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Tools for Staying Fit and Young

Chicago Tribune

Anything that enhances balance or brain fitness makes a great gift for an aging friend or relative.

If an exercise ball is too daunting, try a Balance Disc ($19.99). Simply sitting on this portable - and less wobbly - alternative can help improve posture and balance. It comes with a hand pump and instruction chart., 312-376-0206.

Designed specifically for the older crowd, "Senior Smart Puzzles" are a collection of mazes, hidden objects and picture puzzles with vintage illustrations designed to stimulate a mature mind. Rather than children's illustrations, the puzzles use objects from the past (sewing machines, drive-ins and cars from the '50s) to trigger memories that might encourage conversation. Get them at, or BookSurge Publishing (866-308-6235, option 6). $10.99.

Refine your visual perception and awaken-problem solving skills with Tangoes, a game based on the 4,000-year-old Chinese tangram puzzle. The object is to form the images shown on the cards using all seven pieces (a square, a parallelogram, two small triangles, one medium triangle and two large triangles). Play alone or against someone. $13.99 at marbles, 312-494-7769.


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