Life by DailyBurn » Apps http://dailyburn.com/life A better you, for life. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:52:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 7 Killer Workout Playlists to Get You Through Any Workout http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-workout-playlists-songs/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-workout-playlists-songs/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:15:27 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42735 7 Best Workout Playlists

[caption id="attachment_42776" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Killer Workout Playlists Photo: Pond5[/caption]

There are countless music streaming sites around these days, all with their own sweet perks (some are free, at least for a bit). Others have drawbacks (sorry, still no Taylor Swift on Spotify). But if you’re overwhelmed on which one is best for your workout, don’t sweat it. DailyBurn did the sweating for you and found seven incredible playlists to keep you pumped up and focused from that first dynamic stretch all the way to Savansana.

RELATED: 13 Awesome Podcasts to Get You Through a Long Run

7 Amazing Workout Playlists

1. Songza's "All-Time Pumped-Up Hits"
Best for: Weight-room junkies who need an extra push.
Got a lifting session soon? This playlist, will get you, well, pumped up to, well, pump iron. Expect to hear everything from 80s classics (Gotta have The Eurythmics, right?) to current superstars like Rihanna and Beyonce. Bonus: The songs all boast catchy, high-energy beats, perfect for masking the huffing, puffing and grunting that’s sure to ensue with each deadlift or bench press. (Free; iOS, Android)

[caption id="attachment_42765" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Amazon Prime Music Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. Amazon Prime Music's "Going the Distance"
Best for: Cardio champs with a long run ahead.
The peace, quiet and thoughts in your head may get you through the first few miles of your long run (it’s race season!), but after a few more, you’re going to need some pump-up jams to keep you motivated. Enter Amazon Prime Music’s “Going the Distance” mix, which was created specifically for marathon runners putting in hours (and hours) of training work. Expect to hear tunes like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk, “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, and of course, battle cries like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. And just like that, your last mile became your fastest. (Free; iOS, Android) 

3. SoulCycle's Spotify
Best for: The spinning-obsessed who can’t make it to every studio class.
Obvious choice, right? The boutique indoor cycling studio is known for a lot of things: crazy choreography, pricey classes, luxe studios and absolutely killer playlists. And SoulCycle works to constantly update its Spotify channel with the instructors’ favorite of-the-moment music. In fact, just about every song is remixed into a beat you can totally sweat to. It’s almost like all the over-played music you’re tired of hearing on the radio is fresh again when you’re back in the saddle (with spot-on form, naturally). (Free; iOS, Android)

RELATED: Should You Always Listen to Music While Running?

[caption id="attachment_42766" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Cardio Dance Pandora Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Pandora's "Club Dance Radio"
Best for: Dance cardio converts who want to keep shakin’ well beyond class.
Ever wanted that perfect playlist for making household chores seem a lot more fun? After your next cardio dance or Zumba class, pump up the “Club Dance Radio” station on Pandora and get ready to drop that booty, shimmy, shake and sweat all night long as you take care of business. Things like doing the dishes just got a lot sweatier — and that’s a good thing. (Free; iOS, Android)

RELATED: DailyBurn Trainer Anja Garcia Shares Her Workout Playlist

5. FIT Radio's "Phys Ed"
Best for: Fit families looking to get the whole crew moving.
FIT Radio is designed using BPMs (beats per minute, a measure of intensity) to create playlists for exercisers of different levels, then all of which are carefully crafted to seamlessly flow together by a pro DJ. We especially love the “Phys Ed” station, which keeps the lyrics from your tunes totally PG-13 — ideal if you’re planning a stroller run or a basement boot camp where the kids will be within earshot. You’ll be working out to awesome-but-edited versions of everything from Nicki Minaj to Taylor Swift. (Free; iOS, Android)

6. RockMyRun
Best for: All-level runners who want to cross the finish line feeling energized. 
With around 50 well-curated playlists specifically catered to runners, RockMyRun is a must-have for those who are training, racing or hitting the pavement for their first tempo run. Plus, the app’s so easy to synch with your favorite running apps (think: MapMyRun, Nike+, or Runtastic), hit play and be good to go for about four hours — each song’s BPM will adjust to your own speed thanks to the app’s built-in accelerometer. And since the music streams continuously, you don’t have to worry about losing your momentum during those annoying commercials. (Free; iOS, Android)

RELATED: Your Tour de France-Inspired Cycling Playlist

[caption id="attachment_42768" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Slacker Radio Yoga Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Slacker Radio's "Hotel Poolside"
Best for: Everyday yogis winding down with an at-home practice.
Yeah, Slacker gets that specific with its playlist choices. This week, try pretending you’re not exhausted after a long day as you bust out downward-facing dogs on a (slightly dusty?) mat in your cluttered living room. (Which, by the way, you’ll totally clean up later, once you’re sufficiently Zen’ed.) When you cue this stream up for your next evening practice, you’ll feel more like you’re on the beach in Turks and Caicos than on the floor in your house. The umbrella drinks afterwards are optional, but recommended. (Free; iOS, Android)

The post 7 Killer Workout Playlists to Get You Through Any Workout appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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7 Best Workout Playlists

[caption id="attachment_42776" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Killer Workout Playlists Photo: Pond5[/caption] There are countless music streaming sites around these days, all with their own sweet perks (some are free, at least for a bit). Others have drawbacks (sorry, still no Taylor Swift on Spotify). But if you’re overwhelmed on which one is best for your workout, don’t sweat it. DailyBurn did the sweating for you and found seven incredible playlists to keep you pumped up and focused from that first dynamic stretch all the way to Savansana. RELATED: 13 Awesome Podcasts to Get You Through a Long Run

7 Amazing Workout Playlists

1. Songza's "All-Time Pumped-Up Hits" Best for: Weight-room junkies who need an extra push. Got a lifting session soon? This playlist, will get you, well, pumped up to, well, pump iron. Expect to hear everything from 80s classics (Gotta have The Eurythmics, right?) to current superstars like Rihanna and Beyonce. Bonus: The songs all boast catchy, high-energy beats, perfect for masking the huffing, puffing and grunting that’s sure to ensue with each deadlift or bench press. (Free; iOS, Android) [caption id="attachment_42765" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Amazon Prime Music Photo: Pond5[/caption] 2. Amazon Prime Music's "Going the Distance" Best for: Cardio champs with a long run ahead. The peace, quiet and thoughts in your head may get you through the first few miles of your long run (it’s race season!), but after a few more, you’re going to need some pump-up jams to keep you motivated. Enter Amazon Prime Music’s “Going the Distance” mix, which was created specifically for marathon runners putting in hours (and hours) of training work. Expect to hear tunes like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk, “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, and of course, battle cries like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. And just like that, your last mile became your fastest. (Free; iOS, Android)  3. SoulCycle's Spotify Best for: The spinning-obsessed who can’t make it to every studio class. Obvious choice, right? The boutique indoor cycling studio is known for a lot of things: crazy choreography, pricey classes, luxe studios and absolutely killer playlists. And SoulCycle works to constantly update its Spotify channel with the instructors’ favorite of-the-moment music. In fact, just about every song is remixed into a beat you can totally sweat to. It’s almost like all the over-played music you’re tired of hearing on the radio is fresh again when you’re back in the saddle (with spot-on form, naturally). (Free; iOS, Android) RELATED: Should You Always Listen to Music While Running? [caption id="attachment_42766" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Cardio Dance Pandora Photo: Pond5[/caption] 4. Pandora's "Club Dance Radio" Best for: Dance cardio converts who want to keep shakin’ well beyond class. Ever wanted that perfect playlist for making household chores seem a lot more fun? After your next cardio dance or Zumba class, pump up the “Club Dance Radio” station on Pandora and get ready to drop that booty, shimmy, shake and sweat all night long as you take care of business. Things like doing the dishes just got a lot sweatier — and that’s a good thing. (Free; iOS, Android) RELATED: DailyBurn Trainer Anja Garcia Shares Her Workout Playlist 5. FIT Radio's "Phys Ed" Best for: Fit families looking to get the whole crew moving. FIT Radio is designed using BPMs (beats per minute, a measure of intensity) to create playlists for exercisers of different levels, then all of which are carefully crafted to seamlessly flow together by a pro DJ. We especially love the “Phys Ed” station, which keeps the lyrics from your tunes totally PG-13 — ideal if you’re planning a stroller run or a basement boot camp where the kids will be within earshot. You’ll be working out to awesome-but-edited versions of everything from Nicki Minaj to Taylor Swift. (Free; iOS, Android) 6. RockMyRun Best for: All-level runners who want to cross the finish line feeling energized.  With around 50 well-curated playlists specifically catered to runners, RockMyRun is a must-have for those who are training, racing or hitting the pavement for their first tempo run. Plus, the app’s so easy to synch with your favorite running apps (think: MapMyRun, Nike+, or Runtastic), hit play and be good to go for about four hours — each song’s BPM will adjust to your own speed thanks to the app’s built-in accelerometer. And since the music streams continuously, you don’t have to worry about losing your momentum during those annoying commercials. (Free; iOS, Android) RELATED: Your Tour de France-Inspired Cycling Playlist [caption id="attachment_42768" align="alignnone" width="620"]Best Workout Playlists Slacker Radio Yoga Photo: Pond5[/caption] 7. Slacker Radio's "Hotel Poolside" Best for: Everyday yogis winding down with an at-home practice. Yeah, Slacker gets that specific with its playlist choices. This week, try pretending you’re not exhausted after a long day as you bust out downward-facing dogs on a (slightly dusty?) mat in your cluttered living room. (Which, by the way, you’ll totally clean up later, once you’re sufficiently Zen’ed.) When you cue this stream up for your next evening practice, you’ll feel more like you’re on the beach in Turks and Caicos than on the floor in your house. The umbrella drinks afterwards are optional, but recommended. (Free; iOS, Android)

The post 7 Killer Workout Playlists to Get You Through Any Workout appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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11 Health Gadgets Experts Wish You’d Use http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-gadgets-health-technology/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-gadgets-health-technology/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:15:41 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41800 The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used

[caption id="attachment_41979" align="alignnone" width="620"]11 Health Gadgets Experts Wish You'd Use Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Whether you want to lose weight, run faster or score extra workout motivation, there’s an app for that…and a fitness tracker…and a new-fangled gadget. Overwhelmed yet? With the world of health technology exploding every day, it’s no secret that sifting through your options to get to the good stuff can be a chore.

RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)

That’s why we did the legwork for you and went straight to the experts for their picks. These are the tech tools your favorite doctors, trainers, nutritionists and bloggers rely on to reach their health and fitness goals. We found the best app to track your high-intensity interval training, the easiest way to count calories and the best tool to actually help you run faster. Plus, they’ve all been tested by trusted experts and bloggers, so you can bet they’re pretty darn good.

Your Go-to Gym Gadgets

[caption id="attachment_41811" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. The PUSH Fitness Tracker
Want to tone your arm muscles? PUSH is the first device designed to help you reach your strength training goals. Strap the band below your elbow, select an exercise and the tracker will give you feedback on the number of reps you’ve done — and how fast and powerfully you completed each one. “It measures power and velocity, eliminating the need to rely on a laser-focused coach’s eye or…watching your own reps,” says Jen Sinkler, author, personal trainer and owner of The Movement Minneapolis. “When speed slows down, it’s time to call it a day for that movement,” she says. ($189; trainwithpush.com)

2. The Ithlete App
So how do you really know if your body has recovered from yesterday’s workout? James Cotter, former professional triathlete and founder of Hard Yards relies on ithlete to make sure he’s not overtraining. “This helps all athletes arrive at the start line fresher and helps you avoid becoming overly fatigued during bigger training blocks,” Cotter says. Using a heart rate monitor or finger sensor, the app measures your heart rate variability — the time between your heartbeats when you’re at rest. If the variation is minimal, then, according to the app, you’re ready to train. If your body is burned out, it’ll tell you to take a rest day. “Being an athlete involves being able to show up on key training days and races ready to perform,” Cotter says. ($8.99; myithlete.com)

RELATED: 7 New Recovery Tools You’ll Love to Hate

3. The Tabata Pro App
If you love HIIT training, you know how annoying it is to fumble with your watch to track your intervals. Luckily, the Tabata Pro app will do that for you. (The burpees are up to you.) Celebrity trainer and author of The 20-Minute Body Brett Hoebel says, “My 20-Minute Body classes require different timed intervals and music. This app allows for many different types of intervals as well as playing my favorite playlists over [the] timer noises.” ($2.99; simpletouchsoftware.com)

4. The Skulpt Aim Device
Pretty sure your BMI isn’t telling you the whole story? Skulpt Aim is a handheld device that uses electrical impulses to measure your body fat and muscle tone, from your pecs to your calves. “I’ve been using it monthly to track my progress in the gym,” says Tamara Grand, personal trainer, group fitness instructor and online fitness coach. “I love that it allows you to compare the left and right sides of the body.” The result? The ability to spot imbalances and work toward a more balanced physique. ($149; store.skulpt.me)

RELATED: 5 Ways to Test for Muscle Imbalances and Avoid Injury

Your Health and Weight Loss Arsenal

[caption id="attachment_41818" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. The Handpick App
Need recipe inspiration for that Swiss chard wilting in your veggie drawer? Whip it into a delicious dish using this database of over 10,000 food items and recipes on the Handpick app. “Some people get stuck preparing the same meals all the time, so an app that can encourage you to infuse fresh ideas into the mix is a great tool,” says celebrity chef Paula Hankin. The coolest feature? You can browse a curated feed of recipes based on the best drool-worthy food pics from Instagram. (Free; handpick.com)

RELATED: 12 Brilliant Meal Prep Ideas to Free Up Your Time

6. The Sleep Cycle App
If you still feel groggy after a full night’s rest, put down your coffee and download the Sleep Cycle app now. “It’s an alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep,” say Lori Morris and Michelle Corso, the sisters behind the health and fitness blog Purely Twins. The app, which tracks your movements using your phone’s accelerometer, claims to gently nudge you awake only when you’re in a light sleep phase (your body’s natural waking point). The result: You’ll actually get out of bed feeling refreshed. ($0.99; sleepcycle.com)

7. My Fitness Pal
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just keep a food diary, My Fitness Pal makes it easy with more than five million foods in its tracking database. Matt Orlando, the blogger behind The Runner Dad, used the calorie counting tool to lose about 20 pounds. “It allowed me to easily set calorie and fitness goals, track my daily intake and automatically import the data provided by my running watch to help me track my health,” he says. Meanwhile, Jesica D’Avanza, author of the blog rUnladylike, relies on the app to stay on top of her nutrition. “My Fitness Pal is incredibly helpful for keeping track of the food I eat to ensure that, as an athlete, I’m getting the right mix of proteins, carbs and fats as well as eating enough calories for the amount of physical activity I’m doing,” says the runner, triathlete and marathon coach. (Free; myfitnesspal.com)

RELATED: The 10 Biggest Diet Mistakes, According to Experts

Your Running Toolkit

[caption id="attachment_41821" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption]

8. The Spring Moves App
There’s no doubt the right music can put a spring in your step. With Spring Moves, you can more easily match your running cadence to your tunes. All you have to do is run to the beat to stay on track. “As a sports doc, I love this app for my patients since I’m always trying to get them to quicken their cadence and shorten their stride, thereby reducing their risk of injury,” says Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine doctor and creator of the Ironstrength Workout. “It’s much more user-friendly than counting steps.” (Free; springmoves.com)

9. The Strava App
If a little healthy competition is what motivates you, then Strava is the app for you. With Strava, you can compare your runs (or rides) against your past efforts, or go head-to-head with others in the community. “It’s the perfect app for anyone who has a competitive edge, whether you are competing against yourself to beat your best time or looking at the long list of athletes who beat you on the big climb or portion of your run or ride,” says Jamie King, CEO and founder of FitApproach and SweatGuru. (Free; strava.com)

RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

10. Bluetooth Headphones
There’s nothing worse than getting tangled up in your headphone cords when you’re out for a run. That’s why Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN relies on her Motorola bluetooth headphones. “[They] make it so much easier to head outside for a walk or run without being tethered to your phone or strapping on some uncomfortable, sweaty, ill-fitting armband,” she says. “You can listen to music and take phone calls without touching your phone.” ($43.95; amazon.com)

11. GPS Running Watch
Some runners may say that a GPS running watch isn’t just a cool technology — it’s a necessary one. At a basic level, these watches track distance, pace and time. But opinions are split as to which device does it all best.

Several run-nerds we spoke with swear by their Garmins, including Jeff Gaudette, Head Coach and founder of RunnersConnect. “There's nothing more important than getting an accurate time, distance and pace for your run and Garmin makes some sleek watches that get the job done,” says Gaudette.

Meanwhile, King recommends the Suunto Ambit2, an integrated GPS and heart rate monitor. “This GPS watch truly does it all — from recording workouts, heart rate monitoring and even weather functions,” she says. You can also download running apps designed to improve your performance directly to your watch.

And if you want to monitor your heart rate but hate wearing a chest strap, check out the TomTom Runner Watch. Orlando says it’s his favorite piece of fitness technology because it accurately tracks his stats and easily syncs to his phone and apps like My Fitness Pal. Amanda Brooks, the voice of the blog Run To The Finish, depends on her TomTom to help her stick to her training methodology. “As someone who follows low heart rate training, I have fallen head over heels for the TomTom Runner watch,” she says. “It measures heart rate through the watch strap, removing the need to wear that infuriating chest strap!”

Disclosure: All products featured on our site are carefully selected and vetted in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. In some cases, you might come across an affiliate link on our site, which means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. 

The post 11 Health Gadgets Experts Wish You’d Use appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used

[caption id="attachment_41979" align="alignnone" width="620"]11 Health Gadgets Experts Wish You'd Use Photo: Pond5[/caption] Whether you want to lose weight, run faster or score extra workout motivation, there’s an app for that…and a fitness tracker…and a new-fangled gadget. Overwhelmed yet? With the world of health technology exploding every day, it’s no secret that sifting through your options to get to the good stuff can be a chore. RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body) That’s why we did the legwork for you and went straight to the experts for their picks. These are the tech tools your favorite doctors, trainers, nutritionists and bloggers rely on to reach their health and fitness goals. We found the best app to track your high-intensity interval training, the easiest way to count calories and the best tool to actually help you run faster. Plus, they’ve all been tested by trusted experts and bloggers, so you can bet they’re pretty darn good.

Your Go-to Gym Gadgets

[caption id="attachment_41811" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption] 1. The PUSH Fitness Tracker Want to tone your arm muscles? PUSH is the first device designed to help you reach your strength training goals. Strap the band below your elbow, select an exercise and the tracker will give you feedback on the number of reps you’ve done — and how fast and powerfully you completed each one. “It measures power and velocity, eliminating the need to rely on a laser-focused coach’s eye or…watching your own reps,” says Jen Sinkler, author, personal trainer and owner of The Movement Minneapolis. “When speed slows down, it’s time to call it a day for that movement,” she says. ($189; trainwithpush.com) 2. The Ithlete App So how do you really know if your body has recovered from yesterday’s workout? James Cotter, former professional triathlete and founder of Hard Yards relies on ithlete to make sure he’s not overtraining. “This helps all athletes arrive at the start line fresher and helps you avoid becoming overly fatigued during bigger training blocks,” Cotter says. Using a heart rate monitor or finger sensor, the app measures your heart rate variability — the time between your heartbeats when you’re at rest. If the variation is minimal, then, according to the app, you’re ready to train. If your body is burned out, it’ll tell you to take a rest day. “Being an athlete involves being able to show up on key training days and races ready to perform,” Cotter says. ($8.99; myithlete.com) RELATED: 7 New Recovery Tools You’ll Love to Hate 3. The Tabata Pro App If you love HIIT training, you know how annoying it is to fumble with your watch to track your intervals. Luckily, the Tabata Pro app will do that for you. (The burpees are up to you.) Celebrity trainer and author of The 20-Minute Body Brett Hoebel says, “My 20-Minute Body classes require different timed intervals and music. This app allows for many different types of intervals as well as playing my favorite playlists over [the] timer noises.” ($2.99; simpletouchsoftware.com) 4. The Skulpt Aim Device Pretty sure your BMI isn’t telling you the whole story? Skulpt Aim is a handheld device that uses electrical impulses to measure your body fat and muscle tone, from your pecs to your calves. “I’ve been using it monthly to track my progress in the gym,” says Tamara Grand, personal trainer, group fitness instructor and online fitness coach. “I love that it allows you to compare the left and right sides of the body.” The result? The ability to spot imbalances and work toward a more balanced physique. ($149; store.skulpt.me) RELATED: 5 Ways to Test for Muscle Imbalances and Avoid Injury

Your Health and Weight Loss Arsenal

[caption id="attachment_41818" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption] 5. The Handpick App Need recipe inspiration for that Swiss chard wilting in your veggie drawer? Whip it into a delicious dish using this database of over 10,000 food items and recipes on the Handpick app. “Some people get stuck preparing the same meals all the time, so an app that can encourage you to infuse fresh ideas into the mix is a great tool,” says celebrity chef Paula Hankin. The coolest feature? You can browse a curated feed of recipes based on the best drool-worthy food pics from Instagram. (Free; handpick.com) RELATED: 12 Brilliant Meal Prep Ideas to Free Up Your Time 6. The Sleep Cycle App If you still feel groggy after a full night’s rest, put down your coffee and download the Sleep Cycle app now. “It’s an alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep,” say Lori Morris and Michelle Corso, the sisters behind the health and fitness blog Purely Twins. The app, which tracks your movements using your phone’s accelerometer, claims to gently nudge you awake only when you’re in a light sleep phase (your body’s natural waking point). The result: You’ll actually get out of bed feeling refreshed. ($0.99; sleepcycle.com) 7. My Fitness Pal Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just keep a food diary, My Fitness Pal makes it easy with more than five million foods in its tracking database. Matt Orlando, the blogger behind The Runner Dad, used the calorie counting tool to lose about 20 pounds. “It allowed me to easily set calorie and fitness goals, track my daily intake and automatically import the data provided by my running watch to help me track my health,” he says. Meanwhile, Jesica D’Avanza, author of the blog rUnladylike, relies on the app to stay on top of her nutrition. “My Fitness Pal is incredibly helpful for keeping track of the food I eat to ensure that, as an athlete, I’m getting the right mix of proteins, carbs and fats as well as eating enough calories for the amount of physical activity I’m doing,” says the runner, triathlete and marathon coach. (Free; myfitnesspal.com) RELATED: The 10 Biggest Diet Mistakes, According to Experts

Your Running Toolkit

[caption id="attachment_41821" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Health Gadgets That Experts Wish You Used Photo: Pond5[/caption] 8. The Spring Moves App There’s no doubt the right music can put a spring in your step. With Spring Moves, you can more easily match your running cadence to your tunes. All you have to do is run to the beat to stay on track. “As a sports doc, I love this app for my patients since I’m always trying to get them to quicken their cadence and shorten their stride, thereby reducing their risk of injury,” says Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine doctor and creator of the Ironstrength Workout. “It’s much more user-friendly than counting steps.” (Free; springmoves.com) 9. The Strava App If a little healthy competition is what motivates you, then Strava is the app for you. With Strava, you can compare your runs (or rides) against your past efforts, or go head-to-head with others in the community. “It’s the perfect app for anyone who has a competitive edge, whether you are competing against yourself to beat your best time or looking at the long list of athletes who beat you on the big climb or portion of your run or ride,” says Jamie King, CEO and founder of FitApproach and SweatGuru. (Free; strava.com) RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It 10. Bluetooth Headphones There’s nothing worse than getting tangled up in your headphone cords when you’re out for a run. That’s why Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN relies on her Motorola bluetooth headphones. “[They] make it so much easier to head outside for a walk or run without being tethered to your phone or strapping on some uncomfortable, sweaty, ill-fitting armband,” she says. “You can listen to music and take phone calls without touching your phone.” ($43.95; amazon.com) 11. GPS Running Watch Some runners may say that a GPS running watch isn’t just a cool technology — it’s a necessary one. At a basic level, these watches track distance, pace and time. But opinions are split as to which device does it all best. Several run-nerds we spoke with swear by their Garmins, including Jeff Gaudette, Head Coach and founder of RunnersConnect. “There's nothing more important than getting an accurate time, distance and pace for your run and Garmin makes some sleek watches that get the job done,” says Gaudette. Meanwhile, King recommends the Suunto Ambit2, an integrated GPS and heart rate monitor. “This GPS watch truly does it all — from recording workouts, heart rate monitoring and even weather functions,” she says. You can also download running apps designed to improve your performance directly to your watch. And if you want to monitor your heart rate but hate wearing a chest strap, check out the TomTom Runner Watch. Orlando says it’s his favorite piece of fitness technology because it accurately tracks his stats and easily syncs to his phone and apps like My Fitness Pal. Amanda Brooks, the voice of the blog Run To The Finish, depends on her TomTom to help her stick to her training methodology. “As someone who follows low heart rate training, I have fallen head over heels for the TomTom Runner watch,” she says. “It measures heart rate through the watch strap, removing the need to wear that infuriating chest strap!”

Disclosure: All products featured on our site are carefully selected and vetted in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. In some cases, you might come across an affiliate link on our site, which means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. 

The post 11 Health Gadgets Experts Wish You’d Use appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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5 Sun Safety Apps for Monitoring UV Index http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/sun-safety-apps-for-uv-index/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/sun-safety-apps-for-uv-index/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 11:15:54 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=30498 Sun Safety Apps for UV Index

[caption id="attachment_30499" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Sun Safety Apps for Monitoring UV Index Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Spoiler alert: Even on cool summer days, you still need to layer on sunscreen to avoid ending up with a red-hot burn. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels, which cause sunburn, can still harm you even if it isn’t sunny and warm outside. There’s no correlation between UV levels and temperature, so the sun’s rays can singe you during both winter and summer! And though laying out on the beach may feel great, excessive UV exposure can lead to cataracts, premature skin aging, sunburn and skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. If you spend time outside during any season, it’s important to know when your skin is most at risk for sun damage.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that. New smartphone tools can provide detailed predictions on what times of day are most dangerous to be outside, based on the UV index. A scale from zero (least dangerous) to 11 (most dangerous), UV index is calculated by accounting for sunlight angle, forecasted cloud cover, elevation and ozone throughout the day.

RELATED: 7 Must-Have Products for Sun Protection

Use these apps to figure out when you are most vulnerable to burning. Plus, we’ve got one that will help you monitor your moles just in case you already spent a little too much time outside.

 The Best Apps for UV Index and Skin Safety

1. Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference AppWolfram
Based on your skin type, what SPF you’re wearing and the UV forecast for your location, this comprehensive app can predict exactly how long you can stay in the sun before burning. Organizing a trip to the shore? Check out a five-day UV forecast displayed on a map, and find out what hours each day you should minimize sun exposure. ($0.99; available for iOS)

 

2. Ultraviolet ~ UV IndexUltraviolet UV index
Keep things simple with this cool tracker, which displays the current UV index in your area using a large, vibrantly colored circle. Blues and greens mean you’re in the clear while reds and purples mean a dangerously high index. General sun safety advice will tip you off for when it’s time to put on a hat, apply sunscreen or avoid going outside altogether. Just the bare necessities for when you’re bare at the beach. (Free; available for iOS)

 

3. EPA’s SunWise UV IndexSunWise
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed this easy-to-navigate application, which delivers location-based UV index information. Ideal for plan-ahead types, the most useful feature is the color-coded hourly forecast that makes it easy to spot when the UV index is highest. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

 

4. TANtasticTantastic
Heading to the beach or a tanning bed to bronze is never a good idea. Instead of using this app to tan, repurpose it to help you be smarter about sun exposure. TANtastic gives a five-day UV index and weather forecast, including temperature, wind, humidity and chance of rain. Keep your sun minutes to a minimum by using the tool’s timer to remind you when to reapply sunscreen or seek shade. (Free; available for iOS)

 

5. Doctor Mole – Skin Cancer AppDoctor Mole
Even SPF junkies need to monitor their moles for changes. If you’ve had at least five sunburns, your risk for melanoma will double, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Though moles can be benign, it’s essential to monitor the size and shape of the small brown spots on your body in case they do become cancerous. Enter Doctor Mole, an app that assesses your moles’ border, color and diameter. There’s an archive for images so you can determine if and how your moles are changing and whether it’s time to see a health care professional. ($4.99; available for iOS and Android)

 

Originally posted on August 4, 2014. Updated on May 2015. 

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Sun Safety Apps for UV Index

[caption id="attachment_30499" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Sun Safety Apps for Monitoring UV Index Photo: Pond5[/caption] Spoiler alert: Even on cool summer days, you still need to layer on sunscreen to avoid ending up with a red-hot burn. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels, which cause sunburn, can still harm you even if it isn’t sunny and warm outside. There’s no correlation between UV levels and temperature, so the sun’s rays can singe you during both winter and summer! And though laying out on the beach may feel great, excessive UV exposure can lead to cataracts, premature skin aging, sunburn and skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. If you spend time outside during any season, it’s important to know when your skin is most at risk for sun damage. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. New smartphone tools can provide detailed predictions on what times of day are most dangerous to be outside, based on the UV index. A scale from zero (least dangerous) to 11 (most dangerous), UV index is calculated by accounting for sunlight angle, forecasted cloud cover, elevation and ozone throughout the day. RELATED: 7 Must-Have Products for Sun Protection Use these apps to figure out when you are most vulnerable to burning. Plus, we’ve got one that will help you monitor your moles just in case you already spent a little too much time outside.

 The Best Apps for UV Index and Skin Safety

1. Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference AppWolfram Based on your skin type, what SPF you’re wearing and the UV forecast for your location, this comprehensive app can predict exactly how long you can stay in the sun before burning. Organizing a trip to the shore? Check out a five-day UV forecast displayed on a map, and find out what hours each day you should minimize sun exposure. ($0.99; available for iOS)   2. Ultraviolet ~ UV IndexUltraviolet UV index Keep things simple with this cool tracker, which displays the current UV index in your area using a large, vibrantly colored circle. Blues and greens mean you’re in the clear while reds and purples mean a dangerously high index. General sun safety advice will tip you off for when it’s time to put on a hat, apply sunscreen or avoid going outside altogether. Just the bare necessities for when you’re bare at the beach. (Free; available for iOS)   3. EPA’s SunWise UV IndexSunWise The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed this easy-to-navigate application, which delivers location-based UV index information. Ideal for plan-ahead types, the most useful feature is the color-coded hourly forecast that makes it easy to spot when the UV index is highest. (Free; available for iOS and Android)   4. TANtasticTantastic Heading to the beach or a tanning bed to bronze is never a good idea. Instead of using this app to tan, repurpose it to help you be smarter about sun exposure. TANtastic gives a five-day UV index and weather forecast, including temperature, wind, humidity and chance of rain. Keep your sun minutes to a minimum by using the tool’s timer to remind you when to reapply sunscreen or seek shade. (Free; available for iOS)   5. Doctor Mole – Skin Cancer AppDoctor Mole Even SPF junkies need to monitor their moles for changes. If you’ve had at least five sunburns, your risk for melanoma will double, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Though moles can be benign, it’s essential to monitor the size and shape of the small brown spots on your body in case they do become cancerous. Enter Doctor Mole, an app that assesses your moles’ border, color and diameter. There’s an archive for images so you can determine if and how your moles are changing and whether it’s time to see a health care professional. ($4.99; available for iOS and Android)   Originally posted on August 4, 2014. Updated on May 2015. 

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What Apple’s New ResearchKit Means for Your Health http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/news-researchkit-apple-health-apps-031215/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/news-researchkit-apple-health-apps-031215/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:15:10 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=38125 Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate?

[caption id="attachment_38129" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple Health Apps ResearchKit Photo: Apple.com[/caption]

You probably know at least one of the millions of Americans affected by asthma, diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease or Parkinson’s. Despite the prevalence of these illnesses, it’s not always easy for researchers to gather the data essential to understanding and treating these conditions. Now, that may change. This week, Apple announced a new tool, ResearchKit, which aims to revolutionize medical research by allowing you to sign up for clinical trails through your iPhone.

RELATED: Apple Watch Promises to Change Your Workouts Forever

That’s right: Medical research just got way more mainstream. ResearchKit is an open access (translation: available to anyone) tool that makes it easy for doctors and researchers to build health apps — even if they aren’t super tech savvy. “This dramatically lowers the barrier of entry for physicians and researchers to design their own apps,” says Dr. Stanley Shaw, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-director of the Center for Assessment, Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH). Shaw worked with ResearchKit to design GlucoSuccess, a clinical trial app geared towards people with type 2 diabetes.

Here’s why Apple’s latest announcement might be a game changer for the medical research world — and for patients, too.

Making Clinical Trials Bigger and Better

Start reorganizing your iPhone app folders. Thanks to ResearchKit, there are now five free apps available to people wishing to participate in clinical trials via their phone: GlucoSuccess, Asthma Health, mPower, for Parkinson’s patients, Share the Journey, for breast cancer patients, and My Heart Counts, which helps analyze cardiovascular disease risk. After consenting to become a part of the trial, users will receive instructions as to how often they should use the app. Data entry can be as easy as reporting how they felt or what they ate that day, or as involved as doing a series of simple tasks on their iPhone screen, depending on the app.

"In the first 12 to 24 hours, over 4,000 individuals signed up to participate and downloaded the app."

Since even your grandma might own a smartphone by now, researchers are getting access to a massive pool of study participants. Especially compared to standard clinical trials, which are typically done only in large, urban medical centers. “In the traditional trials, the findings may only be applicable to, for example, the Upper East Side [of New York City]. With this, the results are generalizable to the U.S. or the globe,” says Dr. Yvonne Chan, an emergency medicine physician at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who led work on their Asthma Health app. “It’s kind of mind-boggling.”

RELATED: Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One?

Furthermore, most clinical trials collect data only periodically, requiring people to recall behaviors or symptoms that occurred over the past months or weeks — and self-reported data can be unreliable. Can you remember how many servings of fruit you ate last month? We didn’t think so.

“It’s really updating public health research from the era of questionnaires to using the smartphone as a way to collect data,” Shaw says. “We will understand how individuals respond differently to activity, dietary components and other things like whether they are taking their medications, and we’ll be able to analyze this over what we hope will be tens of thousand of people.”

Dr. Ray Dorsey, a professor of neurology and co-director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says they’ve already seen impressive levels of interest in their mPower Parkinson’s app. “In the first 12 to 24 hours, over 4,000 individuals signed up to participate and downloaded the app. That’s unprecedented. By comparison, the largest clinical trial [up until now] was 1,700 people.”

Worried about privacy? Apple says they won’t be looking at any of your data. Plus, each app has special precautions in place to protect the identity of the user. (For example, by giving out participant ID numbers, rather than identifying users by their full name.)

[caption id="attachment_38136" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple Health Apps ResearchKit Photo: Apple.com[/caption]

ResearchKit: Improving Care for Millions

Wondering what’s in it for you? ResearchKit isn’t just about making life easier for your doctor. It also aims to empower patients to better manage long-term diseases. For people with diabetes, the app could help them pinpoint which habits they should ramp up (or tone down) to keep their glucose levels in check.

“It will break down their best glucose days and compare them to their worst glucose

days,’ Shaw says. “You might say, ‘I see on the app that I walk 700 more steps on days when my glucose is in the best control.’ That may help encourage them to form a habit.”

RELATED: The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap

Asthma sufferers may learn more about how seasonality, or even pollution affects their symptoms. Chan says she hopes to eventually develop algorithms that will allow the app to advise users on how to avoid triggers. “We are hoping to gain access to a lot of objective data from location specific GPS, on environmental pollution.”

And Parkinson’s patients may be able to finally pinpoint the things that increase or decrease the symptoms of their disease. “The app has four ways of measuring [symptoms]: one is voice, the second is speed of movement by tapping on the app, the third if the ability to use accelerometers and gyroscopes in the smartphone to measure posture by standing still for 30 seconds, and the fourth is to measure gait,” Dorsey says.

In the future, Dorsey hopes the app will allow participants to determine which behaviors — like sleep, physical activity, or taking medications — ease their symptoms. “They can exercise and come home and do the tapping test to see if their speed is better or not,” Dorsey says.

Perhaps most exciting, the information coming from these apps could change the way these diseases are treated in the future. “We think this data and having objective sensitive measures will make the development of new drugs and devices faster and more efficient,” Dorsey says. “We’ll be able to tell if they’re working.”

For more information about Apple’s ResearchKit apps, head to apple.com/researchkit.

The post What Apple’s New ResearchKit Means for Your Health appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate?

[caption id="attachment_38129" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple Health Apps ResearchKit Photo: Apple.com[/caption] You probably know at least one of the millions of Americans affected by asthma, diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease or Parkinson’s. Despite the prevalence of these illnesses, it’s not always easy for researchers to gather the data essential to understanding and treating these conditions. Now, that may change. This week, Apple announced a new tool, ResearchKit, which aims to revolutionize medical research by allowing you to sign up for clinical trails through your iPhone. RELATED: Apple Watch Promises to Change Your Workouts Forever That’s right: Medical research just got way more mainstream. ResearchKit is an open access (translation: available to anyone) tool that makes it easy for doctors and researchers to build health apps — even if they aren’t super tech savvy. “This dramatically lowers the barrier of entry for physicians and researchers to design their own apps,” says Dr. Stanley Shaw, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-director of the Center for Assessment, Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH). Shaw worked with ResearchKit to design GlucoSuccess, a clinical trial app geared towards people with type 2 diabetes. Here’s why Apple’s latest announcement might be a game changer for the medical research world — and for patients, too.

Making Clinical Trials Bigger and Better

Start reorganizing your iPhone app folders. Thanks to ResearchKit, there are now five free apps available to people wishing to participate in clinical trials via their phone: GlucoSuccess, Asthma Health, mPower, for Parkinson’s patients, Share the Journey, for breast cancer patients, and My Heart Counts, which helps analyze cardiovascular disease risk. After consenting to become a part of the trial, users will receive instructions as to how often they should use the app. Data entry can be as easy as reporting how they felt or what they ate that day, or as involved as doing a series of simple tasks on their iPhone screen, depending on the app.
"In the first 12 to 24 hours, over 4,000 individuals signed up to participate and downloaded the app."
Since even your grandma might own a smartphone by now, researchers are getting access to a massive pool of study participants. Especially compared to standard clinical trials, which are typically done only in large, urban medical centers. “In the traditional trials, the findings may only be applicable to, for example, the Upper East Side [of New York City]. With this, the results are generalizable to the U.S. or the globe,” says Dr. Yvonne Chan, an emergency medicine physician at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who led work on their Asthma Health app. “It’s kind of mind-boggling.” RELATED: Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One? Furthermore, most clinical trials collect data only periodically, requiring people to recall behaviors or symptoms that occurred over the past months or weeks — and self-reported data can be unreliable. Can you remember how many servings of fruit you ate last month? We didn’t think so. “It’s really updating public health research from the era of questionnaires to using the smartphone as a way to collect data,” Shaw says. “We will understand how individuals respond differently to activity, dietary components and other things like whether they are taking their medications, and we’ll be able to analyze this over what we hope will be tens of thousand of people.” Dr. Ray Dorsey, a professor of neurology and co-director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says they’ve already seen impressive levels of interest in their mPower Parkinson’s app. “In the first 12 to 24 hours, over 4,000 individuals signed up to participate and downloaded the app. That’s unprecedented. By comparison, the largest clinical trial [up until now] was 1,700 people.” Worried about privacy? Apple says they won’t be looking at any of your data. Plus, each app has special precautions in place to protect the identity of the user. (For example, by giving out participant ID numbers, rather than identifying users by their full name.) [caption id="attachment_38136" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple Health Apps ResearchKit Photo: Apple.com[/caption]

ResearchKit: Improving Care for Millions

Wondering what’s in it for you? ResearchKit isn’t just about making life easier for your doctor. It also aims to empower patients to better manage long-term diseases. For people with diabetes, the app could help them pinpoint which habits they should ramp up (or tone down) to keep their glucose levels in check. “It will break down their best glucose days and compare them to their worst glucose days,’ Shaw says. “You might say, ‘I see on the app that I walk 700 more steps on days when my glucose is in the best control.’ That may help encourage them to form a habit.” RELATED: The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap Asthma sufferers may learn more about how seasonality, or even pollution affects their symptoms. Chan says she hopes to eventually develop algorithms that will allow the app to advise users on how to avoid triggers. “We are hoping to gain access to a lot of objective data from location specific GPS, on environmental pollution.” And Parkinson’s patients may be able to finally pinpoint the things that increase or decrease the symptoms of their disease. “The app has four ways of measuring [symptoms]: one is voice, the second is speed of movement by tapping on the app, the third if the ability to use accelerometers and gyroscopes in the smartphone to measure posture by standing still for 30 seconds, and the fourth is to measure gait,” Dorsey says. In the future, Dorsey hopes the app will allow participants to determine which behaviors — like sleep, physical activity, or taking medications — ease their symptoms. “They can exercise and come home and do the tapping test to see if their speed is better or not,” Dorsey says. Perhaps most exciting, the information coming from these apps could change the way these diseases are treated in the future. “We think this data and having objective sensitive measures will make the development of new drugs and devices faster and more efficient,” Dorsey says. “We’ll be able to tell if they’re working.” For more information about Apple’s ResearchKit apps, head to apple.com/researchkit.

The post What Apple’s New ResearchKit Means for Your Health appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-fitness-apps-yoga/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-fitness-apps-yoga/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:15:15 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=33084 The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yogis

[caption id="attachment_33123" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yogis Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The explosion of yoga apps has made it easier than ever to reap the benefits of yoga when you’re not in the studio. And if the lingering winter weather is getting in the way of your gym or running routine, why not practice yoga in the comfort of your own home? Plus, these yoga apps are much less expensive than steep boutique prices, which can climb up to $25 a class. So which ones are worth a download? Whether you’re looking to stream a class, build your own flows or improve your technique, there’s an app for that. We’ve got the scoop on the 11 best yoga apps for every type of yogi (listed in no particular order).

RELATED: How to Get the Benefits of Hot Yoga — Without Passing Out

The Best Fitness Apps for Every Type of Yogi

[caption id="attachment_33094" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga Studio Fitness App Photo: Yoga Studio[/caption]

1. Yoga Studio
Best for: Variety Seekers
This comprehensive app delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Browse the library of 65 yoga and meditation classes, which are sorted by level and focus (balance, flexibility, relaxation and strength). Want to chaturanga to Calvin Harris? Play your own iTunes songs through the app while listening to the teacher’s cues for each pose. ($3.99; available on iOS)

[caption id="attachment_33087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Pocket Yoga Fitness App Photo: Pocket Yoga[/caption]

2. Pocket Yoga
Best for: Heart Rate Junkies
Elite athletes use heart rate training to track exertion during a workout and yogis can, too with this app that syncs with your heart rate monitor. Send your calories burned and heart rate straight to Apple’s new HealthKit if you’ve got an iPhone 6. Choose from 27 different sessions (led by an illustrated figure), or browse the pose dictionary if you’re a beginner and want unstructured practice. ($2.99; iOS, Android) 

 

[caption id="attachment_33088" align="alignnone" width="620"]3D Yoga Anatomy Fitness App Photo: 3D Yoga Anatomy[/caption]

3. 3D Yoga Anatomy
Best for: Nerdy Yogis
Want a scientifically proven way to get the most out of every pose? This app’s 40 pose illustrations show which muscles are shortening, lengthening and stabilizing — and how you can deepen each asana. Looking for ways to up your intensity even more? Browse variations of backbends, arm balances and inversions. ($3.99; iOS) 

 

[caption id="attachment_33089" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga.com Studio Fitness App Photo: Yoga.com Studio[/caption]

4. Yoga.com Studio (All-in Yoga)
Best for: Holistic Health Fiends
Looking for flows that promise “headache relief,” a “slender waist,” or perhaps something to ignite “burning desire”? Turn to Yoga.com’s 45 unique, photo-illustrated programs. Make the programs your own by adding or subtracting poses from each routine. To cap off your session, upload a photo of yourself and connect with other Yoga.com users on the Inspire feed. ($3.99; iOS, Android)

RELATED: Yoga 101: How to Fix Your Chaturanga Pose

 

[caption id="attachment_20123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beautiful Belly App Photo: Beautiful Belly[/caption]

5. Beautiful Belly Pre & Postnatal Yoga
Best for: Pregnant Yogis
Not sure how to adjust your asanas now that you’ve got a baby on-board? Led by renowned yoga instructor Briohny Smyth, this 12-part yoga practice has three video sessions designed to fit the needs of women during each trimester of pregnancy. And once you’ve delivered, there are three additional postnatal videos available to help soothe soreness from childbirth and rebuild strength. For a full-screen experience, you can stream workouts on your TV using AirPlay, Chromecast, Roku or one of the other supported devices. (Free for first trimester, $4.99 for additional trimesters; iOS)

 

[caption id="attachment_33100" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kids Yogaverse Fitness App Photo: Kids Yogaverse[/caption]

6. I AM LOVE by Kids Yogaverse
Best for: Little Yogis
This engaging storybook app is sure to hold any kid’s attention — and perhaps even bring a little zen to your mini-me’s daily activities. Designed with four to eight year olds in mind, the interactive narrative has an easy-to-follow yoga flow accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations and soothing music. The simple poses and breathing exercises are a great way to promote relaxation and concentration. ($3.99; iOS)

 

[caption id="attachment_33097" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyYoga Fitness App Photo: DailyYoga[/caption]

7. DailyYoga
Best for: Yogis on a Time Crunch
All of the practices on DailyYoga are under 30 minutes, meaning this app is perfect for practicing in a pinch. Browse 50 classes that are sorted by body part (abs, back, butt, chest) and yoga skills (standing yoga, sun salutation). Want to skip part of a sequence or pause at certain poses? Tap the images on the right side of the screen. (Free; iOS, Android)

RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress 

 

[caption id="attachment_33092" align="alignnone" width="620"]Pocket Yoga Practice Builder Fitness App Photo: Pocket Yoga[/caption]

8. Pocket Yoga – Practice Builder
Best for: Instructors & DIY yogis
Some apps allow yogis to build custom routines, but Pocket Yoga users can do that and then some. If you need help creating a practice, tap on your current pose and see a list of suggested movements that flow naturally to the next asana. Once you’ve chosen the order and duration of each pose from the easy-to-navigate menu, choose some background music and share your unique practice via email, text or AirDrop. ($6.99; iOS)

 

[caption id="attachment_33102" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Yoga Fitness App Photo: DailyBurn[/caption]

9. DailyBurn Yoga
Best for: All-Around Athletes
Designed for yogis looking to stay fit and increase flexibility, DailyBurn’s two-month yoga program alternates between challenging flows and more meditative sessions. Want to broaden your fitness routine from vinyasa flows to other types of training? Complement your yoga practice with a full range of kettlebell workouts, HIIT routines, and more, all available within the same app. (Free for 30 days; iOSAndroid)

 

[caption id="attachment_33104" align="alignnone" width="620"]Flying Therapeutics Fitness App Photo: Flying Therapeutics[/caption]

10. Flying Therapeutics Acroyoga Beginners
Best for: Daring Duos
Grab a dependable partner and cue up flows designed to test strength, balance, flexibility — and trust. Created with beginners in mind, this app has three complete practices, each containing text descriptions of every move. Thanks to 50 videos, you can view every acrobatic pose from multiple angles (which you’ll be thankful for when you’re suspended mid-air!) ($6.99; iOS)

 

[caption id="attachment_33106" align="alignnone" width="620"]YogaGlo Fitness App Photo: YogaGlo[/caption]

11. YogaGlo Offline Viewing App
Best for: Globetrotting Yogis
Planning a trip to a Wi-Fi-free destination? Download your favorite YogaGlo routines from well-known yogis like Kathryn Budig, Seane Corn, Dice Iida-Klein and more, then stream the videos on-the-go. Your account has room to sync up to 10 videos — enough to keep you in and out of downward dog until the end of your trip. (Free for 15 days; iOS, Android)

Originally posted October 2014. Updated March 2015. 

Note to reader: Some content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn. 

The post The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yogis

[caption id="attachment_33123" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yogis Photo: Pond5[/caption] The explosion of yoga apps has made it easier than ever to reap the benefits of yoga when you’re not in the studio. And if the lingering winter weather is getting in the way of your gym or running routine, why not practice yoga in the comfort of your own home? Plus, these yoga apps are much less expensive than steep boutique prices, which can climb up to $25 a class. So which ones are worth a download? Whether you’re looking to stream a class, build your own flows or improve your technique, there’s an app for that. We’ve got the scoop on the 11 best yoga apps for every type of yogi (listed in no particular order). RELATED: How to Get the Benefits of Hot Yoga — Without Passing Out

The Best Fitness Apps for Every Type of Yogi

[caption id="attachment_33094" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga Studio Fitness App Photo: Yoga Studio[/caption] 1. Yoga Studio Best for: Variety Seekers This comprehensive app delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Browse the library of 65 yoga and meditation classes, which are sorted by level and focus (balance, flexibility, relaxation and strength). Want to chaturanga to Calvin Harris? Play your own iTunes songs through the app while listening to the teacher’s cues for each pose. ($3.99; available on iOS) [caption id="attachment_33087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Pocket Yoga Fitness App Photo: Pocket Yoga[/caption] 2. Pocket Yoga Best for: Heart Rate Junkies Elite athletes use heart rate training to track exertion during a workout and yogis can, too with this app that syncs with your heart rate monitor. Send your calories burned and heart rate straight to Apple’s new HealthKit if you’ve got an iPhone 6. Choose from 27 different sessions (led by an illustrated figure), or browse the pose dictionary if you’re a beginner and want unstructured practice. ($2.99; iOS, Android)    [caption id="attachment_33088" align="alignnone" width="620"]3D Yoga Anatomy Fitness App Photo: 3D Yoga Anatomy[/caption] 3. 3D Yoga Anatomy Best for: Nerdy Yogis Want a scientifically proven way to get the most out of every pose? This app’s 40 pose illustrations show which muscles are shortening, lengthening and stabilizing — and how you can deepen each asana. Looking for ways to up your intensity even more? Browse variations of backbends, arm balances and inversions. ($3.99; iOS)    [caption id="attachment_33089" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga.com Studio Fitness App Photo: Yoga.com Studio[/caption] 4. Yoga.com Studio (All-in Yoga) Best for: Holistic Health Fiends Looking for flows that promise “headache relief,” a “slender waist,” or perhaps something to ignite “burning desire”? Turn to Yoga.com’s 45 unique, photo-illustrated programs. Make the programs your own by adding or subtracting poses from each routine. To cap off your session, upload a photo of yourself and connect with other Yoga.com users on the Inspire feed. ($3.99; iOS, Android) RELATED: Yoga 101: How to Fix Your Chaturanga Pose   [caption id="attachment_20123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beautiful Belly App Photo: Beautiful Belly[/caption] 5. Beautiful Belly Pre & Postnatal Yoga Best for: Pregnant Yogis Not sure how to adjust your asanas now that you’ve got a baby on-board? Led by renowned yoga instructor Briohny Smyth, this 12-part yoga practice has three video sessions designed to fit the needs of women during each trimester of pregnancy. And once you’ve delivered, there are three additional postnatal videos available to help soothe soreness from childbirth and rebuild strength. For a full-screen experience, you can stream workouts on your TV using AirPlay, Chromecast, Roku or one of the other supported devices. (Free for first trimester, $4.99 for additional trimesters; iOS)   [caption id="attachment_33100" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kids Yogaverse Fitness App Photo: Kids Yogaverse[/caption] 6. I AM LOVE by Kids Yogaverse Best for: Little Yogis This engaging storybook app is sure to hold any kid’s attention — and perhaps even bring a little zen to your mini-me’s daily activities. Designed with four to eight year olds in mind, the interactive narrative has an easy-to-follow yoga flow accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations and soothing music. The simple poses and breathing exercises are a great way to promote relaxation and concentration. ($3.99; iOS)   [caption id="attachment_33097" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyYoga Fitness App Photo: DailyYoga[/caption] 7. DailyYoga Best for: Yogis on a Time Crunch All of the practices on DailyYoga are under 30 minutes, meaning this app is perfect for practicing in a pinch. Browse 50 classes that are sorted by body part (abs, back, butt, chest) and yoga skills (standing yoga, sun salutation). Want to skip part of a sequence or pause at certain poses? Tap the images on the right side of the screen. (Free; iOS, Android) RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress    [caption id="attachment_33092" align="alignnone" width="620"]Pocket Yoga Practice Builder Fitness App Photo: Pocket Yoga[/caption] 8. Pocket Yoga – Practice Builder Best for: Instructors & DIY yogis Some apps allow yogis to build custom routines, but Pocket Yoga users can do that and then some. If you need help creating a practice, tap on your current pose and see a list of suggested movements that flow naturally to the next asana. Once you’ve chosen the order and duration of each pose from the easy-to-navigate menu, choose some background music and share your unique practice via email, text or AirDrop. ($6.99; iOS)   [caption id="attachment_33102" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Yoga Fitness App Photo: DailyBurn[/caption] 9. DailyBurn Yoga Best for: All-Around Athletes Designed for yogis looking to stay fit and increase flexibility, DailyBurn’s two-month yoga program alternates between challenging flows and more meditative sessions. Want to broaden your fitness routine from vinyasa flows to other types of training? Complement your yoga practice with a full range of kettlebell workouts, HIIT routines, and more, all available within the same app. (Free for 30 days; iOSAndroid)   [caption id="attachment_33104" align="alignnone" width="620"]Flying Therapeutics Fitness App Photo: Flying Therapeutics[/caption] 10. Flying Therapeutics Acroyoga Beginners Best for: Daring Duos Grab a dependable partner and cue up flows designed to test strength, balance, flexibility — and trust. Created with beginners in mind, this app has three complete practices, each containing text descriptions of every move. Thanks to 50 videos, you can view every acrobatic pose from multiple angles (which you’ll be thankful for when you’re suspended mid-air!) ($6.99; iOS)   [caption id="attachment_33106" align="alignnone" width="620"]YogaGlo Fitness App Photo: YogaGlo[/caption] 11. YogaGlo Offline Viewing App Best for: Globetrotting Yogis Planning a trip to a Wi-Fi-free destination? Download your favorite YogaGlo routines from well-known yogis like Kathryn Budig, Seane Corn, Dice Iida-Klein and more, then stream the videos on-the-go. Your account has room to sync up to 10 videos — enough to keep you in and out of downward dog until the end of your trip. (Free for 15 days; iOS, Android) Originally posted October 2014. Updated March 2015.  Note to reader: Some content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn. 

The post The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Improve Your Mobility for CrossFit with This App http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/mobility-crossfit-app-mymobility/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/mobility-crossfit-app-mymobility/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:15:24 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=37316 MyMobility Crossfit App


Your smartphone is about to help you crush your next WOD. Enter MyMobility, an app designed to educate CrossFit beginners on how to jump into the popular workout regimen. Plus, veterans of the functional fitness program will pick up some mobility tips and tricks. The brainchild of CrossFit pro athlete Noah Ohlsen and several other coaches, the app includes suggestions for pre-workout warm-ups and post-workout recovery that complement common CrossFit movements.

RELATED: 5 CrossFit Workouts That Will Kick Your Butt

“For CrossFit, as opposed to other exercise routines, movement and positioning is really important,” says Noah Ohlsen, the 8th Fittest Man in the World at the 2014 CrossFit Games. “A lot of beginners need to work on their squat,” he says. “If you know that your hips are what’s tight and are causing trouble with the squat, you can go to the recovery section [of the app] and hit ‘Hips.’”

[caption id="attachment_37330" align="alignnone" width="620"]MyMobility Crossfit App Photos: MyMobility[/caption]

Drop It Like a Squat

No clue where to start when it comes to mastering movements like the muscle-up, deadlift, double under and more? MyMobility serves up useful information for learning correct techniques. Tap a movement and you’ll have the option to learn activation exercises, warm-up and cool-down stretches and mobility drills that will help you maximize your workout.

Activation exercises will prep the muscles that need to fire at full speed during your workout.

Activation exercises, such as glute brides and rotational lunges will help ensure your body is limber enough to properly execute key movements like the clean and squat. It’s also an effective way to adequately prep the muscles that will need to fire at full speed during your workout.

Used to holding static stretches before jumping in? It’s time to un-learn those old P.E. routines. You don’t want to stretch out too much before attempting your next PR, Ohlsen warns. “You want to activate rather than loosen,” he says. “Static stretches [e.g. a quad or calf stretch] are better suited for after a workout."

Ohlsen and CrossFit coach and personal trainer Courtney Bubeck also demonstrate proper form for each and every movement in the app. You’ll finally know the difference between a clean, jerk and chest-to-bar without frantically Googling each move when you see them listed in tomorrow’s WOD. Newbies can study the moves before even stepping into the local box.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Relieve Post-Workout Pain

[caption id="attachment_37336" align="alignnone" width="620"]MyMobility CrossFit App Photos: MyMobility[/caption]

Plus, the recovery section of the app recommends specific stretches to loosen up any tight areas you may have. Learn how to perform self-myofascial release (self-massage) with a foam roller or lacrosse ball to relieve muscle tension. By recovering properly after a tough WOD, you’ll be better prepared to hit it just as hard next time, too.

Ready to rock those snatches? Learn more about MyMobility here, or download it on iOS or Android for $2.99.

The post Improve Your Mobility for CrossFit with This App appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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MyMobility Crossfit App

Your smartphone is about to help you crush your next WOD. Enter MyMobility, an app designed to educate CrossFit beginners on how to jump into the popular workout regimen. Plus, veterans of the functional fitness program will pick up some mobility tips and tricks. The brainchild of CrossFit pro athlete Noah Ohlsen and several other coaches, the app includes suggestions for pre-workout warm-ups and post-workout recovery that complement common CrossFit movements. RELATED: 5 CrossFit Workouts That Will Kick Your Butt “For CrossFit, as opposed to other exercise routines, movement and positioning is really important,” says Noah Ohlsen, the 8th Fittest Man in the World at the 2014 CrossFit Games. “A lot of beginners need to work on their squat,” he says. “If you know that your hips are what’s tight and are causing trouble with the squat, you can go to the recovery section [of the app] and hit ‘Hips.’” [caption id="attachment_37330" align="alignnone" width="620"]MyMobility Crossfit App Photos: MyMobility[/caption]

Drop It Like a Squat

No clue where to start when it comes to mastering movements like the muscle-up, deadlift, double under and more? MyMobility serves up useful information for learning correct techniques. Tap a movement and you’ll have the option to learn activation exercises, warm-up and cool-down stretches and mobility drills that will help you maximize your workout.
Activation exercises will prep the muscles that need to fire at full speed during your workout.
Activation exercises, such as glute brides and rotational lunges will help ensure your body is limber enough to properly execute key movements like the clean and squat. It’s also an effective way to adequately prep the muscles that will need to fire at full speed during your workout. Used to holding static stretches before jumping in? It’s time to un-learn those old P.E. routines. You don’t want to stretch out too much before attempting your next PR, Ohlsen warns. “You want to activate rather than loosen,” he says. “Static stretches [e.g. a quad or calf stretch] are better suited for after a workout." Ohlsen and CrossFit coach and personal trainer Courtney Bubeck also demonstrate proper form for each and every movement in the app. You’ll finally know the difference between a clean, jerk and chest-to-bar without frantically Googling each move when you see them listed in tomorrow’s WOD. Newbies can study the moves before even stepping into the local box. RELATED: 7 Ways to Relieve Post-Workout Pain [caption id="attachment_37336" align="alignnone" width="620"]MyMobility CrossFit App Photos: MyMobility[/caption] Plus, the recovery section of the app recommends specific stretches to loosen up any tight areas you may have. Learn how to perform self-myofascial release (self-massage) with a foam roller or lacrosse ball to relieve muscle tension. By recovering properly after a tough WOD, you’ll be better prepared to hit it just as hard next time, too. Ready to rock those snatches? Learn more about MyMobility here, or download it on iOS or Android for $2.99.

The post Improve Your Mobility for CrossFit with This App appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Why Apps Might Be Just as Good as Wearables for Tracking Steps http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/news-wearables-smartphones-tracking-steps-021214/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/news-wearables-smartphones-tracking-steps-021214/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:15:10 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=37227 Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate?

[caption id="attachment_37237" align="alignnone" width="620"]Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Can’t afford a $300 tracking device to record your steps? Turns out you might not need to shell out the big bucks just to hit your daily goal of 10,000 paces per day.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that smartphone apps could be just as accurate as wearable devices, and comparable to pedometers and accelerometers, when it comes to tallying your strides.

“Much of the attention goes to wearable devices,” study author Mitesh S. Patel, MD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, says. “But, more than 65 percent own a smartphone and carry it most of the day when walking around and doing activities.” Which begs the question: Are we tapping into its full potential?

RELATED: The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yoga

How Accurate Is Your Smartphone, Really?

In his technology showdown, Patel and his team decided to test the accuracy of 10 step-tracking devices, including a range of apps, wearables, a pedometer and two accelerometers. The tech gear that was tested included the:

  • Moves Apps (on Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5s phones)
  • Health Mate App (on the iPhone 5s)
  • FitBit App (on the iPhone 5s)
  • Nike Fuelband
  • Jawbone UP25
  • Fitbit Flex
  • Fitbit One
  • Fitbit Zip
  • Digi-Walker SW-200

In the small study, the researchers asked 14 volunteers to wear all 10 devices at once, and then walk on a treadmill for 500 steps and 1,500 steps, two times each. Once they hit their step goal, they climbed off the treadmill and the researchers compared the results for each tracker.

The Digi-Walker SW-200 pedometer and the FitBit Zip and FitBit One accelerometer devices proved the most accurate at counting steps. Patel notes that the Digi-Walker SW-200’s accuracy has been validated by other research studies, as well. “Pedometers have been the gold standards used for decades, but one of the challenges is that people aren’t walking around with their pedometers,” Patel says.

RELATED: 8 Killer Treadmill Classes (Plus Cardio Workouts to Try Now)

Among the other devices, the results were more varied. “For the most part we found these were all fairly accurate and good for what the average individual wanted to do,” Patel says. However, they noted that the accuracy of the smartphone apps in the study was comparable to, and at times even better than, the accuracy of some of the more expensive wearable devices tested.

"If they have a smartphone, they can download a free app and start tracking steps within minutes."

Case in point: The variability in accuracy between the smartphone apps and the observed step count was measured at a 6 percent relative difference in mean step count, which is “very close,” according to Patel. However, the wearable devices showed more of a range. One device, the Nike FuelBand, differed from the observed step count by more than 20 percent.

While the researchers aren’t sure why the wearable devices didn’t appear to be as consistently accurate, Patel notes, “One question is whether the location of the devices makes a difference. Wearables you tend to wear on your wrist, while smartphones are in people’s pockets, which is where the natural movement is occurring in the hips.” The small number of participants in the study, and the limited scope of devices tested, are also both limitations that should be considered when analyzing the study’s results.

RELATED: Why Your Fitness Tracker Isn’t Making You Thinner — Yet

Stepping Up Your Fitness Game

In short, if you’ve been putting off setting a daily physical activity goal because you can’t afford a tracker — don’t let that hold you back. “The key takeaway is that for the average individual who just wants to gauge if they are getting enough activity, any of these devices will do,” Patel says. “If they have a smartphone, they can download a free app and start tracking steps within minutes, a lot of times at no cost.”

Though only three apps were tested in this study, Patel says that many step-tracking apps use the same technology, so users should find the one that works best for them. “The second thing to keep in mind is…it’s a good first step that these are accurate but we need to combine these devices with appropriate engagement strategies.”

Patel and his team are in the midst of several clinical trials to test how tracking devices can be used in combination with social and financial incentives to encourage people to lose weight and get healthy. “Once we figure out the best engagement strategy, we can apply it to other devices, whether we’re helping people to remember to take medicine, manage weight loss, or sleep more.”

The post Why Apps Might Be Just as Good as Wearables for Tracking Steps appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate?

[caption id="attachment_37237" align="alignnone" width="620"]Wearables vs. Smartphones: Which Is More Accurate? Photo: Pond5[/caption] Can’t afford a $300 tracking device to record your steps? Turns out you might not need to shell out the big bucks just to hit your daily goal of 10,000 paces per day. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that smartphone apps could be just as accurate as wearable devices, and comparable to pedometers and accelerometers, when it comes to tallying your strides. “Much of the attention goes to wearable devices,” study author Mitesh S. Patel, MD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, says. “But, more than 65 percent own a smartphone and carry it most of the day when walking around and doing activities.” Which begs the question: Are we tapping into its full potential? RELATED: The 11 Best Fitness Apps for Yoga

How Accurate Is Your Smartphone, Really?

In his technology showdown, Patel and his team decided to test the accuracy of 10 step-tracking devices, including a range of apps, wearables, a pedometer and two accelerometers. The tech gear that was tested included the:
  • Moves Apps (on Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5s phones)
  • Health Mate App (on the iPhone 5s)
  • FitBit App (on the iPhone 5s)
  • Nike Fuelband
  • Jawbone UP25
  • Fitbit Flex
  • Fitbit One
  • Fitbit Zip
  • Digi-Walker SW-200
In the small study, the researchers asked 14 volunteers to wear all 10 devices at once, and then walk on a treadmill for 500 steps and 1,500 steps, two times each. Once they hit their step goal, they climbed off the treadmill and the researchers compared the results for each tracker. The Digi-Walker SW-200 pedometer and the FitBit Zip and FitBit One accelerometer devices proved the most accurate at counting steps. Patel notes that the Digi-Walker SW-200’s accuracy has been validated by other research studies, as well. “Pedometers have been the gold standards used for decades, but one of the challenges is that people aren’t walking around with their pedometers,” Patel says. RELATED: 8 Killer Treadmill Classes (Plus Cardio Workouts to Try Now) Among the other devices, the results were more varied. “For the most part we found these were all fairly accurate and good for what the average individual wanted to do,” Patel says. However, they noted that the accuracy of the smartphone apps in the study was comparable to, and at times even better than, the accuracy of some of the more expensive wearable devices tested.
"If they have a smartphone, they can download a free app and start tracking steps within minutes."
Case in point: The variability in accuracy between the smartphone apps and the observed step count was measured at a 6 percent relative difference in mean step count, which is “very close,” according to Patel. However, the wearable devices showed more of a range. One device, the Nike FuelBand, differed from the observed step count by more than 20 percent. While the researchers aren’t sure why the wearable devices didn’t appear to be as consistently accurate, Patel notes, “One question is whether the location of the devices makes a difference. Wearables you tend to wear on your wrist, while smartphones are in people’s pockets, which is where the natural movement is occurring in the hips.” The small number of participants in the study, and the limited scope of devices tested, are also both limitations that should be considered when analyzing the study’s results. RELATED: Why Your Fitness Tracker Isn’t Making You Thinner — Yet

Stepping Up Your Fitness Game

In short, if you’ve been putting off setting a daily physical activity goal because you can’t afford a tracker — don’t let that hold you back. “The key takeaway is that for the average individual who just wants to gauge if they are getting enough activity, any of these devices will do,” Patel says. “If they have a smartphone, they can download a free app and start tracking steps within minutes, a lot of times at no cost.” Though only three apps were tested in this study, Patel says that many step-tracking apps use the same technology, so users should find the one that works best for them. “The second thing to keep in mind is…it’s a good first step that these are accurate but we need to combine these devices with appropriate engagement strategies.” Patel and his team are in the midst of several clinical trials to test how tracking devices can be used in combination with social and financial incentives to encourage people to lose weight and get healthy. “Once we figure out the best engagement strategy, we can apply it to other devices, whether we’re helping people to remember to take medicine, manage weight loss, or sleep more.”

The post Why Apps Might Be Just as Good as Wearables for Tracking Steps appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Why Your Fitness Tracker Isn’t Making You Thinner — Yet http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fitness-tracker-tips-011515/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fitness-tracker-tips-011515/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:15:05 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=36233 Fitness Tracker Tricks

[caption id="attachment_36240" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitness Tracker Tricks Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you were gifted a fitness tracker this year, we bet you had grand ambitions of using it to finally get fit. You swore you’d take 10,000 steps a day, log miles, track calories, count your zzz’s and maybe even monitor your heart rate.

Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, odds are that little device is now sitting abandoned at the bottom of your sock drawer. One survey indicates that more than half of people who purchase a wearable device eventually stop using it, and more than one-third do so within six months.

Sales of wearable devices are predicted to surpass $50 billion annually by 2018 — but are they really making us fitter? The key to getting the most from your tracker might lie in embracing a few simple strategies proven to elicit lasting behavioral changes, according to a new study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Wearable devices have gotten a lot of interest in their potential impact to improve individuals’ health, but there’s been littlie evidence that these alone can help people sustain changes in behavior,” says study author Mitesh S. Patel, MD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “The more important part is building effective strategies to engage individuals around these devices.”

RELATED: 4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out

4 Ways to Get the Most from Your Tracker

Luckily, Patel and his colleagues have pinpointed some easy tricks that will help you make tracking a useful health habit — rather than one more thing that lands in the New Year’s Resolution graveyard.

1. Make Yourself an Offer You Can’t Refuse

Money talks when it comes to motivating yourself to reach your goals. Patel points out that behavioral economics tells us that people are irrational. For example, despite the fact that we all know it’s good for us to eat healthy and exercise, many of us don’t do it — unless we have something else to incentivize us. In other words, it might take some cold hard cash (or the threat of losing that cold hard cash) to finally drive us to take 10,000 steps per day, or finally lose weight. Patel advises finding a program that will instill you with anticipatory regret — anxiety over the consequences of your bad health decisions — to give you an extra push.

RELATED: Would You Pay $447 for a Yoga SmartMat?

One option? Set up an account on Stickk.com. Aim to hit certain goals on your tracker, and create a customized commitment contract on the site guaranteeing that you’ll lose a certain amount of money for every day you slack off. Whether you risk losing $1 per day or $10, the anticipated regret of not hitting your goal will keep you on your toes — literally.

2. Don’t Over-Accessorize

No matter how convenient it may seem to clip a tracker onto your shoe, belt or bra strap, you’re less likely to stick with using it if it requires adding an extra step to your daily routine. “When you ask someone to carry around a wearable, you’re asking them to do two things: Put it on and be more active,” Patel says. While only one to two percent of people currently tote around wearable devices, 65 percent of us own a smartphone — and bring it everywhere. “Many people carry smartphones everywhere they go, so they’re used to doing it,” Patel says. “If we really wanted to improve the health of the population, smartphone [trackers] are an easier place to start.” If you wear a watch everyday, a wrist tracker might work for you, too.

RELATED: Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One?

[caption id="attachment_36241" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitness Tracker Tricks Photo: Pond5[/caption]


3. 
Get Realistic with Your Goals

Pledging to monitor your heart rate, sleep, macros and also reach a goal of 10,000 steps per day might be setting your sights too high. First of all, it might be best to leave tracking your vitals to a professional — there’s not much evidence suggesting that the average fitness tracker can accurately monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, or other medical markers, Patel says.

Devices that track your steps have proven to be fairly accurate — but the key to wearing them consistently might lie in being realistic about what you’d like to achieve, Patel says. “The average person walks 5,000 steps per day, and the average sedentary person walks less than 3,500 steps,” Patel says. “[You might] need to set more reasonable goals: 7,000 steps per day is equivalent to the federal guidelines for minimum physical activity.” If you find yourself seriously struggling to reach 10,000 steps per day, don’t chuck your tracker and give up. Aim for a smaller number and gradually work your way up. .

RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

4. Don’t Go It Alone

Find yourself rolling your eyes when friends share Nike+ posts every time they log miles? Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. People who share their tracking results are getting valuable social reinforcement from those Instagram posts. “When you post that you ran however many miles and get positive feedback that’s helpful,” Patel says.

Not into publicly sharing your stats with strangers? Grab a few tracker-owning friends, and set goals together. “If whatever you’re aiming for is contingent on everyone on the team walking a minimum level off steps, you’ll feel accountable to teammates and that’s very motivating,” Patel says.

If some of your friends also unwrapped trackers this year, apps for devices like Up by Jawbone allow you to form teams to work towards goals. Those who have at least three or more people on their squad tend to move at least 10 extra miles per month, according to Jawbone. FitBit’s app allows you and your friends to compete on a “leaderboard,” another motivating force that will help you claw your way towards your fitness goals.

“I think wearable devices’ technology will improve over time — and they will become more affordable,” Patel says. “The most important thing is less about which tracker you’re using, or the features [it has], but more about how are you using them.”

What’s your trick for remembering to use your tracker? Tell us in the comments section.

The post Why Your Fitness Tracker Isn’t Making You Thinner — Yet appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Fitness Tracker Tricks

[caption id="attachment_36240" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitness Tracker Tricks Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you were gifted a fitness tracker this year, we bet you had grand ambitions of using it to finally get fit. You swore you’d take 10,000 steps a day, log miles, track calories, count your zzz’s and maybe even monitor your heart rate. Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, odds are that little device is now sitting abandoned at the bottom of your sock drawer. One survey indicates that more than half of people who purchase a wearable device eventually stop using it, and more than one-third do so within six months. Sales of wearable devices are predicted to surpass $50 billion annually by 2018 — but are they really making us fitter? The key to getting the most from your tracker might lie in embracing a few simple strategies proven to elicit lasting behavioral changes, according to a new study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Wearable devices have gotten a lot of interest in their potential impact to improve individuals’ health, but there’s been littlie evidence that these alone can help people sustain changes in behavior,” says study author Mitesh S. Patel, MD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “The more important part is building effective strategies to engage individuals around these devices.” RELATED: 4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out

4 Ways to Get the Most from Your Tracker

Luckily, Patel and his colleagues have pinpointed some easy tricks that will help you make tracking a useful health habit — rather than one more thing that lands in the New Year’s Resolution graveyard.

1. Make Yourself an Offer You Can’t Refuse

Money talks when it comes to motivating yourself to reach your goals. Patel points out that behavioral economics tells us that people are irrational. For example, despite the fact that we all know it’s good for us to eat healthy and exercise, many of us don’t do it — unless we have something else to incentivize us. In other words, it might take some cold hard cash (or the threat of losing that cold hard cash) to finally drive us to take 10,000 steps per day, or finally lose weight. Patel advises finding a program that will instill you with anticipatory regret — anxiety over the consequences of your bad health decisions — to give you an extra push. RELATED: Would You Pay $447 for a Yoga SmartMat? One option? Set up an account on Stickk.com. Aim to hit certain goals on your tracker, and create a customized commitment contract on the site guaranteeing that you’ll lose a certain amount of money for every day you slack off. Whether you risk losing $1 per day or $10, the anticipated regret of not hitting your goal will keep you on your toes — literally.

2. Don’t Over-Accessorize

No matter how convenient it may seem to clip a tracker onto your shoe, belt or bra strap, you’re less likely to stick with using it if it requires adding an extra step to your daily routine. “When you ask someone to carry around a wearable, you’re asking them to do two things: Put it on and be more active,” Patel says. While only one to two percent of people currently tote around wearable devices, 65 percent of us own a smartphone — and bring it everywhere. “Many people carry smartphones everywhere they go, so they’re used to doing it,” Patel says. “If we really wanted to improve the health of the population, smartphone [trackers] are an easier place to start.” If you wear a watch everyday, a wrist tracker might work for you, too. RELATED: Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One? [caption id="attachment_36241" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitness Tracker Tricks Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Get Realistic with Your Goals

Pledging to monitor your heart rate, sleep, macros and also reach a goal of 10,000 steps per day might be setting your sights too high. First of all, it might be best to leave tracking your vitals to a professional — there’s not much evidence suggesting that the average fitness tracker can accurately monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, or other medical markers, Patel says. Devices that track your steps have proven to be fairly accurate — but the key to wearing them consistently might lie in being realistic about what you’d like to achieve, Patel says. “The average person walks 5,000 steps per day, and the average sedentary person walks less than 3,500 steps,” Patel says. “[You might] need to set more reasonable goals: 7,000 steps per day is equivalent to the federal guidelines for minimum physical activity.” If you find yourself seriously struggling to reach 10,000 steps per day, don’t chuck your tracker and give up. Aim for a smaller number and gradually work your way up. . RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

4. Don’t Go It Alone

Find yourself rolling your eyes when friends share Nike+ posts every time they log miles? Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. People who share their tracking results are getting valuable social reinforcement from those Instagram posts. “When you post that you ran however many miles and get positive feedback that’s helpful,” Patel says. Not into publicly sharing your stats with strangers? Grab a few tracker-owning friends, and set goals together. “If whatever you’re aiming for is contingent on everyone on the team walking a minimum level off steps, you’ll feel accountable to teammates and that’s very motivating,” Patel says. If some of your friends also unwrapped trackers this year, apps for devices like Up by Jawbone allow you to form teams to work towards goals. Those who have at least three or more people on their squad tend to move at least 10 extra miles per month, according to Jawbone. FitBit’s app allows you and your friends to compete on a “leaderboard,” another motivating force that will help you claw your way towards your fitness goals. “I think wearable devices’ technology will improve over time — and they will become more affordable,” Patel says. “The most important thing is less about which tracker you’re using, or the features [it has], but more about how are you using them.” What’s your trick for remembering to use your tracker? Tell us in the comments section.

The post Why Your Fitness Tracker Isn’t Making You Thinner — Yet appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 5 Best Apps to Track Macros On the Go http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/food-diary-app-tracking-macros/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/food-diary-app-tracking-macros/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:15:32 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=36063 Tracking Macros

[caption id="attachment_36123" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 5 Best Apps to Track Macros On the Go Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Counting calories is so last year. Targeting macros (macronutrients like protein, carbs and fats) will help keep you focused on food composition and overall healthfulness rather than just low-calorie options. And hey, you are what you eat! If you give your body the right kinds of nutrients, you’ll have enough energy to crush your next workout instead of feeling fatigued, cranky and craving those foods you’re trying to avoid.

“Not paying attention to nutrition while going after your fitness goals is like trying to start a fire with unseasoned, wet firewood,” says DailyBurn trainer Ben Booker. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build lean muscle, the first step is taking a hard look at how you’re fueling your furnace. “Start learning what is entering your body,” says Booker, who recommends keeping track of macros instead of obsessing over calories.

RELATED: If It Fits Your Macros: The IIFYM Diet, Made Simple

Does tracking three things sound tedious to you? Luckily, you can record your food and keep an eye on proteins, carbs and fats with just a few taps, thanks to a new crop of food diary apps. Nutrition is part science, part art, and at the end of the day, we all know that abs are made in the kitchen! Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder, a recreational athlete or someone hoping to shed a few pounds, we’ve got the scoop on how to track macros with these five easy-to-navigate apps.

A Food Diary App for Every Personality

[caption id="attachment_36105" align="alignnone" width="620"]My Macros Food Diary App Photos: My Macros+[/caption]

1. My Macros+
Best for: Motivated Meal Planners
Created by a former bodybuilder, this comprehensive app delivers a lot of bang for your buck. At the top of the screen, red numerals show you how many of each nutrient (protein, carbs and fat) you have remaining for the rest of your day as you input saved meals or foods from the library. Looking to eat fewer carbs on a recovery day? The app will let you save different macronutrient “goals” that you can choose between, meaning intermittent fasters or athletes whose daily diets often change dramatically will be able to easily switch their goal when desired intake changes. ($2.99; iOS)

[caption id="attachment_36106" align="alignnone" width="620"]My Fitness Pal Food Diary App Photos: My Fitness Pal[/caption]

2. My Fitness Pal
Best for: First-Time Food Loggers
With an easy-to-navigate interface, this app is a great choice for those trying food journaling for the first time. Save and re-use your logged meals, which can be built from the four million foods in the My Fitness Pal database. Best of all, there’s a barcode scanner that can help easily input your daily diet. While you’ll only be able to set a caloric goal and not a macronutrient goal, you’ll still be able to see your nutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrition” pie chart icon at the bottom of the “Diary” screen. Red, blue and green slices make visualizing your progress a piece of cake! Check out your weekly breakdown under the “Nutrition” tab in the menu. (Free; iOS, Android)

RELATED: How to Detox the Healthy Way: 16 Recipes You’ll Love

[caption id="attachment_36102" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitocracy Food Diary App Photos: Fitocracy[/caption]

3. Fitocracy Macros
Best for: Macro Minimalists
Want just the essentials? This newly launched app puts macro counts front and center in a clear and simple Venn diagram on its home screen. If you need help determining your nutrient breakdown, a built-in calculator can help you set reasonable goals. Next, input your carbs, fats and protein for every meal and track your trends over time. You'll be able to save the stats for the meals you eat most frequently. (Note: Since this app tracks macros and does not log food, you need to know how much of each nutrient are in your own grub.) (Free; iOS)

[caption id="attachment_36126" align="alignnone" width="620"]Nutritionist Food Diary App Photos: Nutritionist[/caption]

4. Nutritionist
Best for: Real Food Rookies
Ideal for beginners who need some extra help along the way, this supportive app includes tons of useful tips and tricks so users have the best food logging experience possible. Portion control ideas make sure you won’t overindulge and pop-up alerts can remind you to weigh-in or have a healthy afternoon snack. Compare how your actual macro intake stacks up against your daily target each day. Plus, the app auto-adjusts your caloric goals when your body composition changes. If your Wi-Fi is spotty or you’re constantly logging on-the-go, rest assured that the complete food database is available offline, too. ($3.99; iOS, Android)

RELATED: 13 Quick and Easy Protein Shake Recipes

[caption id="attachment_36103" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lose It Food Diary App Photos: Lose It![/caption]

5. Lose It!
Best for: Social Foodies
Recommended by many nutritionists, Lose It! is an easy way to track edibles and also connect with food-conscious friends. Plus, Apple users are in luck — you can quickly build your Lose It profile by syncing with the HealthKit available on iOS 8. Within the Lose It! app, review your macronutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrients” tab. And thanks to a brightly colored circle in the middle of the home screen, calorie counters can gauge how much they should eat for the rest of the day. Want to know how you’ve fared all week long? Green and red bars indicate which days you hit the mark or overindulged. Bonus: The app now suggests healthy restaurants nearby. (Free; iOS, Android)

The post The 5 Best Apps to Track Macros On the Go appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Tracking Macros

[caption id="attachment_36123" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 5 Best Apps to Track Macros On the Go Photo: Pond5[/caption] Counting calories is so last year. Targeting macros (macronutrients like protein, carbs and fats) will help keep you focused on food composition and overall healthfulness rather than just low-calorie options. And hey, you are what you eat! If you give your body the right kinds of nutrients, you’ll have enough energy to crush your next workout instead of feeling fatigued, cranky and craving those foods you’re trying to avoid. “Not paying attention to nutrition while going after your fitness goals is like trying to start a fire with unseasoned, wet firewood,” says DailyBurn trainer Ben Booker. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build lean muscle, the first step is taking a hard look at how you’re fueling your furnace. “Start learning what is entering your body,” says Booker, who recommends keeping track of macros instead of obsessing over calories. RELATED: If It Fits Your Macros: The IIFYM Diet, Made Simple Does tracking three things sound tedious to you? Luckily, you can record your food and keep an eye on proteins, carbs and fats with just a few taps, thanks to a new crop of food diary apps. Nutrition is part science, part art, and at the end of the day, we all know that abs are made in the kitchen! Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder, a recreational athlete or someone hoping to shed a few pounds, we’ve got the scoop on how to track macros with these five easy-to-navigate apps.

A Food Diary App for Every Personality

[caption id="attachment_36105" align="alignnone" width="620"]My Macros Food Diary App Photos: My Macros+[/caption] 1. My Macros+ Best for: Motivated Meal Planners Created by a former bodybuilder, this comprehensive app delivers a lot of bang for your buck. At the top of the screen, red numerals show you how many of each nutrient (protein, carbs and fat) you have remaining for the rest of your day as you input saved meals or foods from the library. Looking to eat fewer carbs on a recovery day? The app will let you save different macronutrient “goals” that you can choose between, meaning intermittent fasters or athletes whose daily diets often change dramatically will be able to easily switch their goal when desired intake changes. ($2.99; iOS) [caption id="attachment_36106" align="alignnone" width="620"]My Fitness Pal Food Diary App Photos: My Fitness Pal[/caption] 2. My Fitness Pal Best for: First-Time Food Loggers With an easy-to-navigate interface, this app is a great choice for those trying food journaling for the first time. Save and re-use your logged meals, which can be built from the four million foods in the My Fitness Pal database. Best of all, there’s a barcode scanner that can help easily input your daily diet. While you’ll only be able to set a caloric goal and not a macronutrient goal, you’ll still be able to see your nutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrition” pie chart icon at the bottom of the “Diary” screen. Red, blue and green slices make visualizing your progress a piece of cake! Check out your weekly breakdown under the “Nutrition” tab in the menu. (Free; iOS, Android) RELATED: How to Detox the Healthy Way: 16 Recipes You’ll Love [caption id="attachment_36102" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fitocracy Food Diary App Photos: Fitocracy[/caption] 3. Fitocracy Macros Best for: Macro Minimalists Want just the essentials? This newly launched app puts macro counts front and center in a clear and simple Venn diagram on its home screen. If you need help determining your nutrient breakdown, a built-in calculator can help you set reasonable goals. Next, input your carbs, fats and protein for every meal and track your trends over time. You'll be able to save the stats for the meals you eat most frequently. (Note: Since this app tracks macros and does not log food, you need to know how much of each nutrient are in your own grub.) (Free; iOS) [caption id="attachment_36126" align="alignnone" width="620"]Nutritionist Food Diary App Photos: Nutritionist[/caption] 4. Nutritionist Best for: Real Food Rookies Ideal for beginners who need some extra help along the way, this supportive app includes tons of useful tips and tricks so users have the best food logging experience possible. Portion control ideas make sure you won’t overindulge and pop-up alerts can remind you to weigh-in or have a healthy afternoon snack. Compare how your actual macro intake stacks up against your daily target each day. Plus, the app auto-adjusts your caloric goals when your body composition changes. If your Wi-Fi is spotty or you’re constantly logging on-the-go, rest assured that the complete food database is available offline, too. ($3.99; iOS, Android) RELATED: 13 Quick and Easy Protein Shake Recipes [caption id="attachment_36103" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lose It Food Diary App Photos: Lose It![/caption] 5. Lose It! Best for: Social Foodies Recommended by many nutritionists, Lose It! is an easy way to track edibles and also connect with food-conscious friends. Plus, Apple users are in luck — you can quickly build your Lose It profile by syncing with the HealthKit available on iOS 8. Within the Lose It! app, review your macronutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrients” tab. And thanks to a brightly colored circle in the middle of the home screen, calorie counters can gauge how much they should eat for the rest of the day. Want to know how you’ve fared all week long? Green and red bars indicate which days you hit the mark or overindulged. Bonus: The app now suggests healthy restaurants nearby. (Free; iOS, Android)

The post The 5 Best Apps to Track Macros On the Go appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One? http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/apple-healthkit-review/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/apple-healthkit-review/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:15:35 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=32122 Apple HealthKit

[caption id="attachment_32126" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple HealthKit Photo: Apple[/caption]

Keeping track of your workouts, weight and even medical records may get a whole lot easier with the launch of Apple’s new HealthKit tool this month.

If you’ve spent any time perusing the iTunes app store recently, you know there are a dizzying number of apps promising to track your weight, nutrition, vital stats and more. Yet, recalling which app does what (and remembering to actually use them) can be difficult, if not impossible. In a bid to make all that easier, Apple is rolling out their new Health app, powered by an innovative new tool called HealthKit.

Available to any iPhone or iPod Touch users on an iOS 8 device (translation: iPhones 4 through 6), HealthKit aggregates data from your phone’s health apps and stores it in one place. The app will be a perma-fixture on your iPhone’s screen, similarly to the Clock or Maps apps that come pre-loaded on your device.

RELATED: The Best New GPS Watches for Fitness Tracking

Numerous fitness and weight loss companies (including DailyBurn) have already agreed to share data with HealthKit. And for those who choose to opt in, the tool promises to become a place where you can simultaneously see information from your Jawbone, MyFitness Pal Calorie Counter app, or favorite workout program, all at the same time.   

[caption id="attachment_32127" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple HealthKit Photo: Apple[/caption]

Why Some Doctors Are Getting on Board

HealthKit also has the capability to sync up to your private medical records, allowing you to track health data, and communicate with your doctors on a secure network. Users can even program the app's Medical ID feature to reveal pre-existing conditions, allergies and medications to responders in the event of an emergency.

In Stanford’s pilot study, patients can share blood sugar data through HealthKit, sending it directly to their physicians.

People with chronic health conditions may benefit as well: Medical teams at Stanford University are currently in the midst of launching a pilot program that will allow pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes to more easily track their blood sugar utilizing HealthKit.

“A lot of what we do in type 1 diabetes is big data. We’re always looking at blood sugar trends, the frequency of hypoglycemia, and [how] we can intervene to smooth out blood sugar,” says Dr. Rajiv Kumar, the physician at Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford Medicine leading the study. “The first day I saw a patient with type 1 diabetes, I knew there had to be a better way of doing what we were doing.”

RELATED: Apple Watch Promises to Change Your Workouts Forever

Currently, patients with diabetes track their blood sugar levels on their own, print out their data, and bring it into a clinic for analysis every three months, according to Kumar. These infrequent visits make it especially difficult to monitor pediatric diabetic patients, who are constantly growing and needing adjustments to their diet.

In Stanford’s pilot study, patients (or parents) can share blood sugar data through HealthKit, sending it directly to their physicians through an app called MyChart, which is run by the electronic medical records company Epic Systems. “I can set up parameters once I’ve requested data; what is too low [for blood sugar], what is too high, how often I get it. Then the patient can send other data or notes, and I can reply back and give my assessment right through MyChart,” Kumar says.

Will Your Data Be Private?

When sharing sensitive medical information electronically, privacy becomes a big concern. According to Apple, apps that share information with HealthKit are all required to have privacy policies, and users should read them carefully before downloading anything to their phone. The company also recently updated their privacy policies for health apps, forbidding developers from selling any health information or utilizing health data for purposes other than for providing health and fitness services. Apple did not respond to further requests for comment on their privacy measures. 

Kumar says he believes the Health app actually offers a more private medium for communication with teens than his usual fallback — the text message. 

"They can send data through their devices at school, or the school nurse can enter that data, and we can all work together as a team.”

“We figured anything is better than what we’re currently doing, specifically for teens,” says Kumar. “[HealthKit] makes life a lot easier for them in the sense that they can ask questions without having to go home and write an email…they can send data through their devices at school, or the school nurse can enter that data, and we can all work together as a team.”

Eventually, Kumar hopes patients won’t even need to enter their data — and that blood sugar monitoring devices will be able to automatically upload readings to the app without the need for intermediary steps.

Android-compatible versions of a similar data-aggregating services have already been announced, such as Google Fit. And more smartphone-based health tools will surely continue to pop up. An app will never replace the need for an actual visit to your doctor’s office — and only time will tell how enthusiastic users will be about meticulously tracking mobile fitness and medical data. But if Apple’s new creation makes us all a little more health conscious, it might be worth a prominent spot on your screen.  

 Will you give the new Health app a try? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

The post Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Apple HealthKit

[caption id="attachment_32126" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple HealthKit Photo: Apple[/caption]

Keeping track of your workouts, weight and even medical records may get a whole lot easier with the launch of Apple’s new HealthKit tool this month.

If you’ve spent any time perusing the iTunes app store recently, you know there are a dizzying number of apps promising to track your weight, nutrition, vital stats and more. Yet, recalling which app does what (and remembering to actually use them) can be difficult, if not impossible. In a bid to make all that easier, Apple is rolling out their new Health app, powered by an innovative new tool called HealthKit.

Available to any iPhone or iPod Touch users on an iOS 8 device (translation: iPhones 4 through 6), HealthKit aggregates data from your phone’s health apps and stores it in one place. The app will be a perma-fixture on your iPhone’s screen, similarly to the Clock or Maps apps that come pre-loaded on your device.

RELATED: The Best New GPS Watches for Fitness Tracking

Numerous fitness and weight loss companies (including DailyBurn) have already agreed to share data with HealthKit. And for those who choose to opt in, the tool promises to become a place where you can simultaneously see information from your Jawbone, MyFitness Pal Calorie Counter app, or favorite workout program, all at the same time.   

[caption id="attachment_32127" align="alignnone" width="620"]Apple HealthKit Photo: Apple[/caption]

Why Some Doctors Are Getting on Board

HealthKit also has the capability to sync up to your private medical records, allowing you to track health data, and communicate with your doctors on a secure network. Users can even program the app's Medical ID feature to reveal pre-existing conditions, allergies and medications to responders in the event of an emergency.

In Stanford’s pilot study, patients can share blood sugar data through HealthKit, sending it directly to their physicians.

People with chronic health conditions may benefit as well: Medical teams at Stanford University are currently in the midst of launching a pilot program that will allow pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes to more easily track their blood sugar utilizing HealthKit.

“A lot of what we do in type 1 diabetes is big data. We’re always looking at blood sugar trends, the frequency of hypoglycemia, and [how] we can intervene to smooth out blood sugar,” says Dr. Rajiv Kumar, the physician at Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford Medicine leading the study. “The first day I saw a patient with type 1 diabetes, I knew there had to be a better way of doing what we were doing.”

RELATED: Apple Watch Promises to Change Your Workouts Forever

Currently, patients with diabetes track their blood sugar levels on their own, print out their data, and bring it into a clinic for analysis every three months, according to Kumar. These infrequent visits make it especially difficult to monitor pediatric diabetic patients, who are constantly growing and needing adjustments to their diet.

In Stanford’s pilot study, patients (or parents) can share blood sugar data through HealthKit, sending it directly to their physicians through an app called MyChart, which is run by the electronic medical records company Epic Systems. “I can set up parameters once I’ve requested data; what is too low [for blood sugar], what is too high, how often I get it. Then the patient can send other data or notes, and I can reply back and give my assessment right through MyChart,” Kumar says.

Will Your Data Be Private?

When sharing sensitive medical information electronically, privacy becomes a big concern. According to Apple, apps that share information with HealthKit are all required to have privacy policies, and users should read them carefully before downloading anything to their phone. The company also recently updated their privacy policies for health apps, forbidding developers from selling any health information or utilizing health data for purposes other than for providing health and fitness services. Apple did not respond to further requests for comment on their privacy measures. 

Kumar says he believes the Health app actually offers a more private medium for communication with teens than his usual fallback — the text message. 

"They can send data through their devices at school, or the school nurse can enter that data, and we can all work together as a team.”

“We figured anything is better than what we’re currently doing, specifically for teens,” says Kumar. “[HealthKit] makes life a lot easier for them in the sense that they can ask questions without having to go home and write an email…they can send data through their devices at school, or the school nurse can enter that data, and we can all work together as a team.”

Eventually, Kumar hopes patients won’t even need to enter their data — and that blood sugar monitoring devices will be able to automatically upload readings to the app without the need for intermediary steps.

Android-compatible versions of a similar data-aggregating services have already been announced, such as Google Fit. And more smartphone-based health tools will surely continue to pop up. An app will never replace the need for an actual visit to your doctor’s office — and only time will tell how enthusiastic users will be about meticulously tracking mobile fitness and medical data. But if Apple’s new creation makes us all a little more health conscious, it might be worth a prominent spot on your screen.  

 Will you give the new Health app a try? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

The post Apple HealthKit: Trainer, Doctor and Nutritionist in One? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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runScribe: Can This Gadget Prevent Running Injuries? http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/runscribe-gadget-wearable-tech-running-injuries/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/runscribe-gadget-wearable-tech-running-injuries/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:15:31 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=31923 runScribe

[caption id="attachment_31934" align="alignnone" width="620"]runScribe Photo: runScribe[/caption]

Whether you’re a weekend jogger or a competitive marathoner, odds are good that you'll get hurt at some point. Data suggests that up to 80 percent of runners will be sidelined by injury in a given year. So while we may be “born to run,” we also have a tendency to overdo it on the trail, track or pavement. RunScribe, an ambitious new wearable gadget, aspires to help runners train better and avoid overtaxing their bodies. How? By empowering athletes and coaches with sophisticated information on how much stress the body sustains during training runs on various types of terrain and in different footwear. But can mounting an eraser-sized device on the back of your shoe really help you run smarter?

Make Meaning of Your Miles 

The idea is to give athletes a quick way to evaluate how much stress the body withstands on a given training day.

The secret to this small but mighty device is found within its nine-axis sensor. It automatically turns on when you start moving and will wirelessly upload mileage, pace and stride length data via Bluetooth to its accompanying mobile app (iOS and Android) when your sweat session is over. In addition to tracking those statistics, runScribe collects detailed intel on foot strike, pronation, exposure to g-forces and more. The app will calculate 13 different kinematic metrics in total.

Based on the collected data, users will receive a “runScore” for every short jog or long run. But higher or lower is not necessarily better or worse. It’s supposed to be an “intensity metric,” explains Tim Clark, one of runScribe’s co-founders. “You’ll get a big [runScore] number if you go out today and do a crazy hill workout — hard effort, really high impact G’s,” he says. The idea is to give athletes and coaches a quick way to evaluate how a runner’s body is reacting and how much stress it withstands on a given training day. Plus, the app will prompt users to rate levels of pain and discomfort in different parts of the body.

runscore runscribe

Another advantage of knowing these stats after a training run? You can compare different sneakers, so you’ll finally know exactly how your body performs in each pair. For example, you can examine the tradeoffs like shock absorption, foot strike and contact time of more supportive shoes versus lighter, minimalist kicks. Plus, the numbers won’t lie when it’s time to buy a new pair. “If your shoes are wearing out and your impact G’s are going up, you’ll know,” says Clark.

runscribe shoe comparison

No Pain, More Gain 

Perhaps best of all, Clark and cofounder John Litschert, a biomechanist, intend to create a large database from runScribe’s crowdsourced metrics in hopes that it will provide insight into how and why runners get hurt. Researchers still don’t know which combination of factors — be it shoe technology, training errors or bad running form — put runners at risk most. But the potential for analyzing thousands of real-world runs could reveal some patterns and also inspire Clark and Litschert to develop new runScribe innovations that could help runners even more. 

Thanks to the roaring success of runScribe’s Kickstarter campaign, it appears that even more exciting features could be en route. The campaign, which began August 21, 2014, has raised almost $200,000, roughly 400 percent of its original goal. If runScribe production continues according to schedule, the units will ship just in time for those turkey trots in late-November.

Want to get in on the action? One runScribe and a starter pack are currently priced at $99, and you can head to the Kickstarter page to pledge your support.

The post runScribe: Can This Gadget Prevent Running Injuries? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
runScribe

[caption id="attachment_31934" align="alignnone" width="620"]runScribe Photo: runScribe[/caption]

Whether you’re a weekend jogger or a competitive marathoner, odds are good that you'll get hurt at some point. Data suggests that up to 80 percent of runners will be sidelined by injury in a given year. So while we may be “born to run,” we also have a tendency to overdo it on the trail, track or pavement. RunScribe, an ambitious new wearable gadget, aspires to help runners train better and avoid overtaxing their bodies. How? By empowering athletes and coaches with sophisticated information on how much stress the body sustains during training runs on various types of terrain and in different footwear. But can mounting an eraser-sized device on the back of your shoe really help you run smarter?

Make Meaning of Your Miles 

The idea is to give athletes a quick way to evaluate how much stress the body withstands on a given training day.

The secret to this small but mighty device is found within its nine-axis sensor. It automatically turns on when you start moving and will wirelessly upload mileage, pace and stride length data via Bluetooth to its accompanying mobile app (iOS and Android) when your sweat session is over. In addition to tracking those statistics, runScribe collects detailed intel on foot strike, pronation, exposure to g-forces and more. The app will calculate 13 different kinematic metrics in total.

Based on the collected data, users will receive a “runScore” for every short jog or long run. But higher or lower is not necessarily better or worse. It’s supposed to be an “intensity metric,” explains Tim Clark, one of runScribe’s co-founders. “You’ll get a big [runScore] number if you go out today and do a crazy hill workout — hard effort, really high impact G’s,” he says. The idea is to give athletes and coaches a quick way to evaluate how a runner’s body is reacting and how much stress it withstands on a given training day. Plus, the app will prompt users to rate levels of pain and discomfort in different parts of the body.

runscore runscribe

Another advantage of knowing these stats after a training run? You can compare different sneakers, so you’ll finally know exactly how your body performs in each pair. For example, you can examine the tradeoffs like shock absorption, foot strike and contact time of more supportive shoes versus lighter, minimalist kicks. Plus, the numbers won’t lie when it’s time to buy a new pair. “If your shoes are wearing out and your impact G’s are going up, you’ll know,” says Clark.

runscribe shoe comparison

No Pain, More Gain 

Perhaps best of all, Clark and cofounder John Litschert, a biomechanist, intend to create a large database from runScribe’s crowdsourced metrics in hopes that it will provide insight into how and why runners get hurt. Researchers still don’t know which combination of factors — be it shoe technology, training errors or bad running form — put runners at risk most. But the potential for analyzing thousands of real-world runs could reveal some patterns and also inspire Clark and Litschert to develop new runScribe innovations that could help runners even more. 

Thanks to the roaring success of runScribe’s Kickstarter campaign, it appears that even more exciting features could be en route. The campaign, which began August 21, 2014, has raised almost $200,000, roughly 400 percent of its original goal. If runScribe production continues according to schedule, the units will ship just in time for those turkey trots in late-November.

Want to get in on the action? One runScribe and a starter pack are currently priced at $99, and you can head to the Kickstarter page to pledge your support.

The post runScribe: Can This Gadget Prevent Running Injuries? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/train-your-brain-apps/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/train-your-brain-apps/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:15:14 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=28516 Best Apps to Train Your Brain Featured

[caption id="attachment_28535" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Whether it's to focus at work, do better at school, or just stay sharp, there are various reasons for wanting to boost brainpower. But maintaining psychological well-being is equally as important.

 “Stress and anxiety are among the most pressing and far-reaching public health problems we face,” says Tracy Dennis, Ph.D, professor of psychology at Hunter College. “Mental changes affect every part of our lives: physical health, sense of well-being, work, educational productivity and community involvement.”

Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., professor and vice chair at Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and president of the American Psychological Association, says apps can help promote mental health through participation in activities designed to reduce symptoms and improve psychological functioning.

Then there are apps that don’t directly target mental health, but aim to increase cognitive functioning. “We know that apps like Lumosity can improve memory, problem solving skills and processing speed, especially in older adults,” says Dr. Kaslow. “There are also studies that show that people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.” 

Put Your Mind to the Test

These days, hundreds of brain-training apps claim to put the “smart” in smartphone and guarantee cognitive improvement with minimal daily use. Don’t think your flaky memory or scatterbrain can be restored? Studies are mixed, since this technology is in the early stages of development. But this 2012 systematic review that analyzed 151 computerized training studies published between 1984 and 2011, found that certain training tasks had a big effect on working memory, processing speed and brain function. In short, playing computer games for a few minutes a day can literally change your mind.

“When you do things in the world, you lay down new neural pathways,” says Dr. Dennis. “The more you do something, the more available that pathway is, so you may be able to use your brain resources more effectively.” 

New brainteaser apps show up every day in mobile app stores with claims to improve memory, increase I.Q., or enhance other cognitive skills. They may be fun to play, but how many of them actually work? The goal here after all is to train your brain, not just play video games. Most of the below selections are based on established treatments that have been extensively studied and validated by independent research sources.

For the most part, brain apps can’t make you smarter or happier, but they can help you perform certain tasks better or have more control over your emotional state. Keep in mind that most games are designed for people who are reasonably healthy, not for those with mental disorders, and are no replacement for a mental health professional. While you’re not going to notice any drastic transformation, it’s worth giving one of these apps a try, since engaging in various types of new and cognitively demanding tasks is good for the brain (plus, it’s fun!).

The Best Apps for Your Brain

1. Lumositylumosity[1]
This popular app is split into sessions of three games tailored to your goals: memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking. The games are played against the clock and change every time. Developers say just one session a day can improve mental skills and users can track progress and compare performance with others. (Free for limited access, upgrade for $15 a month or $80 a year; available for iOS)

 

2. CogniFit Brain Fitnesscognifit
Improve cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration, with sleek, fun and addictive games designed by neuroscientists. Users can track progress and access insights about overall brain health. Competitive players can challenge friends, too. After an initial quiz, the app adapts each game’s difficulty to your profile and gives you recommendations based on your results. Developers found that users saw improvement by spending at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week, playing the games. (Free for four games or full subscription for $13 a month or $120; available for iOS)

 

3. Personal Zenpersonal-zen
Players follow two animated characters, one of which looks calm and friendly while the other looks angry, as they burrow through a field of rustling grass. This game, developed by Dr. Dennis and researchers from Hunter College and the City University of New York, reduces anxiety by training your brain to focus more on the positive and less on the negative. “The habit of thinking about the world in a more positive light — like looking for a silver lining in a bad situation — is one of the key ways we can promote our own resilience in the face of adversity,” says Dr. Dennis. Even a single session of play can build resilience over several hours. She suggests using the app right before a stressful event, but 10 minutes a day will help build more enduring positive effects. (Free; available for iOS)

 

4. Brain Trainer Specialbrain-trainer-special
Like Lumosity, this Android app contains games that have you memorizing letter sequences, phone numbers and solving assorted math problems to keep your mind in tip-top shape. Difficulty levels range from easy to brain-tingling hard. (Free; available on Google Play)

 

5. Brain Fitness Probrain-fitness
Brain Fitness Pro employs a series of memory training exercises to increase focus, memory and problem-solving skills. Developers say that intensive working memory training dramatically increases attention and general cognitive skills and that these benefits remain long term. ($4; available for iOS)

 

6. Happifyhappify
Train your brain to be happier? Yep, research shows that some activities help build your ability to conquer negative thoughts, show gratitude, cope with stress, and empathize — all essential ingredients for a fuller, happier life. Using fundamentals of positive psychology, which involves focusing on the strengths and virtues that enable individuals to create fulfilling lives, the app’s quizzes, polls and gratitude journal — combined with a positive community — gradually teach life-changing habits. The goal is to build these skills and keep users smiling all day. (Free; available for iOS)

 

7. Positive Activity Jackpotpositive-activity-jackpot
This app was originally developed for service members returning from combat with high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. It uses augmented reality with an Android phone’s GPS to find nearby activities and diversions for someone coping with depression. If you cannot make up your mind what to do, “pull the lever” and let the app’s jackpot function make the choice for you. PAJ is based on a form of behavioral therapy called pleasant event scheduling, which encourages a daily schedule of enjoyable activities to improve moods and overcome despondent thoughts. (Free; available on Google Play)

 

8. Fit Brains Trainer fit-brains
More than 360 unique games and puzzles aimed at stretching and improving your mental agility lead users through various tasks. Sessions get harder as you improve and will always challenge you and provide a solid brain workout. Keep track of your progress and performance tools and the program offers training recommendations for best results. (Free; available on iOS and on Google Play)

 

9. Eideticeidetic
Eidetic uses a technique called spaced repetition to help you memorize anything from important phone numbers to interesting words or facts. It works differently from typical brain training apps by using items that have meaning and context, like your beau’s phone number, bank account details, or a new quote worth reciting. Notifications remind you when it’s time to test yourself and spaces out tests over time to make sure you retain the information in long-term memory. (Free; available on iOS)

 

10. ReliefLinkrelief-link
Dr. Kaslow developed this award-winning app for suicide prevention but it can be used as a general mood tracker. “It’s like MyFitnessPal in that you can track all sorts of things that are relevant to your mental health,” says Dr. Kaslow. It also includes unique coping methods, such as voice-recorded mindfulness and relaxation exercises, or relaxing music. The map locator pinpoints nearby therapists, support groups and mental health treatment facilities, too, in case you ever need to talk to a professional.

While brain-training apps will never completely take the place of face-to-face intervention and prevention approaches, Dr. Dennis sees their potential as an adjunct to other stress-reducing activities, whether that’s exercise, yoga, or seeing a therapist. She adds, “Apps can also be gateway treatments that empower the individual to make positive changes, which can then lead to seek out other health promotion tools.” And while technology can help sharpen the brain and calm the nerves, true mental health is much more holistic. “What’s most important is feeling you have meaning in life and social connections,” says Dr. Kaslow. “It doesn’t mean you have to be happy, but it does have to do with having purpose.” And there’s no app for that…yet.

 

Originally posted May 28, 2014. 

The post 10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Best Apps to Train Your Brain Featured

[caption id="attachment_28535" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Whether it's to focus at work, do better at school, or just stay sharp, there are various reasons for wanting to boost brainpower. But maintaining psychological well-being is equally as important.

 “Stress and anxiety are among the most pressing and far-reaching public health problems we face,” says Tracy Dennis, Ph.D, professor of psychology at Hunter College. “Mental changes affect every part of our lives: physical health, sense of well-being, work, educational productivity and community involvement.”

Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., professor and vice chair at Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and president of the American Psychological Association, says apps can help promote mental health through participation in activities designed to reduce symptoms and improve psychological functioning.

Then there are apps that don’t directly target mental health, but aim to increase cognitive functioning. “We know that apps like Lumosity can improve memory, problem solving skills and processing speed, especially in older adults,” says Dr. Kaslow. “There are also studies that show that people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.” 

Put Your Mind to the Test

These days, hundreds of brain-training apps claim to put the “smart” in smartphone and guarantee cognitive improvement with minimal daily use. Don’t think your flaky memory or scatterbrain can be restored? Studies are mixed, since this technology is in the early stages of development. But this 2012 systematic review that analyzed 151 computerized training studies published between 1984 and 2011, found that certain training tasks had a big effect on working memory, processing speed and brain function. In short, playing computer games for a few minutes a day can literally change your mind.

“When you do things in the world, you lay down new neural pathways,” says Dr. Dennis. “The more you do something, the more available that pathway is, so you may be able to use your brain resources more effectively.” 

New brainteaser apps show up every day in mobile app stores with claims to improve memory, increase I.Q., or enhance other cognitive skills. They may be fun to play, but how many of them actually work? The goal here after all is to train your brain, not just play video games. Most of the below selections are based on established treatments that have been extensively studied and validated by independent research sources.

For the most part, brain apps can’t make you smarter or happier, but they can help you perform certain tasks better or have more control over your emotional state. Keep in mind that most games are designed for people who are reasonably healthy, not for those with mental disorders, and are no replacement for a mental health professional. While you’re not going to notice any drastic transformation, it’s worth giving one of these apps a try, since engaging in various types of new and cognitively demanding tasks is good for the brain (plus, it’s fun!).

The Best Apps for Your Brain

1. Lumositylumosity[1]
This popular app is split into sessions of three games tailored to your goals: memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking. The games are played against the clock and change every time. Developers say just one session a day can improve mental skills and users can track progress and compare performance with others. (Free for limited access, upgrade for $15 a month or $80 a year; available for iOS)

 

2. CogniFit Brain Fitnesscognifit
Improve cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration, with sleek, fun and addictive games designed by neuroscientists. Users can track progress and access insights about overall brain health. Competitive players can challenge friends, too. After an initial quiz, the app adapts each game’s difficulty to your profile and gives you recommendations based on your results. Developers found that users saw improvement by spending at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week, playing the games. (Free for four games or full subscription for $13 a month or $120; available for iOS)

 

3. Personal Zenpersonal-zen
Players follow two animated characters, one of which looks calm and friendly while the other looks angry, as they burrow through a field of rustling grass. This game, developed by Dr. Dennis and researchers from Hunter College and the City University of New York, reduces anxiety by training your brain to focus more on the positive and less on the negative. “The habit of thinking about the world in a more positive light — like looking for a silver lining in a bad situation — is one of the key ways we can promote our own resilience in the face of adversity,” says Dr. Dennis. Even a single session of play can build resilience over several hours. She suggests using the app right before a stressful event, but 10 minutes a day will help build more enduring positive effects. (Free; available for iOS)

 

4. Brain Trainer Specialbrain-trainer-special
Like Lumosity, this Android app contains games that have you memorizing letter sequences, phone numbers and solving assorted math problems to keep your mind in tip-top shape. Difficulty levels range from easy to brain-tingling hard. (Free; available on Google Play)

 

5. Brain Fitness Probrain-fitness
Brain Fitness Pro employs a series of memory training exercises to increase focus, memory and problem-solving skills. Developers say that intensive working memory training dramatically increases attention and general cognitive skills and that these benefits remain long term. ($4; available for iOS)

 

6. Happifyhappify
Train your brain to be happier? Yep, research shows that some activities help build your ability to conquer negative thoughts, show gratitude, cope with stress, and empathize — all essential ingredients for a fuller, happier life. Using fundamentals of positive psychology, which involves focusing on the strengths and virtues that enable individuals to create fulfilling lives, the app’s quizzes, polls and gratitude journal — combined with a positive community — gradually teach life-changing habits. The goal is to build these skills and keep users smiling all day. (Free; available for iOS)

 

7. Positive Activity Jackpotpositive-activity-jackpot
This app was originally developed for service members returning from combat with high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. It uses augmented reality with an Android phone’s GPS to find nearby activities and diversions for someone coping with depression. If you cannot make up your mind what to do, “pull the lever” and let the app’s jackpot function make the choice for you. PAJ is based on a form of behavioral therapy called pleasant event scheduling, which encourages a daily schedule of enjoyable activities to improve moods and overcome despondent thoughts. (Free; available on Google Play)

 

8. Fit Brains Trainer fit-brains
More than 360 unique games and puzzles aimed at stretching and improving your mental agility lead users through various tasks. Sessions get harder as you improve and will always challenge you and provide a solid brain workout. Keep track of your progress and performance tools and the program offers training recommendations for best results. (Free; available on iOS and on Google Play)

 

9. Eideticeidetic
Eidetic uses a technique called spaced repetition to help you memorize anything from important phone numbers to interesting words or facts. It works differently from typical brain training apps by using items that have meaning and context, like your beau’s phone number, bank account details, or a new quote worth reciting. Notifications remind you when it’s time to test yourself and spaces out tests over time to make sure you retain the information in long-term memory. (Free; available on iOS)

 

10. ReliefLinkrelief-link
Dr. Kaslow developed this award-winning app for suicide prevention but it can be used as a general mood tracker. “It’s like MyFitnessPal in that you can track all sorts of things that are relevant to your mental health,” says Dr. Kaslow. It also includes unique coping methods, such as voice-recorded mindfulness and relaxation exercises, or relaxing music. The map locator pinpoints nearby therapists, support groups and mental health treatment facilities, too, in case you ever need to talk to a professional.

While brain-training apps will never completely take the place of face-to-face intervention and prevention approaches, Dr. Dennis sees their potential as an adjunct to other stress-reducing activities, whether that’s exercise, yoga, or seeing a therapist. She adds, “Apps can also be gateway treatments that empower the individual to make positive changes, which can then lead to seek out other health promotion tools.” And while technology can help sharpen the brain and calm the nerves, true mental health is much more holistic. “What’s most important is feeling you have meaning in life and social connections,” says Dr. Kaslow. “It doesn’t mean you have to be happy, but it does have to do with having purpose.” And there’s no app for that…yet.

 

Originally posted May 28, 2014. 

The post 10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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PUSH: The First Fitness Tracker to Measure Strength and Power http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/push-fitness-tracker-strength-power/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/push-fitness-tracker-strength-power/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:15:24 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=30449 Push Strength Squat

[caption id="attachment_30452" align="alignnone" width="620"]Push Strength Squat Photo: PUSH[/caption]

"PUSH will identify exactly how many reps you completed, and just how fast and how powerfully you performed each one."

By now you’ve probably tried a Jawbone, Fitbit or FuelBand, and chances are it has broken, been lost in the wash, or has started to bore you. The fitness tracking bubble might very well be bursting, but the people behind PUSH aren’t exactly concerned. Why? They’ve created a next-level armband that’s putting a new premium on strength. 

“We’re not looking for the guy who is trying to take more steps throughout the day; we’re interested in the athletes who are trying to lift more weight and reach other strength-related goals,” says CEO and co-founder Rami Alhamad. “It’s a very different market. Our true DNA is sport technology — not wearables.”

Developed by a team of leading sports scientists and algorithm engineers, PUSH prides itself on being the first fitness tracker to measure velocity, force and power — the three most important metrics in strength training, Alhamad says. Like other trackers, PUSH utilizes an accelerometer (to measure acceleration forces) and gyroscope (to measure orientation), plus plenty of advanced algorithms to collect and analyze data from your lifts. However, while most wearables sample data at a rate of 10 times per second, PUSH does it at 150 times per second in order to produce more accurate feedback, such as velocity of reps (e.g. how much speed is under the bar during a 275-pound push press) and peak power output (how much explosiveness you have behind that 365-pound squat). 

And it’s this data, collected from two years’ worth of rigorous testing, that is quite literally pushing the technology forward. The device’s list of beta-testers reads like a who’s who of pro-level ballers. From the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Flyers to big-name strength coaches like Eric Cressey and Joe Dowdell, PUSH has been on the arms of some of the most able bodies in sports and fitness.

PUSH: Strength in Numbers

"Slow speeds and sluggish performance will let you know it might be time to do fewer reps, or simply move on." 

So how does it work exactly? After plugging in your weight, height, gender and goal (strength, power, speed, endurance or hypertrophy), users choose “free mode” (if you’re working out solo) or “routine mode” (if you have a coach who’s prescribing the workout for you). Then, strap on the water- and impact-resistant device just below the elbow, and press the start button to sync the band with the accompanying smartphone app. When it lights up green, that means it’s synced to your iPhone or Android using Bluetooth technology, and you’re good to go.

Whether you’ve selected squats, cleans, box jumps, or any of the other functional, pre-programmed exercises, PUSH will identify exactly how many reps you completed, and just how fast and how powerfully you performed each one. Maybe you hit peak power by the end of your set or breezed through without any signs of struggle. PUSH might recommend you add 10 (or more) pounds, using its built-in, scientifically validated metrics.

And when it’s just not your day, expect PUSH to tell you so. Slow speeds and sluggish performance will let you know it might be time to do fewer reps, or simply move on.  

Push Strength App

What the Device Doesn’t Do

“We’re interested in the athletes who are trying to lift more weight and reach other strength-related goals.”

Anxious to get your hands on the band fit for the pros? Keep in mind this isn’t the tool for beginner lifters (unless you’re working with a trainer who is closely monitoring your technique). The truth is, no tracker is sophisticated enough to give an accurate read on form — at least not yet. But, for those who have mastered the basics, but aren’t seeing big enough gains or are starting to plateau, there’s big potential, Alhamad says.  

“This is the device that can give you the feedback you need so you’re not wasting your time at the gym,” he adds. “It isn’t going to make any assumptions. It’s going to see exactly what you’re doing and assess you based on that to help you figure out where to go next.”

Pushing Ahead

While the strength-focused tracker has already earned a few big wins (successfully moving from a crowd-funded campaign to market, for one), they’re not sitting back just yet. Next up for the development team is heart-rate integration, broadening their library of exercises, and providing accurate one-rep max assessments. Users can also expect to see workout programs from well-known trainers available within the app, and possible integration with other fitness platforms in the months ahead. 

Starting on August 1, preorders will ship to PUSH’s 2,000-plus earliest adopters. The only question remains: How quickly can they produce in numbers? 

For more information or to purchase the PUSH tracker for the discounted price of $149, head to pushstrength.com by August 7. Orders placed after that date will be available for the regular price of $189.

The post PUSH: The First Fitness Tracker to Measure Strength and Power appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Push Strength Squat

[caption id="attachment_30452" align="alignnone" width="620"]Push Strength Squat Photo: PUSH[/caption]

"PUSH will identify exactly how many reps you completed, and just how fast and how powerfully you performed each one."

By now you’ve probably tried a Jawbone, Fitbit or FuelBand, and chances are it has broken, been lost in the wash, or has started to bore you. The fitness tracking bubble might very well be bursting, but the people behind PUSH aren’t exactly concerned. Why? They’ve created a next-level armband that’s putting a new premium on strength. 

“We’re not looking for the guy who is trying to take more steps throughout the day; we’re interested in the athletes who are trying to lift more weight and reach other strength-related goals,” says CEO and co-founder Rami Alhamad. “It’s a very different market. Our true DNA is sport technology — not wearables.”

Developed by a team of leading sports scientists and algorithm engineers, PUSH prides itself on being the first fitness tracker to measure velocity, force and power — the three most important metrics in strength training, Alhamad says. Like other trackers, PUSH utilizes an accelerometer (to measure acceleration forces) and gyroscope (to measure orientation), plus plenty of advanced algorithms to collect and analyze data from your lifts. However, while most wearables sample data at a rate of 10 times per second, PUSH does it at 150 times per second in order to produce more accurate feedback, such as velocity of reps (e.g. how much speed is under the bar during a 275-pound push press) and peak power output (how much explosiveness you have behind that 365-pound squat). 

And it’s this data, collected from two years’ worth of rigorous testing, that is quite literally pushing the technology forward. The device’s list of beta-testers reads like a who’s who of pro-level ballers. From the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Flyers to big-name strength coaches like Eric Cressey and Joe Dowdell, PUSH has been on the arms of some of the most able bodies in sports and fitness.

PUSH: Strength in Numbers

"Slow speeds and sluggish performance will let you know it might be time to do fewer reps, or simply move on." 

So how does it work exactly? After plugging in your weight, height, gender and goal (strength, power, speed, endurance or hypertrophy), users choose “free mode” (if you’re working out solo) or “routine mode” (if you have a coach who’s prescribing the workout for you). Then, strap on the water- and impact-resistant device just below the elbow, and press the start button to sync the band with the accompanying smartphone app. When it lights up green, that means it’s synced to your iPhone or Android using Bluetooth technology, and you’re good to go.

Whether you’ve selected squats, cleans, box jumps, or any of the other functional, pre-programmed exercises, PUSH will identify exactly how many reps you completed, and just how fast and how powerfully you performed each one. Maybe you hit peak power by the end of your set or breezed through without any signs of struggle. PUSH might recommend you add 10 (or more) pounds, using its built-in, scientifically validated metrics.

And when it’s just not your day, expect PUSH to tell you so. Slow speeds and sluggish performance will let you know it might be time to do fewer reps, or simply move on.  

Push Strength App

What the Device Doesn’t Do

“We’re interested in the athletes who are trying to lift more weight and reach other strength-related goals.”

Anxious to get your hands on the band fit for the pros? Keep in mind this isn’t the tool for beginner lifters (unless you’re working with a trainer who is closely monitoring your technique). The truth is, no tracker is sophisticated enough to give an accurate read on form — at least not yet. But, for those who have mastered the basics, but aren’t seeing big enough gains or are starting to plateau, there’s big potential, Alhamad says.  

“This is the device that can give you the feedback you need so you’re not wasting your time at the gym,” he adds. “It isn’t going to make any assumptions. It’s going to see exactly what you’re doing and assess you based on that to help you figure out where to go next.”

Pushing Ahead

While the strength-focused tracker has already earned a few big wins (successfully moving from a crowd-funded campaign to market, for one), they’re not sitting back just yet. Next up for the development team is heart-rate integration, broadening their library of exercises, and providing accurate one-rep max assessments. Users can also expect to see workout programs from well-known trainers available within the app, and possible integration with other fitness platforms in the months ahead. 

Starting on August 1, preorders will ship to PUSH’s 2,000-plus earliest adopters. The only question remains: How quickly can they produce in numbers? 

For more information or to purchase the PUSH tracker for the discounted price of $149, head to pushstrength.com by August 7. Orders placed after that date will be available for the regular price of $189.

The post PUSH: The First Fitness Tracker to Measure Strength and Power appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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Vessyl: A Smart Cup That Counts Liquid Calories http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/vessyl-smart-cup-calorie-count/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/vessyl-smart-cup-calorie-count/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:05:57 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=29110 Vessyl

Vessyl

How many calories do you think you drink daily? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average American sips down 400 calories a day, 37 percent of which comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. So how do you get to the bottom of what’s in your cup — especially without always knowing the exact nutritional facts of its contents? And without counting calories all day long? The solution could be right at your fingertips, with a simple tilt of a glass.

Vessyl is a cup designed to automatically assess what’s been poured into it and track what you’re drinking in real-time. Put any type of liquid into the cup, whether it be soda or juice or coffee, and the Vessyl’s advanced sensing technology breaks down the fluid to a molecular level in order to identify the beverage. It can even differentiate brands like Pepsi versus Coke, plus, it gives caloric make up including total grams of sugar, fat, protein, sodium and caffeine.

The cup then connects through low energy Bluetooth technology to an accompanying iPhone or Android app. This allows the cup to utilize Pryme, its hydration estimation portal which gives users personal recommendations to make healthier choices, and track your habits to see if you’re making progress toward your goals. Choose a lens within the app — calories, sugar content, fat, protein, sodium or caffeine — tilt the cup to the side and watch as its discreet screen comes to light telling you information on what’s in the cup. The information is automatically transferred to the app for effortless analysis.

Vessyl

Drinks are one of the easiest ways to take in excess calories, sugar and fat. And because liquid calories are so plentiful these days, you could triple the amount of corn syrup recommended for a health diet in just a few sips. Justin Lee, CEO of Mark One, the company behind Vessyl, noticed this and wanted to create a way people could keep track of intake in real-time.

“There are plenty of devices that track activity, but Vessyl is the first ever consumer product to automatically track your consumption in real time,” he says. “Beverages are a major source of unnoticed calories, and Vessyl gives you the tools to easily know what you’re really drinking and motivate you to make healthier choices.”

Vessyl has a non-stick interior and comes with a spill-proof lid and coaster-like charger. One hour on the charging station gives the cup a week’s worth of battery — perfect for those on-the-go. The Vessyl is currently available for presale for $99 with a $50,000 consumer demand goal to begin production. The device will eventually retail for $199 and the first batch is expected to ship in 2015.

But how smart will this smart cup really be? We won’t know until we sip.

To learn more about the Vessyl or preorder one at a discounted price, head to MyVessyl.com.

The post Vessyl: A Smart Cup That Counts Liquid Calories appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Vessyl

Vessyl

How many calories do you think you drink daily? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average American sips down 400 calories a day, 37 percent of which comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. So how do you get to the bottom of what’s in your cup — especially without always knowing the exact nutritional facts of its contents? And without counting calories all day long? The solution could be right at your fingertips, with a simple tilt of a glass.

Vessyl is a cup designed to automatically assess what’s been poured into it and track what you’re drinking in real-time. Put any type of liquid into the cup, whether it be soda or juice or coffee, and the Vessyl’s advanced sensing technology breaks down the fluid to a molecular level in order to identify the beverage. It can even differentiate brands like Pepsi versus Coke, plus, it gives caloric make up including total grams of sugar, fat, protein, sodium and caffeine.

The cup then connects through low energy Bluetooth technology to an accompanying iPhone or Android app. This allows the cup to utilize Pryme, its hydration estimation portal which gives users personal recommendations to make healthier choices, and track your habits to see if you’re making progress toward your goals. Choose a lens within the app — calories, sugar content, fat, protein, sodium or caffeine — tilt the cup to the side and watch as its discreet screen comes to light telling you information on what’s in the cup. The information is automatically transferred to the app for effortless analysis.

Vessyl

Drinks are one of the easiest ways to take in excess calories, sugar and fat. And because liquid calories are so plentiful these days, you could triple the amount of corn syrup recommended for a health diet in just a few sips. Justin Lee, CEO of Mark One, the company behind Vessyl, noticed this and wanted to create a way people could keep track of intake in real-time.

“There are plenty of devices that track activity, but Vessyl is the first ever consumer product to automatically track your consumption in real time,” he says. “Beverages are a major source of unnoticed calories, and Vessyl gives you the tools to easily know what you’re really drinking and motivate you to make healthier choices.”

Vessyl has a non-stick interior and comes with a spill-proof lid and coaster-like charger. One hour on the charging station gives the cup a week’s worth of battery — perfect for those on-the-go. The Vessyl is currently available for presale for $99 with a $50,000 consumer demand goal to begin production. The device will eventually retail for $199 and the first batch is expected to ship in 2015.

But how smart will this smart cup really be? We won’t know until we sip.

To learn more about the Vessyl or preorder one at a discounted price, head to MyVessyl.com.

The post Vessyl: A Smart Cup That Counts Liquid Calories appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Can This Device Save You From Food Poisoning? http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/peres-indiegogo-food-poisoning/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/peres-indiegogo-food-poisoning/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 18:15:04 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=28337 PERES-featured

[caption id="attachment_28367" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: PERES Photo: PERES[/caption]

If your fridge is a graveyard of expired foods, listen up. PERES, a handheld device designed to identify when meat has gone bad, could help you decide whether or not it’s time to toss that beef, pork, poultry or fish. While our eyes and nose might conclude a cut of meat is safe to eat, some brands use tricky methods, like adding carbon monoxide into beef packaging, to maintain the red color associated with freshness. Plus, how you store meat in a fridge sometimes contributes to faster spoilage. But can a scanner the size of a TV remote really tell when that chicken goes bad? 

“After experiencing food poisoning myself, I decided to create a device that would help me and my family easily check the freshness and quality of our food,” writes Augustas Alesiunas, the CEO of PERES who has spent the majority of his professional life developing innovative food and agricultural products. He’s brought his latest idea to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, where the PERES campaign has already exceeded its goal of raising $50,000 (the campaign ends on May 31, 2014).   

PERES food poisoning

So how does this so-called “electronic nose” work? Developed by a Lithuania-based food and agriculture tech company, PERES is outfitted with gas, temperature and humidity sensors that transmit information via Bluetooth to a mobile app. To detect the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that result in spoilage, PERES employs metal oxide semiconductors (MOS), a technology commonly used for detecting toxic gases like carbon monoxide.

The PERES development team hopes its innovative device will reduce the number of instances of food poisoning — which strikes approximately one in six Americans each year — while also minimizing the amount of food waste by letting consumers know when meat is still edible. If production continues according to schedule, the first beta testers will receive the device in July 2014. Until July (and even with a fancy device on hand), it’s important to keep playing it safe when it comes to the meat we may or may not choose to ingest.

Would you trust a device to tell you if your food has spoiled? Share your take in the comments below!

The post Can This Device Save You From Food Poisoning? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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PERES-featured

[caption id="attachment_28367" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: PERES Photo: PERES[/caption]

If your fridge is a graveyard of expired foods, listen up. PERES, a handheld device designed to identify when meat has gone bad, could help you decide whether or not it’s time to toss that beef, pork, poultry or fish. While our eyes and nose might conclude a cut of meat is safe to eat, some brands use tricky methods, like adding carbon monoxide into beef packaging, to maintain the red color associated with freshness. Plus, how you store meat in a fridge sometimes contributes to faster spoilage. But can a scanner the size of a TV remote really tell when that chicken goes bad? 

“After experiencing food poisoning myself, I decided to create a device that would help me and my family easily check the freshness and quality of our food,” writes Augustas Alesiunas, the CEO of PERES who has spent the majority of his professional life developing innovative food and agricultural products. He’s brought his latest idea to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, where the PERES campaign has already exceeded its goal of raising $50,000 (the campaign ends on May 31, 2014).   

PERES food poisoning

So how does this so-called “electronic nose” work? Developed by a Lithuania-based food and agriculture tech company, PERES is outfitted with gas, temperature and humidity sensors that transmit information via Bluetooth to a mobile app. To detect the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that result in spoilage, PERES employs metal oxide semiconductors (MOS), a technology commonly used for detecting toxic gases like carbon monoxide.

The PERES development team hopes its innovative device will reduce the number of instances of food poisoning — which strikes approximately one in six Americans each year — while also minimizing the amount of food waste by letting consumers know when meat is still edible. If production continues according to schedule, the first beta testers will receive the device in July 2014. Until July (and even with a fancy device on hand), it’s important to keep playing it safe when it comes to the meat we may or may not choose to ingest.

Would you trust a device to tell you if your food has spoiled? Share your take in the comments below!

The post Can This Device Save You From Food Poisoning? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Atlas: A Fitness Tracker That Counts Reps and IDs Exercises http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/atlas-fitness-tracker-preview/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/atlas-fitness-tracker-preview/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:15:39 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24455 Atlas Fitness Tracker

Atlas Fitness Tracker

Ever lose count of reps mid-set, or blank on what exercises you did while recording your workout? Atlas, a new fitness tracker currently being funded on Indiegogo, promises to solve both of those problems plus many more. Whereas other tracking devices focus on daily measurements like total steps and hours of activity, Atlas aims to get up close and personal with your workouts, tracking sets, reps and heart rate for a comprehensive look at your active lifestyle.

According to cofounder and CEO Peter Li, the Atlas device (expected to hit the market by the end of the year) was created with one primary goal in mind: “to simplify and automate the chore of writing things down,” enabling users to better track their fitness progress. And because what you do in the weight room is (presumably) very different than what you do at your desk, the device features four tracking modes: basic, sleep, follower and leader mode.

Four Modes, One Goal — Quantify Your Movement

Atlas TrackerThe device’s basic mode measures steps and activity levels, no different than most fitness tracking devices. These stats are displayed in three different places for ease of review — on the device’s touchscreen display, the mobile app and the browser interface. And when it’s time to hit the hay, sleep mode allows users to measure movement throughout the night and receive feedback on total time slept and quality of sleep (i.e. how much or little you tossed and turned).

Follower mode, however, is what seeks to separate Atlas from other fitness trackers. Wear Atlas on your wrist throughout your workout, and it can tell what exercise you’re doing and how many reps you’ve completed. To accomplish this feat, the Atlas team has spent the last few years working with personal trainers, fitness experts and athletes to record the movements associated with 100 or so exercises using inertial sensors that track motion in the X-, Y- and Z-axes. By mapping each movement, they programmed Atlas to recognize the unique fingerprint of each exercise, from push-ups to deadliest — and what optimal form should look like. Yes, the device will not only tell you how many squats you did, but if your form got sloppy midway through.

According to the manufacturers, the device even recognizes the difference between closely-related exercises like chin-ups and wide-grip pull-ups or alternating bicep curls and the two-arm variation. In follower mode, sets and reps are also combined with heart rate data, taken from optimal sensors at the wrist, to provide a more comprehensive look at your workout.

And what about those following a specific workout routine or working with a remote coach or trainer? The tracker’s fourth setting, leader mode, allows users to program the session ahead of time (via the mobile or web app), so you can move through the entire workout exercise by exercise. Find yourself resting too much in between sets? Since Atlas can also track your heart rate, rest times can be based on heart rate recovery. Whenever your heart rate gets back to a certain value, Atlas lets you know it’s time to quit the chit-chat and hit the next set.

Making Moves, Taking Numbers

 “Atlas will be personalized to your style so the more you use it, your Atlas will better recognize exercises.”

What if Atlas doesn’t recognize the exercise you’re doing, even if it’s something as common as a lunge? According to Li, the device can be trained. “Atlas will be personalized to your style so the more you use it, your Atlas will better recognize exercises.” Even if the move hasn’t been catalogued, Atlas can learn it. After a few repetitions, the device can begin to recognize the movements associated with a tire flip, a burpee-pull-up combo, or any other unique exercise in your routine.

Atlas can be a helpful companion outside the gym as well. Since the device is currently waterproof up to one meter, swimmers can take it to the pool (the device knows popular swimming strokes, too). Keep in mind, though, that Atlas doesn’t have a GPS component, so it can’t track exact distance traveled. It can instead estimate distance through combining stride length and stride rate. While the tracker doesn’t support sport-specific exercises just yet (dribbling or shooting a basketball for example), Atlas plans to develop additional technology for various sports down the line.

Currently, Atlas is integrated with MapMyFitness and Fitocracy, so workout details can be immediately synced with those two apps, as well as the Atlas app itself. The tracker will also integrate with another platform determined by voting from current backers of the crowd-funded campaign. Atlas is also developed using an open API, meaning software developers can build their own integrations with the device.

With the Band?

Quantifying both your workouts and your everyday activity isn’t an entirely new concept (the Nike+ FuelBand SE made a move to do both with it’s introduction of “sessions”), but Atlas aims to dig deeper into those activity stats, allowing for more detailed analysis.

While Atlas has far surpassed the $125,000 goal ($397,762 and counting), each additional contribution makes it possible to develop extra features like an increased waterproof rating and vibration motors for alarms and notifications. The device is not available to the public until December, but those interested can have the chance of scoring an early model by contributing to the Indiegogo campaign, which ends on February 7th. Preordering logistics are still in the works, but the device is expected to cost between $160 and $200.

Are you sold on this new generation of wearable tech? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

The post Atlas: A Fitness Tracker That Counts Reps and IDs Exercises appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Atlas Fitness Tracker

Atlas Fitness Tracker

Ever lose count of reps mid-set, or blank on what exercises you did while recording your workout? Atlas, a new fitness tracker currently being funded on Indiegogo, promises to solve both of those problems plus many more. Whereas other tracking devices focus on daily measurements like total steps and hours of activity, Atlas aims to get up close and personal with your workouts, tracking sets, reps and heart rate for a comprehensive look at your active lifestyle.

According to cofounder and CEO Peter Li, the Atlas device (expected to hit the market by the end of the year) was created with one primary goal in mind: “to simplify and automate the chore of writing things down,” enabling users to better track their fitness progress. And because what you do in the weight room is (presumably) very different than what you do at your desk, the device features four tracking modes: basic, sleep, follower and leader mode.

Four Modes, One Goal — Quantify Your Movement

Atlas TrackerThe device’s basic mode measures steps and activity levels, no different than most fitness tracking devices. These stats are displayed in three different places for ease of review — on the device’s touchscreen display, the mobile app and the browser interface. And when it’s time to hit the hay, sleep mode allows users to measure movement throughout the night and receive feedback on total time slept and quality of sleep (i.e. how much or little you tossed and turned).

Follower mode, however, is what seeks to separate Atlas from other fitness trackers. Wear Atlas on your wrist throughout your workout, and it can tell what exercise you’re doing and how many reps you’ve completed. To accomplish this feat, the Atlas team has spent the last few years working with personal trainers, fitness experts and athletes to record the movements associated with 100 or so exercises using inertial sensors that track motion in the X-, Y- and Z-axes. By mapping each movement, they programmed Atlas to recognize the unique fingerprint of each exercise, from push-ups to deadliest — and what optimal form should look like. Yes, the device will not only tell you how many squats you did, but if your form got sloppy midway through.

According to the manufacturers, the device even recognizes the difference between closely-related exercises like chin-ups and wide-grip pull-ups or alternating bicep curls and the two-arm variation. In follower mode, sets and reps are also combined with heart rate data, taken from optimal sensors at the wrist, to provide a more comprehensive look at your workout.

And what about those following a specific workout routine or working with a remote coach or trainer? The tracker’s fourth setting, leader mode, allows users to program the session ahead of time (via the mobile or web app), so you can move through the entire workout exercise by exercise. Find yourself resting too much in between sets? Since Atlas can also track your heart rate, rest times can be based on heart rate recovery. Whenever your heart rate gets back to a certain value, Atlas lets you know it’s time to quit the chit-chat and hit the next set.

Making Moves, Taking Numbers

 “Atlas will be personalized to your style so the more you use it, your Atlas will better recognize exercises.”

What if Atlas doesn’t recognize the exercise you’re doing, even if it’s something as common as a lunge? According to Li, the device can be trained. “Atlas will be personalized to your style so the more you use it, your Atlas will better recognize exercises.” Even if the move hasn’t been catalogued, Atlas can learn it. After a few repetitions, the device can begin to recognize the movements associated with a tire flip, a burpee-pull-up combo, or any other unique exercise in your routine.

Atlas can be a helpful companion outside the gym as well. Since the device is currently waterproof up to one meter, swimmers can take it to the pool (the device knows popular swimming strokes, too). Keep in mind, though, that Atlas doesn’t have a GPS component, so it can’t track exact distance traveled. It can instead estimate distance through combining stride length and stride rate. While the tracker doesn’t support sport-specific exercises just yet (dribbling or shooting a basketball for example), Atlas plans to develop additional technology for various sports down the line.

Currently, Atlas is integrated with MapMyFitness and Fitocracy, so workout details can be immediately synced with those two apps, as well as the Atlas app itself. The tracker will also integrate with another platform determined by voting from current backers of the crowd-funded campaign. Atlas is also developed using an open API, meaning software developers can build their own integrations with the device.

With the Band?

Quantifying both your workouts and your everyday activity isn’t an entirely new concept (the Nike+ FuelBand SE made a move to do both with it’s introduction of “sessions”), but Atlas aims to dig deeper into those activity stats, allowing for more detailed analysis.

While Atlas has far surpassed the $125,000 goal ($397,762 and counting), each additional contribution makes it possible to develop extra features like an increased waterproof rating and vibration motors for alarms and notifications. The device is not available to the public until December, but those interested can have the chance of scoring an early model by contributing to the Indiegogo campaign, which ends on February 7th. Preordering logistics are still in the works, but the device is expected to cost between $160 and $200.

Are you sold on this new generation of wearable tech? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

The post Atlas: A Fitness Tracker That Counts Reps and IDs Exercises appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Gamification: Still the Future of Fitness? http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/gamification-future-of-fitness/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/gamification-future-of-fitness/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:15:05 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24187 Gaming-Fitness_1

[caption id="attachment_24190" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Couch potato video gamers might not embody superhero fitness, but they might just help motivate the rest of us to be more active. As gaming cameras like Microsoft Kinect have the capability to more accurately track body movements, heart rate and more, online fitness and gaming will be able to merge like never before. Just think: video games that get you off your feet and encourage you to break a sweat in fun new ways. Get ready to break up with your treadmill! Tune in below to hear DailyBurn CEO and founder Andy Smith discuss what the ultimate fitness experience will be like as technology continues to evolve.

For at-home workouts that are putting the fun back in fitness, head to DailyBurn.com

The post Gamification: Still the Future of Fitness? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Gaming-Fitness_1

[caption id="attachment_24190" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption] Couch potato video gamers might not embody superhero fitness, but they might just help motivate the rest of us to be more active. As gaming cameras like Microsoft Kinect have the capability to more accurately track body movements, heart rate and more, online fitness and gaming will be able to merge like never before. Just think: video games that get you off your feet and encourage you to break a sweat in fun new ways. Get ready to break up with your treadmill! Tune in below to hear DailyBurn CEO and founder Andy Smith discuss what the ultimate fitness experience will be like as technology continues to evolve. For at-home workouts that are putting the fun back in fitness, head to DailyBurn.com

The post Gamification: Still the Future of Fitness? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Fit Minute: The Big Bet on Streaming Fitness http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fit-minute-streaming-fitness/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fit-minute-streaming-fitness/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:15:26 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=23959 Fit-Minute-STREAMING

[caption id="attachment_23968" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fit-Minute-STREAMING-2 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Most of us need a little extra help getting motivated to work out. But luckily, new technology is making it easier to fit fitness into your daily routine. Tune in below to hear DailyBurn founder and CEO Andy Smith discuss how streaming workouts via smart TVs and smartphones can help make fitness more accessible. Plus it’s great for those us who don’t want to spend money on a fitness program we might not like or wait around for a DVD to come in the mail. Patience may be a virtue, but why wait when you can work out on demand?

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115839787" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

To stream yoga, HIIT workouts and more directly to your favorite devices, head to DailyBurn.com

The post Fit Minute: The Big Bet on Streaming Fitness appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Fit-Minute-STREAMING

[caption id="attachment_23968" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fit-Minute-STREAMING-2 Photo: Pond5[/caption] Most of us need a little extra help getting motivated to work out. But luckily, new technology is making it easier to fit fitness into your daily routine. Tune in below to hear DailyBurn founder and CEO Andy Smith discuss how streaming workouts via smart TVs and smartphones can help make fitness more accessible. Plus it’s great for those us who don’t want to spend money on a fitness program we might not like or wait around for a DVD to come in the mail. Patience may be a virtue, but why wait when you can work out on demand? [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115839787" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] To stream yoga, HIIT workouts and more directly to your favorite devices, head to DailyBurn.com

The post Fit Minute: The Big Bet on Streaming Fitness appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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94Fifty: A Basketball That Records Every Shot and Dribble http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/94fifty-basketball-app-review/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/94fifty-basketball-app-review/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:15:06 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=23995 94Fifty Basketball

94Fifty Basketball
If you’re looking to improve your game, no matter the sport, you’re probably living by the tried but true saying, practice makes perfect. And when it comes to basketball, it’s one of the easier sports to practice on your own — you can dribble, shoot and rebound all sans opponent. But how do you know if you’re getting any better? Besides making or missing a shot, it can be hard to calculate your progress alone. That’s when you turn to coaches and teammates. Or, the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball.

Inside this rubber ball live sensors that use point-of-force technology in order to analyze and provide feedback on an athlete’s performance. The goal: to develop a better player. “The way people learn and want to learn has changed; they expect information to be fast, digital, engaging and objective,” says Michael Crowley, founder and CEO of Infomotion Sports Technologies, the company that brought this ball to life. “If you can't deliver it in that format, they don't listen.”

While it may look, feel and even weigh the same as an ordinary, regulation basketball, the 94Fifty is equipped with motion sensors and a unique algorithm to track how consistently you perform a move, learn the strengths and weaknesses of multiple players at any level, and track progress over time. It also provides basic, intermediate and advanced level training in order for a player to build better shooting and ball-handling skills with the help of the accompanying 94Fifty app.

When the app is launched it asks for basic info of the player including name and height, picture optional, for up to five players. (Note that there’s always a “guest” option if a friend comes by and wants to challenge your skills.) Next, choose what you’d like to focus on: a workout, head-to-head challenge, skill training or social challenge. A list of drills will then pop up that you will either perform alone or against an opponent. These range from dominant and non-dominant hand dribbling speed to crossover speed or shooter’s touch (accuracy and arc wins) for competitions. And for individual training, athletes can get feedback on everything from consecutive dribbles in a certain time frame, to shot arc and shot backspin.

“We are huge believers that even a series of tiny successes, strung together in sequence, will dramatically increase the probability that a player will continue to repeat something.”

“Everything in the app has the underlying goal of improving skill, whether its…the workout section, a head-to-head competition, social challenge, and so on,” says Crowley, who played Division II ball in college. Plus, the app rewards users with bonus points when drills are mastered, which adds extra motivation.

And just how accurate is the information? According to the manufacturer, combining a specific suite of inertial motion sensors (nine to be exact), which by nature are very accurate and precise, special algorithms and firmware that seek patterns of motion, the answer is very. The ball and app also provide voice and audio feedback to correct flaws in milliseconds on every shot and dribble. This real-time scoring is recorded under the player’s individual profile and presented in the app on leaderboards. These charts show a player’s daily and all-time personal bests. Plus, the ball can train anyone whose skills range from playground to pro level (100 NBA and NBA draft picks were used to test the pro level data).

Elite teams and coaches are getting involved, too. “Our ultimate goal and vision is to allow any player, anywhere in the world, to compete, learn from, and interact with other players and coaches in real time, with information about their skills that is unique to them,” says Crowley. Coaches such as Bill Self, Mike Brey, Bo Ryan and Jamie Dixon support the ball. “We are huge believers that even a series of tiny successes, strung together in sequence, will dramatically increase the probability that a player will continue to repeat something,” says Crowley. “When that happens in a game like basketball, it’s just amazing how fast improvement occurs.”

Crowley and his team of engineers have already seen much success with the 94Fifty and developments of another basketball product are already underway — one that will focus more on live, game-time statistics.

“In the end,” Crowley says, “there is no more satisfying response from customers than when we hear that scoring has gone up, championships are won, or even just making a team that wasn't thought possible, and our products had a hand in helping to achieve that goal.”

While the $299 ball costs just a fraction of what continued elite-level coaching might cost, keep in mind that it won’t be able to help you develop all aspects of your game, including court vision and defensive skills. You’re on your own for those. To learn more about the 94Fifty or to purchase one, head to shop.94fifty.com.

The post 94Fifty: A Basketball That Records Every Shot and Dribble appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
94Fifty Basketball

94Fifty Basketball If you’re looking to improve your game, no matter the sport, you’re probably living by the tried but true saying, practice makes perfect. And when it comes to basketball, it’s one of the easier sports to practice on your own — you can dribble, shoot and rebound all sans opponent. But how do you know if you’re getting any better? Besides making or missing a shot, it can be hard to calculate your progress alone. That’s when you turn to coaches and teammates. Or, the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball. Inside this rubber ball live sensors that use point-of-force technology in order to analyze and provide feedback on an athlete’s performance. The goal: to develop a better player. “The way people learn and want to learn has changed; they expect information to be fast, digital, engaging and objective,” says Michael Crowley, founder and CEO of Infomotion Sports Technologies, the company that brought this ball to life. “If you can't deliver it in that format, they don't listen.” While it may look, feel and even weigh the same as an ordinary, regulation basketball, the 94Fifty is equipped with motion sensors and a unique algorithm to track how consistently you perform a move, learn the strengths and weaknesses of multiple players at any level, and track progress over time. It also provides basic, intermediate and advanced level training in order for a player to build better shooting and ball-handling skills with the help of the accompanying 94Fifty app. When the app is launched it asks for basic info of the player including name and height, picture optional, for up to five players. (Note that there’s always a “guest” option if a friend comes by and wants to challenge your skills.) Next, choose what you’d like to focus on: a workout, head-to-head challenge, skill training or social challenge. A list of drills will then pop up that you will either perform alone or against an opponent. These range from dominant and non-dominant hand dribbling speed to crossover speed or shooter’s touch (accuracy and arc wins) for competitions. And for individual training, athletes can get feedback on everything from consecutive dribbles in a certain time frame, to shot arc and shot backspin.
“We are huge believers that even a series of tiny successes, strung together in sequence, will dramatically increase the probability that a player will continue to repeat something.”
“Everything in the app has the underlying goal of improving skill, whether its…the workout section, a head-to-head competition, social challenge, and so on,” says Crowley, who played Division II ball in college. Plus, the app rewards users with bonus points when drills are mastered, which adds extra motivation. And just how accurate is the information? According to the manufacturer, combining a specific suite of inertial motion sensors (nine to be exact), which by nature are very accurate and precise, special algorithms and firmware that seek patterns of motion, the answer is very. The ball and app also provide voice and audio feedback to correct flaws in milliseconds on every shot and dribble. This real-time scoring is recorded under the player’s individual profile and presented in the app on leaderboards. These charts show a player’s daily and all-time personal bests. Plus, the ball can train anyone whose skills range from playground to pro level (100 NBA and NBA draft picks were used to test the pro level data). Elite teams and coaches are getting involved, too. “Our ultimate goal and vision is to allow any player, anywhere in the world, to compete, learn from, and interact with other players and coaches in real time, with information about their skills that is unique to them,” says Crowley. Coaches such as Bill Self, Mike Brey, Bo Ryan and Jamie Dixon support the ball. “We are huge believers that even a series of tiny successes, strung together in sequence, will dramatically increase the probability that a player will continue to repeat something,” says Crowley. “When that happens in a game like basketball, it’s just amazing how fast improvement occurs.” Crowley and his team of engineers have already seen much success with the 94Fifty and developments of another basketball product are already underway — one that will focus more on live, game-time statistics. “In the end,” Crowley says, “there is no more satisfying response from customers than when we hear that scoring has gone up, championships are won, or even just making a team that wasn't thought possible, and our products had a hand in helping to achieve that goal.” While the $299 ball costs just a fraction of what continued elite-level coaching might cost, keep in mind that it won’t be able to help you develop all aspects of your game, including court vision and defensive skills. You’re on your own for those. To learn more about the 94Fifty or to purchase one, head to shop.94fifty.com.

The post 94Fifty: A Basketball That Records Every Shot and Dribble appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Make Better Use of Your Tracking Data http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fitness-tips-for-tracking-data/ http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/fitness-tips-for-tracking-data/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 16:15:03 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=23230 Tracking Data Watch

[caption id="attachment_23232" align="alignnone" width="620"]Tracking Data Watch Photo: Pond5[/caption]

With more fitness watches, technical gear and health apps on the market than ever before, users have every opportunity to gain deeper insights into their daily habits, a revolution known as the “quantified self.” But while these tracking devices might be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the amount of data they provide can seem limitless. In fact, between steps taken, calories burned, hours slept, and many more metrics, sifting through the numbers can be more overwhelming than navigating the gym in January.

So which metrics are most valuable when it comes to changing habits and getting closer to your health and fitness goals? To help you make the most of your data, we’ve broken down the four main metrics measured by most fitness trackers, what they actually mean, and how to start putting them to better use.

Made to Measure

1. Steps Taken

Are you reliant on the bus, car or train to get from point A to B to C each day? You're not alone. Americans, on average, take only about 5,117 steps per day, just over half the recommended 10,000 steps to qualify as “active.” To help increase overall movement throughout the day, most fitness trackers measure total steps taken (similar to a pedometer).

“If people know what moving more looks and feels like, they will come to know what too little movement looks and feels like as well.”

What It Really Means: While a higher number of steps taken per day has been correlated with a more favorable body composition, users shouldn’t take on the “10,000 or bust” philosophy for a few reasons. For one, fitness trackers can vary in accuracy with error percentages ranging from three to 30 percent, making it hard to nail down exactly how many steps you’ve taken throughout the day. Driving along bumpy roads or even just fidgeting at your desk can tally unearned steps as well. Differing opinions also exist as to exactly how many steps are recommended for optimal health, as that target will vary based on age, fitness level and other factors.

Make It More Meaningful: Rather than equating success with a particular number, use this metric to compare activity levels from one day to the next. Joe Vennare, personal trainer and co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, says that while he doesn’t necessarily factor steps per day in a training program, it can certainly help. According to Vennare, “If people know what moving more looks and feels like, they will come to know what too little movement looks and feels like as well.” He suggests using steps per day as a benchmark to become more active — not as a definitive measure of success. While 10,000 might be a great eventual goal, aim to take a few hundred more steps each day, and climb your way up from there, Vennare says.

2. Sleep Quality

Sleeping might seem simple enough — just crawl into bed at the end of the night, and snooze away until morning, right? Not if you’re one of the 40 million Americans suffering from sleep-related disorders each year. Even if you would consider yourself a normal sleeper, chances are you have had at least a few restless nights. But lack of sleep does more than just jack up your caffeine requirements the following day. Difficulty sleeping has been linked to an increased risk of obesity in adults. To make matters worse, individuals suffering from lack of shut-eye are more prone to poor decision making, including snacking on higher-calorie foods.

The end goal is to develop a sleeping routine that fits your needs and lifestyle.

What It Really Means: Unfortunately, fitness trackers can’t exactly tell whether you’re asleep or not (that would require measuring brain waves). Instead, most trackers rely on measuring movement and associate a decrease in movement with sleep. However, it’s possible to lie perfectly still in bed and still not get a wink of shuteye. While this feature might not offer a direct measurement of your time spent catching zzz’s, it can help you determine when you’re sound asleep or tossing and turning by monitoring movement levels.

Make It More Meaningful: Don’t fret over the actual number of hours slept during the night as that metric can vary in accuracy. Instead, use the sleep tracker data to identify how many times you tossed and turned once you hit the hay. While you might think you were out cold, the data might show otherwise. The end goal is to develop a sleeping routine that fits your needs and lifestyle. Whereas some individuals might be able to eat a full meal directly before bed, it might cause you to toss and turn all night. By looking at how many times you moved around while sleeping, you can help to solidify a routine and be on your way to a better night of rest. For starters, try removing the TV from your room and eliminating electronics from your nightly routine 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

3. Calories Burned

The “calories in vs. calories out” equation for obtaining a lean physique can make this metric a major focus point. To determine this number, trackers take into account overall activity along with the user’s height, weight and age. All of this information is then plugged into an equation that estimates the total calories burned throughout the day. Similar to the readings on exercise equipment, these measurements can vary in accuracy. A true measure of caloric burn requires a heart rate monitor (missing from most trackers). While the algorithms used by fitness trackers have improved over the past several years, users shouldn’t rely on this data as the definitive source for how many calories they have burned.

What It Really Means: Whereas fitness trackers can’t nail down the exact number of calories you burned in a given day, the number can be used to gauge overall activity. In general, a higher amount of calories burned implies a higher activity level whether that’s by exercising or just doing more household chores and taking the stairs.

Make It More Meaningful: Track your diet for several days and find out how many calories you’re taking in on average. If you’re consuming well above the amount your tracker indicates you’re burning, you'll likely want to curtail your eating habits or bump up your activity. Outside of simply helping to match your input to your output, use the metric to help increase your movement throughout the day. Try riding your bike to work or walking places whenever possible. Then, check out how many extra calories you burned. Seeing how much that extra half a mile at lunch influences your bottom line can have a big boost on motivation! 

4. Minutes of Activity/Inactivity

You might not notice when you’ve been inactive for 30-plus minutes in a row, but most fitness trackers can. Since longer periods of inactivity are associated with a potentially shortened lifespan, tracking devices — at their best — can encourage users to get active, and thus minimize the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Eric Bach, personal trainer and founder of Bach Performance, adds that inactivity (especially long periods of sitting) can also wreak havoc on your posture, causing issues like back pain and shoulder dysfunction.

In the end, it’s up to you to translate the information into action.

What It Really Means: Fitness trackers use motion sensors to determine when you’ve been sitting for too long. A consistent dip in motion is associated with inactivity (meaning it’s time to move!). To keep you off your seat and on your feet, many trackers will even vibrate after a certain timeframe of inactivity.

Make It More Meaningful: While trackers might offer a great resource to help keep you honest, you don’t need one to tell you when you’ve been sitting for too long. If you have access to a tracker, you can use it to alert you when you’ve been inactive or seated for 30 to 45 minutes. When the device sounds off, that’s your signal to get up, take a walk around the block, do some deskside burpees (fitness first!), or whatever your 9-to-5 will allow. Outside of the obvious health benefits that come with greater activity, these mini-breaks can also boost productivity making you more successful when you do sit back down. For those who don’t have access to a fitness tracker, Bach encourages the use of timers or phone alarms for the same effect.

Fitness trackers offer up an overwhelming amount of data translating our daily lives into colorful charts and graphs that can help us better understand patterns in our health. But while the gadgets — and the data they provide — might be cool to have, on their own they’re far from a quick fix for poor health habits. In the end, it’s up to you to translate the information into action. Rather than just relegating your fitness to a slew of numbers, focus on a small handful of metrics and create meaningful strategies to directly improve your health. After all, you aren’t a character in the Matrix so it’s impossible for a tracker to quantify all of the things that make you... you!

The post How to Make Better Use of Your Tracking Data appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Tracking Data Watch

[caption id="attachment_23232" align="alignnone" width="620"]Tracking Data Watch Photo: Pond5[/caption] With more fitness watches, technical gear and health apps on the market than ever before, users have every opportunity to gain deeper insights into their daily habits, a revolution known as the “quantified self.” But while these tracking devices might be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the amount of data they provide can seem limitless. In fact, between steps taken, calories burned, hours slept, and many more metrics, sifting through the numbers can be more overwhelming than navigating the gym in January. So which metrics are most valuable when it comes to changing habits and getting closer to your health and fitness goals? To help you make the most of your data, we’ve broken down the four main metrics measured by most fitness trackers, what they actually mean, and how to start putting them to better use.

Made to Measure

1. Steps Taken

Are you reliant on the bus, car or train to get from point A to B to C each day? You're not alone. Americans, on average, take only about 5,117 steps per day, just over half the recommended 10,000 steps to qualify as “active.” To help increase overall movement throughout the day, most fitness trackers measure total steps taken (similar to a pedometer).
“If people know what moving more looks and feels like, they will come to know what too little movement looks and feels like as well.”
What It Really Means: While a higher number of steps taken per day has been correlated with a more favorable body composition, users shouldn’t take on the “10,000 or bust” philosophy for a few reasons. For one, fitness trackers can vary in accuracy with error percentages ranging from three to 30 percent, making it hard to nail down exactly how many steps you’ve taken throughout the day. Driving along bumpy roads or even just fidgeting at your desk can tally unearned steps as well. Differing opinions also exist as to exactly how many steps are recommended for optimal health, as that target will vary based on age, fitness level and other factors. Make It More Meaningful: Rather than equating success with a particular number, use this metric to compare activity levels from one day to the next. Joe Vennare, personal trainer and co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, says that while he doesn’t necessarily factor steps per day in a training program, it can certainly help. According to Vennare, “If people know what moving more looks and feels like, they will come to know what too little movement looks and feels like as well.” He suggests using steps per day as a benchmark to become more active — not as a definitive measure of success. While 10,000 might be a great eventual goal, aim to take a few hundred more steps each day, and climb your way up from there, Vennare says.

2. Sleep Quality

Sleeping might seem simple enough — just crawl into bed at the end of the night, and snooze away until morning, right? Not if you’re one of the 40 million Americans suffering from sleep-related disorders each year. Even if you would consider yourself a normal sleeper, chances are you have had at least a few restless nights. But lack of sleep does more than just jack up your caffeine requirements the following day. Difficulty sleeping has been linked to an increased risk of obesity in adults. To make matters worse, individuals suffering from lack of shut-eye are more prone to poor decision making, including snacking on higher-calorie foods.
The end goal is to develop a sleeping routine that fits your needs and lifestyle.
What It Really Means: Unfortunately, fitness trackers can’t exactly tell whether you’re asleep or not (that would require measuring brain waves). Instead, most trackers rely on measuring movement and associate a decrease in movement with sleep. However, it’s possible to lie perfectly still in bed and still not get a wink of shuteye. While this feature might not offer a direct measurement of your time spent catching zzz’s, it can help you determine when you’re sound asleep or tossing and turning by monitoring movement levels. Make It More Meaningful: Don’t fret over the actual number of hours slept during the night as that metric can vary in accuracy. Instead, use the sleep tracker data to identify how many times you tossed and turned once you hit the hay. While you might think you were out cold, the data might show otherwise. The end goal is to develop a sleeping routine that fits your needs and lifestyle. Whereas some individuals might be able to eat a full meal directly before bed, it might cause you to toss and turn all night. By looking at how many times you moved around while sleeping, you can help to solidify a routine and be on your way to a better night of rest. For starters, try removing the TV from your room and eliminating electronics from your nightly routine 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

3. Calories Burned

The “calories in vs. calories out” equation for obtaining a lean physique can make this metric a major focus point. To determine this number, trackers take into account overall activity along with the user’s height, weight and age. All of this information is then plugged into an equation that estimates the total calories burned throughout the day. Similar to the readings on exercise equipment, these measurements can vary in accuracy. A true measure of caloric burn requires a heart rate monitor (missing from most trackers). While the algorithms used by fitness trackers have improved over the past several years, users shouldn’t rely on this data as the definitive source for how many calories they have burned. What It Really Means: Whereas fitness trackers can’t nail down the exact number of calories you burned in a given day, the number can be used to gauge overall activity. In general, a higher amount of calories burned implies a higher activity level whether that’s by exercising or just doing more household chores and taking the stairs. Make It More Meaningful: Track your diet for several days and find out how many calories you’re taking in on average. If you’re consuming well above the amount your tracker indicates you’re burning, you'll likely want to curtail your eating habits or bump up your activity. Outside of simply helping to match your input to your output, use the metric to help increase your movement throughout the day. Try riding your bike to work or walking places whenever possible. Then, check out how many extra calories you burned. Seeing how much that extra half a mile at lunch influences your bottom line can have a big boost on motivation! 

4. Minutes of Activity/Inactivity

You might not notice when you’ve been inactive for 30-plus minutes in a row, but most fitness trackers can. Since longer periods of inactivity are associated with a potentially shortened lifespan, tracking devices — at their best — can encourage users to get active, and thus minimize the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Eric Bach, personal trainer and founder of Bach Performance, adds that inactivity (especially long periods of sitting) can also wreak havoc on your posture, causing issues like back pain and shoulder dysfunction.
In the end, it’s up to you to translate the information into action.
What It Really Means: Fitness trackers use motion sensors to determine when you’ve been sitting for too long. A consistent dip in motion is associated with inactivity (meaning it’s time to move!). To keep you off your seat and on your feet, many trackers will even vibrate after a certain timeframe of inactivity. Make It More Meaningful: While trackers might offer a great resource to help keep you honest, you don’t need one to tell you when you’ve been sitting for too long. If you have access to a tracker, you can use it to alert you when you’ve been inactive or seated for 30 to 45 minutes. When the device sounds off, that’s your signal to get up, take a walk around the block, do some deskside burpees (fitness first!), or whatever your 9-to-5 will allow. Outside of the obvious health benefits that come with greater activity, these mini-breaks can also boost productivity making you more successful when you do sit back down. For those who don’t have access to a fitness tracker, Bach encourages the use of timers or phone alarms for the same effect. Fitness trackers offer up an overwhelming amount of data translating our daily lives into colorful charts and graphs that can help us better understand patterns in our health. But while the gadgets — and the data they provide — might be cool to have, on their own they’re far from a quick fix for poor health habits. In the end, it’s up to you to translate the information into action. Rather than just relegating your fitness to a slew of numbers, focus on a small handful of metrics and create meaningful strategies to directly improve your health. After all, you aren’t a character in the Matrix so it’s impossible for a tracker to quantify all of the things that make you... you!

The post How to Make Better Use of Your Tracking Data appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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