The Gifts That Keep Giving

Americans spend 20 percent of their total annual retail spending during the winter holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. So you’re not alone in searching for that one perfect gift. Some gifts are pricey, some are unique; others are practical, but the best gifts by far are the ones that keep on giving. Like those that support a healthy lifestyle.

To help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, the experts of Gwinnett Medical Center share their advice on how you can gift with health in mind!

Garmin GPS Running Watch

Whether you’re an avid runner or just starting, this watch is a must-have for any running program. The ease of use, accuracy and functionality make a great way to track your run, set the proper pace for your goals, measure your progress and keep you motivated. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, styles and with different features. 

According to Becky Thompson, running and fitness specialist with GMC’s Sports Medicine program the Garmin watches are her favorite pro tools.

“As an avid runner, I’ve tried out many different tools designed with the runner in mind and I have to say that I can’t live without my GPS watch,” says Thompson. “I have a Garmin and I love it. This brand is easy to use and extremely accurate with distance. The instant pace function is helpful during a race, as it helps me gauge my effort level.”

Exercise Ball

As an exercise specialist at GMC’s Center for Weight Management, April Alexander is an expert at creating sustainable and effective exercise programs for individuals at all exercise levels. One of her favorite tools to use personally and professionally is an exercise ball. “They’re great for so many things,” says Alexander.

Using an exercise ball is a great way to make workouts more versatile and enjoyable. “It can be used instead of a bench for at-home workouts, it’s the perfect tool for a myriad of different exercises,” adds Alexander. With an exercise ball, you are strengthening and stretching your complete body, which helps to improve core strength and overall balance, “Just sitting on it develops better core stability” says Alexander.

Brain Teaser Book

Puzzle books are often thought of as gifts for kids, but they can be just as fun for adults, too. Just as we exercise to keep our bodies healthy, it’s important to exercise the brain to keep it sharp.

“It’s important to challenge your brain regularly to keep it healthy and strong,” says Susan Gaunt, Clinical Nurse Specialist at GMC’s Center for Neuroscience.  “A brain teaser, crossword puzzle, Sudoku or even an old-fashioned DIY puzzle, are all great ways to make your brain sweat in a good way. These games test your problem-solving skills and help to keep your brain healthy.”

Fitbit or other activity tracker

These activity tracking gadgets are all the rage. You can buy one that clips on your shirt, or one worn as a wristband or watch. They come in all colors, sizes and from a variety of manufacturers, so there are near endless options. They also come with a myriad of features depending on which make and model you choose. Some activity trackers have no monthly fee, while others provide more detailed data for a small monthly or annual fee. Read the fine print or check the website before you choose one as a gift.

You can track your calories, steps, floors climbed, miles, heart rate, sleep patterns and even the amount of water you consume daily. You can sync them to your smartphone and you can even compete with others who have them (friends, family, or if you like competition, with strangers all over the world).

“I love my Fitbit,” says Mary Bergh, MD, cardiologist with Gwinnett Medical Group. “This tool motivates me to get up, move and get in shape – all things that help you keep your heart and body in check.”


Jennifer Griffin, GMC’s Oncology Community Outreach Navigator, works with patients at the Cancer Support Center. She recommends a journal for anyone who is going on a cancer journey – patients, friends and caregivers. In fact, a journal may also be the perfect gift for anyone going through a time of change.

“There’s power in writing,” says Griffin. “It’s a personal way of expressing your innermost thoughts, the highs and lows of treatment and survivorship. Studies show that expressive writing may enhance the physical and psychological well-being, thus allowing cancer patients to report changes in their thoughts about their illness. These findings indicate that writing improved quality of life.”

A journal may not be the most expensive or fancy item out there this holiday season, but writing can be a therapeutic avenue for emotional expression. It also provides a record of time and experiences in your life, serving as a reminder of survival, strength and the will to live. Plus, there are a number of unique journals out there so you can cater to the unique style of nearly any person. And you can do the same with a fun pen or writing utensil to complete the gift.

A Mom-to-Be Gift Basket

Expecting moms can be extra fun to shop for. Not only are they excited during this special time of life, they are also very appreciative of anything that may make pregnancy more manageable and enjoyable. However, it can be difficult to pick just one thing, so Sheila Warren, RN, GMC’s Women’s Health Navigator, picks a few of the best gifts for expecting moms that are not only fun, but also health-filled.

Start with getting a nice pair of slide-on slippers that are supportive and have a little wiggle room as feet can become swollen. Finding comfortable footwear while pregnant can be especially difficult, so having a go-to pair of slippers makes a huge difference.

To make staying hydrated a little more fun; include a unique water bottle that is personalized to promote drinking water throughout the day. Top off the gift basket with the most important gift of all, a gift certificate for free babysitting. “This is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to an expecting mom. With a newborn baby, stress relief and taking care of oneself are never more important. Make sure she has the time to do this,” emphasizes Warren.

Health Over the Holidays

The holiday season can be exciting yet stressful time of year. To ensure that you make the most of this special time, Gwinnett Medical Center and its specialists offer you and your family peace of mind so you can focus on the important things this holiday season.

With dedicated experts, we are prepared to help you and your family with anything ranging from Bariatric Services, Cancer Care and Cardiac Services, to Neurosciences, Sports Medicine and Women’s Health


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