like an ideal solution.

It stretches and strengthens the shoulders.  If you have shoulder pain, consider talking to your doctor about hanging from a bar to correct your concern.  And if you want strong shoulders, called “deltoids,” then bar hanging is an option.  Specifically, shoulder strength will help you with any overhead or forward pushing.

It also strengthens the grip.  Grip strength is an indicator of longevity.  For example, I recently failed to twist the lid off my organic sauerkraut jars.  Thanks to the bar hang, I’ll be able to pop those lids off like bottle caps in a few months.

Second, the neck device.

You want this device if your gangbusters on working out already.  I put this ten-pound kettlebell on the chain and put the helmet on my head.  I then did thirty yeses—just nodding yes, then paused, and repeated for three sets.  On the third set, my neck became painful, and I had to take a three-week holiday from neck exercises.  The neck device does, however, make you look like a cool cyborg if that’s a goal in the gym.  But I’d only recommend this gift to someone who already has a thick neck and spends a lot of time in the gym.  I might get a five-pound kettlebell and try again.  I’d recommend starting with no weights and building up slowly.

Third, the respiratory device

Here is an even better model if you want to exercise simultaneously.  I have yet to try this, but I’m tempted.  It strengthens the breathing muscles in your body.  As a result, it’s beneficial for asthma sufferers and for athletes.  For example, it strengthens athletes’ ability to breathe during high-intensity aerobics.  It works because you breathe through a device restricting the oxygen flow into your lungs, so you must breathe harder, strengthening your respiratory muscles.  At least, that’s how I understand it.  But would meditation or high-intensity cardio generate a similar benefit?

Fourth, the Gua Sha knife. 

I own one of these and receive many neck-and-back Gua Shas.  It’s basically like spreading butter on your body with a knife.  It causes your flesh to grow pink or even red.  It looks scary but feels like a massage.  I bought my friend a Gua Sha knife for Christmas because she has lupus, and the Gus Sha knife benefits the disease.  That’s because it causes new, healthy muscle tissue to grow.  (It’s also excellent for arthritic joints.) But it’s essential to take a course on Gua Sha before trying it out.  There are some excellent Gua Sha courses on Udemy.  Physiotherapists do Gua Sha, but they call them Graston knivesAnd these physiotherapists can charge around $60 for fifteen minutes of treatment.

If I had the privilege to buy you a Christmas gift, which of the above would you most want if any? A simple yoga or even a chair yoga class (for those with primarily upper body mobility) might instead appeal to you.  No matter what you choose, exercising gets more exciting as you grow fitter.  And the health benefits you’ll reap will astonish you.

With the new year approaching, it’s time to consider taking your body to peak physical fitness.  After all, you’ve got unlimited potential.  And here is an opportunity to realize more of what makes you eternally powerful.  And as a final secret, exercise in any form can help you triumph over life’s darkest moments.

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