Best Fitness Gifts for Someone With a Chronic Illness

Health Writer

Holiday gift-buying has gone full throttle. Giving a health-conscious gift is a great way to say you care, but if a family member or friend has a special health condition, shopping can be down-right confusing. Here are some tips for finding the right fitness products for every lifestyle on your list.

Arthritis/chronic pain

If you’re looking to buy big-ticket items, then elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and rowers can work for many individuals challenged with arthritis or chronic pain. There are wide ranges of products in these categories with prices based on how sturdy they are and the features they offer. If you’re looking for more affordable fitness equipment, consider the following:


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Resistance bands, free weights, and exercise balls — These are great because they come in a variety of tensions, sizes, and price ranges.

Future Exercise Resistance Loop Bands can slip around someone’s ankles and allow them to do a variety of leg exercises in both standing and sitting positions. The package has five different colored bands that offer increasing levels of resistance. Bands are portable and take up virtually no space. These are made from eco-friendly natural latex and come in a small pouch.

Current list price: $8.75 on Amazon. (You can find other online sites and stores like Walmart and Target also carry some of these items)

Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands Set includes five tubular long bands, 48 inches in length, with a soft grip set of handles that can be clipped on to the ends of each tube. The tubes have a conversion to weight amounts, starting with a resistance of two to four pounds, all the way up to a resistance level of 25 to 30 pounds. The set comes with a storage pouch, door anchor, exercise chart and starter guide.

Current list price: $20.89 on Amazon.

CAP Barbell Neoprene Dumbbells offer non-slip grip and come in a range of colors and weight sizes. Based on your family or friend’s exercise level, you can tailor the selection to their abilities — even buying single dumbbells of certain weight sizes.

Current list price: Depends on the size and whether you buy a single or pairs. Single dumbbells start at a cost of $2.77 online or $1.97 in store.

Theraband Exercise Balls range in size from 45 cm to 75 cm and are just one prototype of these popular fitness items. You can perform a range of exercises on their soft surfaces, sitting and supine. You can also purchase a ball and chair frame (with and without a back support) to help strengthen lower back and improve posture. Ball and chair can cost upwards of $75.

Current list price (just the ball): $13.07 - $21.22 plus shipping.

Recoup 2-in-1 Cold Massage Roller provides cold massage relief to anywhere on the body, but is especially helpful for fatigued, stressed muscles. The roller ball is slightly larger than a baseball and the device is portable. Roll it across shoulders, lower back, or up and down legs and the massage and cold relief will help to reduce inflammation.

Current list price: $39.99.

Breast cancer

At various points during and after cancer treatment, fitness may be a wonderful way to feel empowered, fight fatigue, maintain strength, or regain strength.


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Cancer Fitness: Exercise Programs for Patients and Survivors by Anna L. Schwartz offers a variety of exercise programs that can help to support treatments, speed recovery, and reduce recurrence.

Current list price (Paperback): $20.40 on Amazon.

There are so many different types and levels of yoga, but its centering focus, meditative qualities, and variety of moves and levels can make it a perfect exercise modality during and after cancer treatment. Yoga gifts can include:

Yoga for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors is a DVD suitable for beginners to seasoned yogis.

Current list price: $21.41 (with coupon offered on the site) The site offers yoga mats which come in different colors, with and without printed messages, in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, and also in a broad range of price points.

Tavi Noir Chey Barre Grip Socks Yoga socks help feet to grip the mat when your feet start to sweat.

Current list price: Ranges from $11 to $15.

Chronic digestive problems

Patients who struggle with chronic digestive and intestinal issues can fear intermediate to advanced exercise efforts because of hydration challenges. Since intestinal upsets can be instigated by fluid or electrolyte imbalance, and since the type of rehydration can also instigate unpleasant gastro-intestinal side effects, consider a gift of safe rehydration.


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DripDrop is a medical grade rehydration powder developed by a Mayo Clinic physician and available over-the-counter at many drugstore retailers. It offers a precise ration of sodium and potassium; is low in sugar; and lacks artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Prices vary but you may use the store locator to find it.

Current list price (6-pack): $10.

Takeya insulated water bottles keep fluids cold for up to 24 hours, and hot for up to 12 hours. These tumblers come in a variety of colors and sizes and have a stainless steel interior and a removable protective silicone bumper.

Current list price: Prices start at $19.99.

Heart-healthy gifts

If you know someone who has heart disease, then you know they need to exercise to maintain heart health. Whether they choose to walk, run, take an aerobics class, bike or swim, there are some universal gifts that are perfect choices.


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Pedometers come in all shapes, sizes and price points. The simplest ones just track steps, while others offer features like tracking distance, calories burned, a weekly log of activity, and stride length.

Current list price: Ranges from under a dollar to $30.

Exercises for Cardiac Recovery: The Strong Heart Fitness Program for Life After Heart Attack and Heart Surgery is a “post-rehabilitation” exercise guide designed to help patients continue regaining strength and physical health once rehabilitation has finished. It’s easy for someone to slack off or simply feel lost once rehabilitation has wrapped up and this book is incredibly informative and supportive, providing the right types of exercise formulas for this patient population.

Current list price: $10.20 online for the book; Kindle version $7.99.

See more helpful articles:

9 Great Fitness Gifts

5 Gift Ideas for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

11 Healthy Gifts for Him