Mother's Day Health and Fitness Gifts

5 easy gifts for your mom and 6 for yourself

By Denise Mann
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD

No matter what age group the moms on your Mother's Day list fall into, the gifts of health, fitness, and well-being are always the best ways to appreciate any mom on any day of the year -- especially Mother's Day.

That's why WebMD culled a list of five gifts to give any and all moms -- and in case you are one of those hard-to-please moms, we also included six gifts that you can give yourself.

Here's what we came up with:

Healthful Gifts for Moms

1) Give the gift of unconditional love. Numerous studies have shown that companion animals -- whether cats or dogs -- are good for our health. They can help lower blood pressure as well as the level of stress hormones in the body, and they also encourage social interaction. For the right mother, adopting an animal can be the ultimate Mother's Day gift, says Ruth Goldstein, a spokeswoman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

"Studies indicate that owning an animal reduces stress, petting lowers blood pressure, and [a companion animal] is company, it's a member of the family, and its unconditional love," she tells WebMD.

"For empty nesters, it gives an outlet for affection," she says. However, "If you are interested in giving the gift of a dog or cat for Mother's day, we advise that you talk it over so there is no element of surprise." After the initial conversation, present your mom with a dog care book, a leash, or accessories on Mother's Day. "Then come in [to a shelter or pet shop] with your mom and go through the selection process together. There are millions of homeless... healthy, and loving animals available at shelters across the country, and we have a pet overpopulation in this country," she says, adding that many animals find themselves in shelters through no fault of their own.

If your mom is a cat person, the ASPCA offers pet certificates where she can come in and select the cat or kitten of her choice -- whether tabby, Siamese, or even Persian. Visit the ASPCA web site at www.aspca.org to find out more about adoption and pet ownership.

2) Make her smile all year long with bright white teeth, suggests Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, a board-certified prostodontist in Fort Washington, Pa., who specializes in restoring teeth. "I have seen [bleaching] gifted from kids to parents, parents to parents, and parents to kids," says Wolfinger. "We even have gift certificates."

All the patients notice a difference right away, he says. "Some people notice a dramatic change, [but] it's hard to say how long it lasts." Many use a whitening toothpaste or strips to help maintain the whiteness, and some use at-home trays. Cost varies depending on the bleaching technique.

So why is it such a great gift for mom?

"I think a lot of people wouldn't do it for themselves because they feel that it's an expense they shouldn't spend on themselves," he says. "Mothers would do it for kids but not for themselves."

3) Give the gift that gives back. Mother's day is the perfect time to give your mom something special as well as make a donation to a charity in her honor, says Alayna Kassan, co-founder of Presents for Purpose, a gift and accessory company that donates 25% of proceeds to participating charities including the Lymphoma Research Foundation, Strang Cancer Prevention Center, Grassroot Soccer, First Candle, CancerCare, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


"Hire a trainer or life coach to help you reach your goals."

This year, Kassan is launching a trendy hot pink watch in honor of Mother's Day. "The proceeds go to the shopper's charity of choice, and we are offering free shipping for the occasion," she says. "One of the most special things about gifts that give back is that they not only touch someone you know, but they also touch someone that you don't." Other gifts include tote bags, vanity sets, and luxury bathrobes. "Mom's gift will arrive packaged with information about the donation and the benefiting organization," Kassan says. For more information on the presents and the purposes, visit www.presentsforpurpose.com.

4) Treat her feet. Consider getting your mom a foot massage, foot reflexology, or a relaxing pedicure, says New York podiatrist Oliver Zong, DPM.

"People pay so little attention to their feet and they are always cramped in shoes," Zong tells WebMD. "Moms are usually running around after kids all day long, and the last thing they do is take care of themselves and their feet," he says. You can even give her one yourself.

5) Deal a meal. Whether she's trying to shed weight from a pregnancy or get rid of her "menopot" -- the abdominal fat around her middle, many moms can use a diet overhaul or at the very least, some weight loss tips. "Subscribe to a light cooking magazine like Cooking Light or Eating Well for Her," suggests Rachel Brandeis, RD, an Atlanta-based spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She also suggests some healthy reading such as The ADA's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. "It's a really good resource."