Mike Bixler’s wife made it clear to their two grown children what they should get their dad for Father’s Day this year.
“She already told them I needed a fitness tracker,” says Bixler, 57, who lives in a retirement community an hour south of Kansas City.
He has had health issues, including two heart attacks and six neck, back and shoulder surgeries. So at this stage in life, Bixler says, “anything that can make life a little easier and help keep me moving is a good gift.”
When asked if there’s anything he wouldn’t want as a Father’s Day gift that has to do with health, he ponders for a moment.
“A room at a nursing home,” Bixler quips. “Although I would probably consider a nurse.” (Ba-da-boom.)
Father’s Day Ideas for a Healthier Dad
If you’re buying a gift for the dad in your life, you might consider the fitness tracker or a treadmill. But here are 10 other gift ideas that might help him stay healthy:
- A re-useable water bottle: A study conducted last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the average man gets just under the recommended 125 ounces of water per day. Water promotes healthy kidneys and skin and assists in digestion. It can also help in weight loss. Re-useable water bottles can run from as little as $.99 to as much as $99 for one of the “smart bottles” that connects to your smartphone and tracks hydration levels.
- A physical screening: This might not be the sexist gift, but it could help save a life, says Tom Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities in Alexandria, Va. These screenings may include a full body scan to detect early signs of cancer, prostate (PSA) test, colorectal screening, heart test, A1C blood test for diabetes or a full physical. Depending on the test, this can run from $100 to $1,000.
- A pull up and dip bar: Men lose muscle mass as they age. These bars can help build or retain muscle mass and help build strength. They can be found for $100+.
- A sit-stand desk: A great gift, especially for the dad who works from home, the sit-stand desk will allow dad to decrease sedentary time and increase energy levels. Sit-stand desks start at $129 for manual adjusting desks to $400 for electronic desks. There is also a desk that comes with a treadmill for $1,500.
- An ergonomic desk chair: If the dad in your life has back or neck issues and has trouble standing, you might consider buying him a quality ergonomic desk chair. Bixler says the ones that work best for him are fully adjustable and have lumbar and neck support. Cost: $100 to $600.
- A meal kit subscription: Chicago-based dietician Rachelle LaCroix Mallik says there are plenty of healthy meal kit options for the dad who likes to cook, but doesn’t have time or the father who wants to learn. She says there are even options for vegetarians, local and organic aficionados, as well as those with gluten-free and other special diets. Prices vary greatly by location and dietary needs but can start as low as $10 per meal.
- A good pillow: Multiple studies have shown that many of us don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes it’s due to having a pillow that doesn’t provide enough comfort. This would be a gift you’d probably need to take dad along to choose, but one he will thank you for every morning. The price for a good pillow begins at around $70+.
- Tai chi or yoga classes: Bixler says many people in his retirement lake community swears by these two ancient forms of meditation exercise. There’s good reason, as many studies have shown that these practices help reduce blood pressure, improve posture and balance and can strengthen and stretch bones and muscle, especially as we age. Costs vary greatly by location, but can start as low as $10 per week.
- A good pair of shoes: No matter if dad is into walking the mall or is still able to get out and do an advanced hike, a good pair of athletic shoes is key. Bixler says although he just walks daily, he prefers a good pair of running shoes for the support they provide his back. This is another gift you’d need dad to pick out himself, since everyone’s comfort needs are different. Price: $70+.
- Dietary supplements: Brian Mehling, an orthopedic surgeon in New York, recommends supplements such as calcium citrate and vitamin D in addition to low impact aerobics or other exercise. That combination can help decrease joint pain and increase bone density, cardiac pulmonary function and flexibility, he says. Of course, anyone beginning supplements should consult with his doctor, but if your dad already takes them, giving a gift basket supply would make a great present. Prices start as low as $15 per bottle.
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