Fitness gifting: Silver bells, kettle bells

Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:39am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Treadmills under the tree.

Fitness-related holiday gifts might lack the Victorian whimsy of ten lords a-leaping or five golden rings, but they offer modern tidings of comfort and joy at several price points, industry experts say.

"Being festive, relieving stress and having fun. That's what people need now," said Christina DeGuardi, marketing manager of Crunch fitness centers. "We decided to celebrate the season."

So the national health club chain has decked the halls with silver trees, strung colored lights, and issued a holiday guide of gifts ranging from $25 for yoga mats and signature hoodies to $200 for high-tech calorie-tracking armbands.

"Personal training sessions are our most popular gift," DeGuardi said. "They've really taken off this year. Gym memberships also do well."

Of course there's no need to go anywhere near a gym, or even a sporting goods store, to find fitness gifts. This year you can buy a stability ball in a bookstore and a treadmill in an electronics outlet.

"It's pretty straightforward to go to where people are," said Colleen Logan, vice president of marketing for ICON Fitness, the largest manufacturer of home fitness equipment, about the new venues.

"We know people are still budgeting, so we are pleased by the solid and steady sales we are seeing in treadmills and ellipticals, especially at the price points of $599, $799 and $999," Logan said.   Continued...

<p>People participate in a Cardio Go Go class at Crunch Fitness in Los Angeles in this undated handout. REUTERS/Crunch Fitness/Handout</p>