Holiday Gift Guide: Health and Fitness Products

November 17, 2016

by Peter Reese
Holiday Gift Guide: Health and Fitness Products

For those who don’t take life lying down, Active Junky’s got gift ideas worth a standing ovation. And with benefits that mean longer powder days, cross-country MTB rides and coastal SUP paddles. Along with fewer injuries and faster recovery times.

prAna Indigena Natural Yoga Mat

prAna Indigena Natural Yoga Mat Starting at: $56.34

Active Junky first tried this yoga mat in the mountains outside Park City, Utah. A nearby lake and distant hills resonated with this natural rubber, two-layered model. Sublime cushion with enough traction to stick your moves makes this an easy choice for a sustainable practice. The natural smell dissipates within a few classes to create a calming, supportive platform for your favorite form. A generous 78” length, 26” wide and 4mm thickness warrant Indigena’s price.

Best For: Daily practice at home or a nearby studio as the 6.1lb weight and larger rolled diameter are more challenging for travel use

The Stick Travel Stick

The Stick Travel Stick

Testers here continue to tote this 17” massage roller everywhere, with eight 1” spindles strung on the semi-rigid core. With head-to-toe rollouts possible, this shorter stick requires some agility to use on back or shoulders (not the primary zones) but arms, legs and buttocks are well within deep-digging reach. Active Junky puts this $30 portable tool high on the list of “must have” therapeutic products. The USA Cycling Team carries The Travel Stick, and we’ve been doing the same for years.

Best For: Working knots out of extremities, including blood flow at any point in a workout or activity 

Beet Performer

Beet Performer

Or in, rather, as the American Journal of Physiology (among other academic publications) flags beet juice for improved oxygen uptake capacity. The nitrates in the juice keep the O2 coming during exercise to reduce both fatigue and inflammation. Testers experimented with sipping and sucking strategies, both of which improved times by up to 7% on the Concept 2 Rower. As a 100% natural supplement, the strong taste brings a natural sweet-tart jolt to training sessions and is being used in competitive settings by collegiate and pro athletes as well. Nothing gets added. Except better performance to the outdoor competitor.

Best For: Peak training sessions, endurance paddling and riding sessions (as part of a more comprehensive hydration strategy)

VaporActive Performance Boxer Brief 6”

Offered in a worthwhile 2-pack, this box brief puts a proprietary, patented form of evaporative cooling where it counts during team and individual sports. With enough support to take some jostling and still deliver full-range movement, VaporActive musters 3.75 technology as the body’s natural infrared energy powers the process. While ultralight, this brief takes laundering with ease and carries a wide enough waistband for comfortable extended workouts and races.

Best For: Multi-sport wear in warmer environments, secondary use as travel underwear

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