When you're shopping for gifts for someone who loves to exercise, the iPod and iPod accessories can be treasure troves of gift-giving ideas. Whether it's giving your friend or family member a portable music player to accompany their workouts, a cool new case, or something even more exotic, no matter their preferred sport, exercisers love iPod gifts.
Here are some ideas for sports-related iPod gifts for the exerciser in your life this holiday season.
1. iPod nano or iPod Shuffle
Before any of the other gift ideas make sense, be sure your recipient has an iPod. The iPod nano or iPod Shuffle are great gifts for enthusiasts of sports like:
- Weight lifting
- Rock climbing
If you're buying for a runner, give extra attention to the iPod nano, which can be used with Nike + to track things like heart rate and mileage. More on that below.
NOTE: Last year, I recommended you stay away from the 6th generation nano due to some features that make it hard for exercisers to use. The 7th gen. model is much improved, so it's safe to consider nanos for exercisers again.
2. iPod Sports Case
Everyone needs a case to hold their iPod, especially exercisers. Getting an exerciser a good iPod sports case can help them keep the iPod close their body, dry when it rains (or if there's a lot of sweat), and make it easier to carry on their workouts.
Pay particular attention to sports cases with armbands. Cases with armbands are great, since they free the hands during exercise.
This US$30 dohickey is a godsend for runners. The Nike+ iPod kit allows you to plug a little device into the bottom of an iPod (recent iPod touches, nanos, and iPhones have the device built in, so check what iPod your recipient has before buying), track important elements of a workout like calories burned, speed, and distance, and then upload your workout data to your computer. It works best with Nike+ shoes, which have a special area for the sensor that works with the iPod device, but it can (I believe) be used with any shoes.
4. Fitness Bands
People who are serious about exercise and nutrition don't just track it at the gym. They want to keep track of what they're doing throughout the day, too. Now they can with these fashionable fitness wristbands designed to be worn at all times. The most well-known products are made by Nike, called Fuel (US$150), and Jawbone ($130), called UP. Both let the user track the number of steps they take each day, the calories they burn, food eaten, and, with the Jawbone model, sleep habits. Both bands interact with apps and online reporting systems to allow the exerciser in your life to see trends and fine-tune their habits and workouts.
The first-generation version of the UP was plagued by problems, but Jawbone is expected to release a new version that corrects the earlier defects soon.
5. iOS-Compatible Wi-Fi Scale
Exercisers serious about tracking their results no doubt already spend a lot of time with their scales and tools to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI). Thanks to some iOS-integrated, Wi-Fi connected scales, that tracking is now much easier. The Wi-Fi Body Scale by Withings (US$150) tracks weight, BMI, and lean and fat mass. The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale ($130) offers many similar features. Both have apps and online tools that the scale can transmit data to so that your exerciser can track their improvement.
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6. Heart & Pulse Monitors
Runners especially will enjoy having these lightweight devices to track their heart and pulse rates. They can track this information and then transmit it wirelessly to an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPod nano that's equipped with Nike+, as well as to apps and online tracking systems (the options depend on the exact monitor used). Expect to spend between $70 and $130 on them.
7. Cycling Computers
Cyclists who are serious about tracking their speed, distance, and improvement will enjoy an iOS-aware cycling computer that helps them chart their rides. These devices, like other app + hardware combinations, include some hardware you install on a bike that transmits data to an app that records rides.
8. Running Apps
9. Cycling Apps
10. Fitness Apps
11. iTunes Gift Card or eMusic Subscription
No matter what kind of iPod people have or what sort of exercise they prefer, they always need a good soundtrack. Help them get that soundtrack by keeping them in good music that they'll love with an iTunes Gift Card or eMusic subscripton. EMusic delivers more songs for the money, but has a smaller selection, so you might want to check out their offerings before giving to someone whose musical tastes you don't know very well.