This is always a touchy question. On one hand, a gift of exercise equipment shows a concern for the health of a loved one. On the other hand, it may be taken as a slight against their physical appearance. There is the additional factor that an individual who is not motivated to work out will likely end up simply storing workout equipment rather than using it. On the whole, however, for individuals who are taking an interest in their body, workout equipment can be an excellent and meaningful gift.
Whether or not a gift is a good one really depends upon the loved one to whom it is being given. For instance, if a loved one has a love of biking but doesn't have the time to do it after work, an exercise bike may be the perfect thing. The same can be said for a person who loves fishing for the workout it provides and a rowing machine. As is the case with any gift, the person who is receiving it really determines whether or not it is suitable. Remember to keep physical limitations in mind when purchasing such a gift.
Some individuals with certain types of injuries may be wholly unable to make use of certain types of exercise equipment. For instance, a treadmill may not be the best thing for an individual who suffers a back injury. A recumbent bicycle, provided that their doctor concurs, may be an excellent gift. Try to tailor the exercise machine to the individual's needs and to their goals. For example, a beginner may be intimidated by free weights but may truly love a stair-climber machine. One should exercise their intuition when choosing such a gift which will ensure that it is appreciated and used.