The Best Health and Wellness Gifts for 2018

The holiday season is upon us, which means spending time with friends and family as we celebrate and reflect on all this year has brought us. It’s also a time of year when we exchange gifts. This year, I encourage you to show someone you care by giving them the gift of health.

As a pediatric oncologist and health optimization expert, I’m often asked about recommendations for the best products to improve our lives. So I put together a list of suggestions for holiday gifts that are not only fun but also support good health—something for everyone on your list!

Here is my list of the best gifts for 2018* that support good health and wellness—all $50 or less!


If you have someone in your life who travels a lot and has little time for exercise, a jump rope can be the perfect solution. There is a lot you can do exercise-wise with a good jump rope in a hotel room—and it takes up virtually no space in a suitcase. This packable rose gold jump rope is a great gift—one of my favorites.

Foam rolling can do wonders to improve circulation and release tension in your back, legs, neck, and shoulders. This package includes a variety of sizes—including a stick muscle roller for calves and hamstrings, a peanut roller that is fantastic for getting to hard-to-reach back muscles, a massage ball for trigger-point therapy, and an exercise stretch band—that can target anywhere a body carries stress. Highly effective with regular use.

The perfect gift for the busiest person in your life is a productivity journal that can help them beat procrastination and get more done.

Kettle bell training engages the entire body—particularly core muscles—for a sculpted, stable, and toned physique. This set includes 3 kettle bells (5 lb., 10 lb., and 15 lb. options), an exercise chart, and a DVD. A great gift for anyone looking to get fit in 2019.

Hydration is critical for good health and yet our water and plastic bottles can both contain unhealthy chemicals. This 23-ounce sports bottle has a built-in Brita filter that is designed to purify the water, which will remove all of the chlorine and impurities. And the bottle itself is crafted from BPA-free plastic that is free of any toxins that may be contained in the plastic of other water bottles. So drink up!

What do you get for the yogi who has everything? This super-luxe mat. The extra-thick mat is made with specially designed memory foam, so it will optimally protect your knees and joints whether you are using it for yoga, Pilates, or any of your favorite exercises. It also has a ribbed surface on one side and a smooth surface on the other side, so it will grip the floor to improve your workout and prevent injuries. (If you are seeking a travel yoga mat, the Manduka eKO SuperLite Mat—at 68”x 24″ and 1.5 mm thick—is a great choice that provides excellent grip.)

For those who want their workout to remind them of the playground, a weighted hula hoop is both fun and effective. It brings back the days of childhood joy and provides a great way to get moving!

When someone needs to carry items but doesn’t want them bulging in their pockets, the FlipBelt is a sleek, non-bulky fanny pack alternative. A great gift for runners or cyclists!

Beautifully designed and crafted, Questions & Empathy is a deck of 56 cards with questions intended to guide exploration on the topic of empathy. Both a wonderful conversation-starter and a personal development tool.

This smart speaker—with Google Assistant built right in—can be also used as a bedside clock. It helps with restful sleep, as there is no light flashing at night. And it couldn’t be easier: When your giftees need to set the alarm or know what time it is, all they have to do is ask.

[$13 per month]
A regular meditation practice can help us be more creative, have better focus, and connect us to new ideas. Help a loved one tap into the benefits of meditation with a subscription to Headspace, a digital app that presents courses of varying degrees on the topics of meditation and mindfulness.

Reverse the effects of aging and maintain optimal health for life through the revolutionary ”6 Keys program” by New York Times bestselling author Jillian Michaels. (The will book be released on December 18, 2018 but is available for pre-order now.

A popular minimalist blogger and author of The More of Less, Joshua Becker shows you how to methodically turn your home into a place of peace, contentment, and purposeful living. (The will book be released on December 18, 2018 but is available for pre-order now.)

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include my own book, which I wrote to help optimize people’s lives:
An easy-to-read guide to optimal living and leading based on the wisdom of the yoga sutras, Beyond the Mat packages the material in a way that clearly demonstrates how strikingly relevant the principles and practices of yoga are to succeed in today’s world. It has been endorsed by health and wellness, yoga, and leadership experts including #1 New York Times bestselling author and leadership thinker Marshall Goldsmith, Kripalu CEO Barbara Vacarr, Harvard University Senior Fellow Thomas DeLong, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, and many more.

Happy holidays! May it be a season of health and wealth for you all!