Give Healthful Memberships

These gifts keep on giving all year

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

You can support the good health of the health buffs on your list with a yearlong membership.

These kinds of gifts will definitely get used — unlike yet another tchotchke or sweater — and “you can help a friend or loved one reach their wellness goals,” said Kerri Howell, certified personal trainer and owner of The Hourglass Mom in the Rochester area.

Howell suggested membership with a meal kit service. These companies deliver the prepared, measured elements to make a meal, but the recipient does the mixing and cooking. In addition to saving time, meal prep packages also help people learn how to cook for themselves, which can aid in weight loss and improving produce intake. Most meal kit companies include options such as Mediterranean, keto, vegetarian, low-fat or other health-conscious meals to accommodate any preferred eating plan.

Howell also suggested subscribing to Instacart or other grocery delivery service.

“Think outside the box; this can help make their food shopping even easier,” she said.

Selecting a variety of produce items for regular delivery can especially help busy families or older adults who struggle to do weekly grocery shopping for perishable items. It also keeps fresh produce in the kitchen: a big plus for people who want to eat right.

Fitness subscriptions can also help people who want to stay healthy. Of course, Jean Sica, tai chi and mindful movement instructor in Rochester, suggested membership in a tai chi center.

“When people think of health memberships, they tend to think of gyms or fitness centers, but I would suggest being more creative in one’s thinking when it comes to healthful memberships,” she said. “But I also believe that these practices, such as tai chi, yoga, qigong, and lian gong with their slow-moving, stretching-type health practices are as vital as cardio and strength training and complement them.”

These practices have been linked with stress reduction and tend to be gentle on the joints. Many fitness minded people like trying new activities and a gift certificate for a class may be just the motivation to branch out. Consider lessons for boxing, dancing or martial arts.

Sica also recommended “membership to one of these new stretching labs cropping up around town.”

StretchLab ( provides assisted stretching to clients. Even some people who are physically active do not stretch as much as they should to stay limber and to excel at their fitness endeavors, activities or sports. Stretching is also said to help improve range of motion and reduce pain for some participants.

Good health also relies upon rest and relaxation, but most people take little time for self-care.

“How about getting someone a gift certificate good for several visits to a massage therapist or maybe several acupressure or acupuncture visits?” Sica suggested. “For the adventurous, how about several visits to a float tank center?”

These modalities can help induce a sense of deep relaxation.