It’s Father’s Day on Sunday! Though not officially designated as a US holiday until 1972, the third Sunday in June has long been the chosen day to honor fathers, grandfathers and other positive male role models.  Instead of the usual necktie or barbecuing equipment, here are some suggestions for fun, healthy gifts to celebrate the fathers and father figures in your life!

Buy him a gym membership.  A gym membership is something a lot of people want but put off because of the cost.  If Dad wants to get fit, but is reluctant to spend extra money, let him know there are a number of affordable gym and fitness club chains, with some charging as little as $10 a month for membership.  Do the research for him, pick a plan that works with his needs and schedule, and then start him off with a pre-paid membership! Consider scheduling him an appointment with a personal trainer who can offer tips on the most effective workouts as a bonus gift.

Help him sit correctly.  If Dad works a desk job, it’s likely that he’s not sitting properly, which may cause back pain and headaches.  Consider buying him an ergonomic chair so that he can get through those long days at the office comfortably and with better posture.  While some chairs are prohibitively expensive, more affordable options can be found in office supply stores like Staples or Office Max, and big box furniture stores such as IKEA.  An even less expensive option is a detachable seat cushion, which can offer back and hip support at a fraction of the cost of a chair.

Put on the coffee.  Long believed to be an indulgence best enjoyed in moderation, coffee has recently been discovered to possess a surprising number of health benefits.  Studies have shown that drinking at least two cups of coffee a day can lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Why not use that as an opportunity to buy Dad a gourmet coffee maker? Wrap it up with a bag of his favorite flavor of coffee, or even enroll him in one of many “coffee of the month” clubs, which send new flavors to members each month direct by mail.

Get him moving.  Walking is a great form of exercise, particularly for older individuals and people who are trying to ease into a fitness routine.  Give Dad a soundtrack for getting fit by gifting him with an MP3 player, and encourage him to put music on it that will motivate him.  You can even start him out by adding five or ten of his favorite songs to the player before giving it to him, or by including a gift card for iTunes or Amazon.  Another great motivating gift is a pedometer, which he can use to set daily or weekly goals for walking.

Enjoy the great outdoors.  For dads who are already fit, a great gift is a trip to a rock-climbing wall, or a day of golfing or kayaking.  Websites like Groupon and Living Social offer great deals on such outings, and many boating centers allow customers free access to kayaks or canoes during off-hours (call or check their website in advance to be certain).  Remember to make sure that Dad is healthy and physically fit enough to enjoy himself.  If not, tickets to a baseball game are a great option, as it allows him to get fresh air and sunshine without too much exertion.    

Cook him a healthy meal.  If your gift-giving budget is tight, you could try treating Dad to a healthy lunch or dinner, made by you! You can still have a barbecue as per Father’s Day tradition, but swap out the beef burgers for turkey, or even try veggie burgers with all the trimmings.  Serve frozen yogurt for dessert, or use the grill then too—pineapple and watermelon wedges are delicious after a few minutes over an open flame.

Get some stuff done around the house.  Most homeowners have some task that they’ve been putting off for weeks, perhaps fixing a storm drain or installing a new garbage disposal.  Offer to help Dad with it, or take care of the whole thing yourself, allowing him to have a much needed day of relaxation (just make sure you know what you’re doing so he doesn’t have to call in a repairman later!).  It’s a gift that works in two ways—it takes care of a chore and it shows Dad that you appreciate all that he does around the house, and in your life as well, and it probably won’t cost you more than a trip to Home Depot.

Happy Father’s Day!

Gena Radcliffe

Medex Supply Blogger

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