Dads are notoriously tough to shop for. They’re not all that great at dropping hints, the way moms do, and if you ask what your dad might want or need for Father’s Day, he’ll likely say, "Nothing" or "Don’t spend your money" or "I just want to be with you."
Which basically means, "You’re on your own, kiddo."
Frustrating, yes, but it also creates a golden opportunity to do something good for Dad.
We know fathers sometimes need a push when it comes to looking out for their health. In a 2016 survey by the Cleveland Clinic, 22 percent of men said they don’t talk about health problems with anyone — friends or family. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have issues or that they couldn’t use some advice or attention.
That makes Father’s Day (June 17) an excellent time to slip a little wellness into Dad’s life.
Here are 10 gifts that could get your dad on a healthier track with his fitness, diet and more.
Title Boxing Intensity Punching Bags
Starting at $99.99 at titleboxing.com
Dad wants to be the rock of the family, so he’ll likely never admit to feeling anxious or worried about work or money or you. But that stoicism can take a toll on his body. The behaviors some men use to mask or manage their stress — overeating, drinking, smoking or sitting on the couch playing video games — can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and a weakened immune system. Hitting a heavy bag will help Dad blow off some steam, and it’s a great cardio and strength workout. You’ll also want to pick up some hand wraps and heavy bag gloves so Dad doesn’t beat up his hands, just the bag.
On sale now for $29 to $54 at thecompanystore.com
If Dad isn’t getting enough sleep (most men need seven to nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation), a new pillow could help. Even if his looks okay from the outside, the filling inside may have broken down over time. And just like an aging mattress, an old pillow can hide a buildup of dead skin, body oils, sweat, dust mites and even bacteria. Depending on the original quality, most experts recommend replacing a pillow every six months to two years. Look for one that will support Dad’s neck and upper back. The Company Store’s LoftAIRE pillow is hypoallergenic; comes in soft, medium, firm and extra-firm densities; and is machine washable. (Remind Dad to wash his pillow at least twice a year — more often if he has oily skin or hair.)
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
$299 at bowflex.com, also available at area Dick’s Sporting Goods stores; go to dickssportinggoods.com to check availability
Does your pop have a "dad bod"? Lifting weights increases lean body mass, which helps burn calories all day long and can keep those love handles in check. Maybe your dad wants to add a strength workout to his routine, but he doesn’t know where to put all the weights. Using adjustable dumbbells minimizes the mess. The dial on Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells takes them from 5 to 52?˝ pounds in 2?˝-pound increments, so Dad can easily change things up from one exercise to the next. (Bonus: The whole family can use them, too!) He’ll also get the SelectTech App for free trainer-led workouts and motivation.
Fifth Annual Richard’s Father’s Day Family Walk/Jog
$25 per person through June 16, $30 on race day at richardsrunforlife.org. Children younger than 12 are free, but must register with a parent or guardian.
Sign up for the Richard’s Father’s Day Family Walk/Jog and you’ll have a gift with double-duty beauty: It’s a fun event that will get the family moving. You can run or walk a mile, or do a full 5K on a course that starts and ends at Ulele restaurant and showcases the Tampa Riverwalk. Race founder Richard Gonzmart started the event to raise awareness for men’s health and prostate cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. All race revenue goes to prostate cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center. Sign-in and bib pickup start at 7 a.m. June 17 at 1810 N Highland Ave. in Tampa Heights.
Beast Injector from Grill Beast
$29.97 at grillbeast.com
If Dad cut back on his grilling exploits a few years ago because of concerns about cancer risks, he may not know about the benefits of a good marinade. Researchers at Kansas State University found that the antioxidants in some marinades can help decrease the carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines) that form when foods are cooked at high temperatures. Injecting the marinade right into the meat can make it even more flavorful and tender, eliminating the need for more salt. (Just be sure the marinade you use is low in sodium to get those benefits.) You can give your dad the Beast Injector on its own, or prepare a whole marinade kit with staples such as honey, olive oil, cilantro and rosemary.
Men’s Health magazine
$20 for a buy-one-gift-one subscription or $20 for a two-year subscription at menshealth.com
Maybe Dad just needs or wants a little inspiration. If so, you can bet he’ll find it in the pages of Men’s Health magazine, which cleverly packages fitness, nutrition, fashion, relationship and physical and mental health news in a way that’s both motivational and informational.
EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale
$24.95 at eatsmartproducts.com
Weight-management experts disagree on how often Dad should weigh himself — daily, weekly or monthly. But all agree he should hop on the scale regularly if he wants to get to or maintain a healthy weight. The best scale is the one he’ll actually use — and that means it should be easy to access and easy to read. The highly rated EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale With Extra Large Lighted Display fits the bill; all Dad has to do is step on and in seconds he’ll have a readout on the oversized LCD display. The platform is only 12 by 13 inches, so it isn’t a space hog, but big men needn’t fear — it can handle up to 400 pounds.
Massage Envy E-Gift Card
$75, $100, $150 or a custom amount at massageenvy.com
Moms aren’t the only ones who like to be pampered. Studies show a massage can help Dad reduce stress, pain or muscle tension (so it’s great for the workaholic or the weekend warrior). He can choose from trigger point, Swedish, deep tissue or sports massage, whatever suits his needs. Or he might opt for a facial, or skin-care products he can use at home. At bay area Massage Envy locations, a $75 gift card typically covers a 60-minute introductory massage or facial session, including gratuity. You can have the e-gift card delivered to Dad’s email on any date you choose.
Miracle-Gro 48-inch by 48-inch Unfinished/Natural Cedar Raised Garden Bed
$50 at lowes.com and area Lowe’s stores (check website for availability), also sold in larger sizes at homedepot.com and walmart.com
There’s nothing better for Dad than fresh fruits and veggies from the garden — they taste great and they have more nutrients. With the right setup, it’s possible to grow different crops just about any time of year here in Florida — from tomatoes and peppers to beans, broccoli and peas. You can DIY a raised bed (you’ll find plenty of plans and suggested materials online) or get a little head start with a raised bed kit. This easy-to-assemble Miracle-Gro raised bed is made of rot- and insect-resistant cedar, so it should last through several seasons. As a bonus, Dad will get some exercise tending his produce. And gardening is something you can do together.
Adopt a Dog or Cat
Fees vary by location, size and breed; check with local shelters (SPCA, Humane Society, Animal Services, etc.).
Animal lovers have been touting the benefits of pet ownership for years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a pet around can lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. A pet can be a great companion, as well, and if a lot of walking and ball-tossing is involved, Dad is sure to increase the amount of exercise he’s getting. Still, this is a tricky one. You shouldn’t get a pet for Dad unless you’re absolutely certain it’s okay with him — and Mom. If they’re both okay with the idea, take your time and do your homework before you choose. Take them along when you visit area shelters, and keep in mind this is a commitment that could last a decade or more.
Contact Kim Franke-Folstad at [email protected]