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Originally published Friday, December 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM

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Gifts to help loved ones stay strong and look the part

There’s plenty of fun stuff will help your friends and family make a favorite activity even better. Choose one from one of these and he or she may declare you the best gift-giver ever.


Special to The Seattle Times

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YOU KNOW it’s time to buy an athlete friend/spouse/sibling/parent a workout gift when the only thing you ever seem to hear from them is how awesome CrossFit/spin/yoga/running is. Plenty of fun stuff could make a favorite activity even better. Choose one of the following, and he or she may declare you the best gift-giver on the planet.

On the other hand, if you’re only trying to encourage someone to get fit, well, these recommendations do not come with an advisory warning.

The athlete in your life will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Kettlebell

As heavy a gift as this might seem, it’s ideal for the people who want to keep some weights at home for workouts when they don’t have time to get to the gym. Kettlebells work core and shoulder stability. They’re an especially great option for someone who has had some training on kettlebells. Get them two so they can add some lifts to their kettlebell swings. If you’re having them delivered, consider leaving a nice holiday tip for your postal worker. (A variety of prices, starting as low as $6.50; www.capbarbell.com; www.gofit.net; www.amazon.com; www.big5sportinggoods.com )

Jump rope

Anybody out there want to master double unders? This isn’t a gift just for Crossfitters; a jump rope is a great way to support grand fitness plans, especially for people who travel a lot and don’t have much extra time to suss out workout options on the road. ($8.49 and up; www.roguefitness.com/jump-ropes.php)

XTenex Elastic Shoelaces

The triathletes in my life tell me these elastic laces are a lifesaver; I had to watch a video to figure out exactly how these babies work. The stretchy laces are an affordable option that also could upgrade your athlete’s life. These laces turn your tennis shoes into slip-ons and in addition to speeding up race transitions, they are fun for kids. ($14.95; www.xtenex.com)

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

This monitor calibrates based on gender, age and weight to give you an accurate count of calories being burned no matter what exercise you’re doing. Your athlete will be relieved to be able to record all that time spent getting — and staying — fit! ($99.95; www.polar.com)

Freeman Jacket

If your athlete is more concerned about looking good and/or staying dry than with working out, check out this perfectly Northwest jacket. Local couple Scott and Brittany Freeman are the designers behind this jacket made in Seattle. It has a waterproof shell and soft plaid flannel lining, cozy and ideal for your favorite dude. ($299; http://freemanseattle.com/products/the-freeman)

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: papercraneyoga@gmail.com.



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