Christmas gift guide: fitness

Australians pride themselves on being a fit, athletic, outdoorsy bunch, but the statistics on obesity and diabetes tell a different story. Anyway, summer's here (in name only, in some parts of the country) and it's a good time to fish those runners out from under the bed. Or ask for new ones from Santa. Just do … something.

Suunto Ambit GPS watch

Funny name, serious watch for the sports-loving fitness freak. The Suunto Ambit has multiple uses, employing GPS to track and log your runs, bike rides or swims. It includes information on navigation, speed, heart rate, altitude and even weather conditions – more than all but the true sports-information junkie could ever want.

How much? $549.94

Available from: Paddy Pallin

Brooks PureConnect2 runners

As we said before (pay attention!), it's summer and that brings more daylight and fewer excuses not to get out for a morning jog or an evening twilight trot. Modern-day running shoes need to be replaced regularly because all the good cushioning in the sole gets compressed, so last summer's purchase is probably due for an update. Brooks' PureConnect2 is a lightweight runner for those “who crave less shoe and more freedom”. And we all need a bit of freedom in our lives, right?

How much? $179.95

Available from: The Athlete's Foot


Fitbit Flex wireless activity and sleep wristband

Do you suspect that you actually do get a fair bit of exercise every day, running from one meeting to the next or picking up the kids from school? Prove it. Conventional pedometers seem a little ho-hum next to the Fitbit Flex, a wristband that not only tracks your steps but also distance covered and calories burned. It also taps into your sleep patterns and silently wakes you in the morning. You can set goals and track your progress, and it's waterproof so you never need take it off.

How much? $129.95

Available from: Fitbit and Harvey Norman

Adrenalin gift vouchers

We don't normally advocate the giving of vouchers, but neither do we suggest gift-wrapping a parachute or a V8 supercar and attempting to fit them under the Christmas tree. In that case, some Adrenalin cash could be just the ticket for that active and up-for-anything yet hard-to-buy-for person. Other ideas include helicopter or jet fighter joyflights, or even a “jet pack experience”, whatever that is. Most activities are offered in or near major capital cities.

How much? Vouchers are available for any Adrenalin experience, prices vary based on the activity.

Available from: Adrenalin

Icebreaker Anatomica boxers

It's all very well and good to look fabulous on the outside with the latest activity-specific clothing, but you need to be comfortable, too – especially if you're doing the hard yards. Icebreaker's Anatomica boxers are made from lightweight “Bodyfit 150” fabric and have a satin jacquard waistband and “a closed contoured pouch”. Er, right on. What more could you ask for in a pair of jocks?

How much? $44.95

Available from: Icebreaker

Bose SIE2i sports headphones

Conventional earbuds don't really cut it when you're pushing to the limits, which is why Bose came up with a sports-specific design that will stay firmly in your ear even when you're pressing on. They're sweat and weather-resistant, include a button for toggling songs or taking calls, and deliver the sound quality that has made Bose a household name.

How much? $219

Available from: BecexTech

Patagonia GI 3 shorts

If you're more about adventure than sweating it out, the Patagonia clothing range comes into play and a versatile pair of shorts is a must for summer trekking. The GI 3 shorts are just as capable on a long walk as diving into a billabong, courtesy of their water repellant, UV protectant finish. Zip pockets add much needed utility to keep your gadgets safe.

How much? $67.96

Available from: Paddy Pallin

Sony 3D digital recording binoculars

The esteemed Oxford Dictionary defines binoculars as “an optical instrument with a lens for each eye, for viewing distant objects”. That would seem to sell Sony's contribution to the genre slightly short, given this pair not only allows you to watch the distant action in high-definition, but to record and replay it in full 3D glory. They're also water and dust resistant, have a built-in GPS and can be set to automatically zoom and focus on fast-moving objects. They also bring you breakfast in bed (we're guessing, because they do everything else).

How much? $1999

Available from: Sony

GoPro Hero 3

If you do anything active you probably know about GoPro, the tiny digital cameras with a multitude of mounts that enable you to record extreme action in HD from just about any vantage point. The Hero 3 edition features built-in Wi-Fi, is smaller and lighter than its Hero 2 predecessor and is waterproof to 60 metres.

How much? From $289

Available from: GoPro, BecexTech or Harvey Norman

The BodyBolster

In order to get extreme you need to make sure you're fit and ready to go, and back pain isn't part of that plan. The BodyBolster is an adjustable and inflatable cushion made of latex-free PVC that was designed by a team of Aussie physiotherapists to “engage and activate” muscles and promote good posture.

How much? $79.90

Available from: Body Bolster