>> In a survey in Germany before Christmas, 6- to 12-year-olds placed sports gear and sports apparel at the top of their wishlist for Santa 35 percent of the time. Some 33 percent wished for computers, CDs, videos and high-tech stuff. Sports gear wishes included bikes and in-line skates, according to a survey by BBE-research of Cologne.
>> Pure Fitness LLC and AllStar Fitness Inc. both plan to expand their facilities in the Puget Sound area in 2003 and beyond. Pure now has five clubs in the area with about 10,000 members and has plans to add 20 to 25 new locations. Seattle-based AllStar Fitness has owned and managed two fitness centers under the name Seattle Women's Health Center for 12 years. The company is currently looking for investors to help fund its future expansion plans. This fall, AllStar will open a new facility in Woodinville, Wash., with several others planned.
>> As of Jan. 2, the C warrants of the Amer Group Plc 1998 stock option plan will be introduced to the main list of the Helsinki Exchanges and combined with the A/B warrants, the company announced. The number of C warrants in issue is 340,000. Amer Group of Finland owns Precor, Atomic, Suunto and Wilson Sporting Goods.
>> Forget guarana and Vitamin B to enhance athletic performance, Altoid anybody? A study recently found that a peppermint inhaler could help you hit harder, run faster or jump higher. So the company Healthcare International bought the rights and is now selling peppermint inhalers for $3 at sporting good stores, specialty running stores, golf courses, cycling stores and health clubs. Whether the reason for the effect is purely psychological or also linked to physiological changes in the brain has not been determined. www.sportsinhaler.com
>> House Concurrent Resolution 474, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Karen McCarthy and U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, is designed to encourage private health companies to take a proactive role in creating a healthy and active population, H.C.R. 474 will support financial incentives to policy holders to stay healthy and fit, which will in turn lead to lower health-care costs for these individuals and their insurance companies. In addition to encouraging discounted premiums to those who exercise regularly, the resolution also supports the screening of diseases that are very treatable if detected early.
>> Companies come and go trying to find a workout motivator in hotel rooms for business travels. The newest one: DiscFit Corp. has released a CD called -- appropriately -- "An Interactive Fitness CD for Use in Your Hotel Room While You Are Traveling." The exercises on the CD video use tools available in a hotel room for nine different exercises with built-in rest periods after each. www.discfit.net.
>> What do Marshmallow Peeps have to do with fitness? Well, nothing, except that more than eight of 10 Peep-eaters say they are "healthy and fit" in a recent Peep-sponsored survey. Note this: 2003 is the Golden Anniversary of those puffy, sugar-coated blobs that you either love or hate, and perhaps even fondly wrap with childhood memories. "It is also good to know that our fans can make Peeps a year-round treat while simultaneously feeling so fit," said Matt Pye, marketing director. The Peep dynasty has surpassed the billion mark in yearly production and is idolized by a growing global fan base spanning more than 30 countries. This is really sick, somehow. Now the company has figured out how to market them at different seasons, so you can find Santa peeps, Pumpkin peeps, and others. Peeps-maker Just Born Inc. wanted to get a current reading of the "2003 Peeps climate." (What's that?) Through an independent research firm, hundreds of Peeps eaters were identified and questioned on a range of fanciful Peeps issues. In the survey, 81.9 percent said they were healthy and fit. Not sure if that goes along with the Peep-eaters who devour as many as five peepers in a sitting. Nearly 81 percent say they eat between one and five each time to go for a Peep repast. OK, enough bleeping Peep stuff. If you're a Peep fan, go to www.marshmallowpeeps.com, where you can find all you want about 'em. And the company promises all kinds of "anniversary activities."
>> Time, or rather what seems like the lack of it, is still our leading source of stress, a recent survey found. As we all pile back into full workdays after two weeks of vacation or laid-back semi-work days, stress and the lack of time bear down heavily! According to the poll, Americans say they have too much work or work too many hours. Period. Although, the fear of terrorism comes in second as a stress-inducer. To cope with stress, women tend to eat more and to exercise less, while men often turn to TV-watching or alcohol-imbibing. Oh, the sponsor of the poll? Tylenol. How appropriate.