Health Boosters http://blog.withings.com Freshly blended healthy tips and news by Withings Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:17:41 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The Day You’ll Start to Gain Weight (If You’re Not Careful) http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/22/data-story-weight-gain/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/22/data-story-weight-gain/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:17:41 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=22032

Weight varies over the course of the year. The average person loses weight during the summer. But, according to our research, by fall, they start re-gaining weight. This weight gain reaches a peak in December and January, when it’s cold and they are celebrating year-end festivities. As you can see from the graph above, in […]

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Weight varies over the course of the year. The average person loses weight during the summer. But, according to our research, by fall, they start re-gaining weight. This weight gain reaches a peak in December and January, when it’s cold and they are celebrating year-end festivities.

As you can see from the graph above, in the US, the lowest weight is reached at September 23rd, and then the line starts going up.

Is this fall weight gain inevitable?

It seems for many people, fall is a time they fall off the wagon when it comes to watching their weight. But since 1 out of 3 people succeed in maintaining their weight after September 23rd, we wanted to know more about what makes them so special. How to they avoid slippery slope of weight gain? We found out that people who successfully maintained their weight had some unique traits when compared to the people who gained weight. Maintainers:

  • Weigh themselves 40% more often than the others.
  • Are 23% more active.
  • 78% of them fixed a target weight.

Since these seem to be the 3 keys to maintaining a summer shape, while also avoiding the dreaded holiday slide — take heed, and try to follow their lead!

Study methodology

This study was conducted by Withings based on anonymous data from a pool of more than 65,000 users of Withings scales in the US. All the weight data used in the study are measurement data pushed automatically and in real-time by the scales onto the Withings cloud platforms. The representativity of the study population was established by comparing its body mass index (BMI) distribution with that of the Global Health Observatory (GHO) 2014 data, by country. According to the GHO, the rate of people with a BMI equal to or higher than 25 – overweight or obese people – in the US is of 67.3%. The same rate observed in our study population. A part of this study, based on a smaller sample, has been published and presented at the 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in August 2016. The publication can be found here. Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of all its users. Therefore, all data used in this study is anonymized and aggregate data.

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Peter Sagal Goes The Extra Mile For And With Public Radio Fans http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/19/peter-sagal-goes-extra-mile-public-radio-fans/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/19/peter-sagal-goes-extra-mile-public-radio-fans/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:52:43 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=22062

On September 26th, WBEZ in Chicago will host the third edition of Ready, Wait Wait… Go! with Peter Sagal, pictured, which is billed as “a fun, easy run with Peter and fellow public radio nerds” in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. The upcoming WBEZ run is not a race, and they swear Peter will slow down […]

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Peter Sagal WBEZ

Photo credit: Kyle Cassidy

On September 26th, WBEZ in Chicago will host the third edition of Ready, Wait Wait… Go! with Peter Sagal, pictured, which is billed as “a fun, easy run with Peter and fellow public radio nerds” in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.

The upcoming WBEZ run is not a race, and they swear Peter will slow down for it, because his fans know he is a seasoned runner. To date he’s chalked up 13 marathons, sports a PR of 3:09 at Philadelphia in 2009, and writes a flipping fantastic column called Road Scholar for Runner’s World.

We sat down with Peter — where “sat down” equals emailed him — to ask him a few questions about his upcoming 5K. Put your feet up, check it out, and then register online to be eligible for the free shirt, pre-race water, and post-race beer.

Peter Sagal 5k WBEZ

A Few Heart-Pounding Questions for Peter Sagal

Withings: You are a seasoned in-shape type runner, but this is billed as an “easy 5K.” Are you currently training to go slower? Or will you wear lead sneakers or something?

Sagal: Yes, sure, but I’m also 51 years old. People will think I’m stopping to let slower runners catch up. Let them.

 

Rumor has it you came to running late — is this true? Do you see this as an advantage?

It’s true. After a very mediocre one season as a high school cross-country runner, I slid into indolence and only became a serious runner in my early 40s, a classic midlife crisis, although healthier than some of the other varieties available. The only advantage I can see is that I had a lot of room to improve… I went from a couch to qualifying for Boston in about two years. The bad news is that the inevitable decline came sooner. It’s like finally learning to drive really fast just a mile in front of a cliff.

 

Do you know anything about the fitness level of any other NPR personalities?

In general, we are a bunch of people dedicated to the life of the mind, if you get my drift. However, Daniel Zwerdling used to be known for skipping his lunch in order to run around Washington, DC, and my own senior producer, Ian Chillag, has a 2:39 PR in the marathon. That said, if anybody in public radio had been, say, captain of their HS baseball team, they probably wouldn’t be in public radio.

 

WBEZ says there are “no times or chips” in this race, so if one were to just Uber to the finish line for the beer and refreshments, is that a scandal-free option? Asking for a friend. OK, what I’m really saying is, can I just come for the beer?

There are no rules, because there are no rewards. You may do what you like. However, just to avoid mocking, I recommend wearing technical fabric and spraying on some sweat.

 

Apparently there will be music after the run. What kind?

It’s public radio, so probably Neko Case and Portuguese Fado music.

 

Follow up: if some don’t manage to finish, will Kai Rysdall be there with the wah wah trombones?

No, but Terry Gross will be to interview you about your deepest feelings of shame and regret.

 

Will the custom event T-shirt and pre-race water be up to the high politically-correct standards of the public radio audience?

All sustainably sourced, and they will be conflict-free t-shirts.

 

Anything I should’ve asked, but didn’t?

If you had asked, “How much fun is this?” I would have said a LOT. Unlike most stuffy public radio fundraisers, this one is outside, everybody wears shorts, and we run around and then drink beer. What could be better?

***

Thanks to Peter for his time. Want some more inspiration?

Check out Running: A Love Story and our profile on Nerdstrong Gym.

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Stanford Medicine X | Withings Research Challenge http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/16/stanford-medicine-x-withings-research-challenge/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/16/stanford-medicine-x-withings-research-challenge/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 15:34:49 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21998

Withings, part of the Nokia family, is excited to announce the launch of a Research Challenge in partnership with Stanford Medicine X to help promote medical research on chronic diseases. Connected health companies like Withings have created innovative devices and mobile applications that are changing the landscape of healthcare for patients, healthcare providers, and researchers. […]

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jupiter_stanford_medx_logo_V4

Withings, part of the Nokia family, is excited to announce the launch of a Research Challenge in partnership with Stanford Medicine X to help promote medical research on chronic diseases.

Connected health companies like Withings have created innovative devices and mobile applications that are changing the landscape of healthcare for patients, healthcare providers, and researchers. Such connected products can provide researchers with real-time, accurate health data that can be very useful when conducting studies on the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

This Challenge encourages healthcare providers and researchers to submit a research project proposal to study cardiovascular disease using Withings connected devices or the Withings database. The winner or winners of the challenge will receive Withings products to support the study, access to the Withings database, and mentorship from the Withings research team.

Withings will be accepting research project proposals until October 15, 2016. For more information, visit the Stanford Medicine X website.

Additionally, Withings founder and Nokia Tech VP of Digital Health Cédric Hutchings is speaking at the Stanford Medicine X Conference today. Check back soon for a video of his talk.

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Fidget Your Way To Better Heart Health? http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/15/fidget-way-better-heart-health/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/15/fidget-way-better-heart-health/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 18:24:27 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=22042

Don’t Sit Still For This News… In our modern world full of computers, conference calls, commutes and classrooms, much of our day-to-day living is done sitting down. Many of us spend the first half-hour of our day seated in a car, bus or train. Then, we walk up a flight of stairs—or just take the […]

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Don’t Sit Still For This News…

In our modern world full of computers, conference calls, commutes and classrooms, much of our day-to-day living is done sitting down. Many of us spend the first half-hour of our day seated in a car, bus or train. Then, we walk up a flight of stairs—or just take the elevator to our offices—where we sit until lunchtime. According to a 2013 survey by Ergotron, the average American spends an average of 13 hours a day sitting and another 8 hours sleeping. That only leaves us with about three hours of activity.

Improved blood flow for fidgeters

A recent article in the New York Times titled, Why Fidgeting is Good Medicine, discusses a new study with findings that suggest that fidgeting, the thing your teachers always told you to stop doing, may actually be beneficial to your health. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Physiology, hypothesized that “sitting-induced reductions in shear stress and ensuing endothelial dysfunction would be prevented by periodic leg movement or ‘fidgeting.’” In other words, the negative impact sitting for extended period of time has on your blood vessels may be prevented through fidgeting.

The study found eleven, “young, healthy subjects” who were asked to sit for three straight hours without standing up. Before and after the sitting period, measurements of artery flow were taken on each of their legs. During the study, subjects used one leg to fidget on a five-minute cycle (1 minute of movement, 4 minutes of rest) while keeping their other leg—or control leg—still. This continued throughout the experiment, and at the end of the three hours, researchers found that the leg which had been allowed to fidget had a “pronounced increase in popliteal artery blood flow” compared to the leg which had remained still.

Dr. Jaume Padilla, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri who led the study, reported that he and his team “were surprised by the magnitude of the difference” between the sedentary leg and the leg that had been allowed movement. When explaining the implications of the study to the New York Times, he said that although “the muscular contractions associated with fidgeting are really quite small … it appears that they are sufficient” in maintaining healthy circulation.

Although the study was limited to a small group of young subjects who were considered to be healthy, and it may be necessary to repeat the process using a larger subject pool, the general results seem to point towards fidgeting as an important part of maintaining our cardiovascular health while seated throughout the day.

So, whether you’re at work or school, if you can’t get up and move around during the day, don’t feel guilty about fidgeting. Go ahead, bounce, wiggle, and work on that tap-dance routine under your desk.

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Resting Heart Rate 101 http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/14/resting-heart-rate-101/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/14/resting-heart-rate-101/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:31:31 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21966

What is resting heart rate, and why is it important to track? Below we address a few commonly asked questions about resting heart rate and how it can help you assess your cardiovascular health.   What is resting heart rate? Resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute during periods […]

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What is resting heart rate, and why is it important to track? Below we address a few commonly asked questions about resting heart rate and how it can help you assess your cardiovascular health.

 

What is resting heart rate?

Resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute during periods of inactivity. By taking your heart rate when you’re sedentary, you can measure the least amount of work your heart can do to sustain life when you are awake.

What is the best way to measure resting heart rate?

One of the best times to take your resting heart rate is when you first wake up in the morning, while you’re still lying down. This heart rate will be indicative of your lowest possible heart rate while not sleeping. The American Heart Association suggests taking your pulse from your wrist, the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck, or the top of your foot.

You can also take your heart rate using the Withings Health Mate app. Simply tap the + sign, select Heart Rate, and place your finger over the light on your phone’s camera until it detects your pulse.

What is a healthy resting heart rate?

A healthy heart rate is often considered between 60-100 beats per minute. However, more recent studies have found that 50-85 bpm is a more optimal range. In fact, having a heart rate lower than 60 is often an indicator of good cardiovascular fitness. For example, an endurance athlete might have a resting heart rate of 40. A resting heart rate of under 40 or over 100 could indicate pathology, so it is important to see a doctor if you experience this.

Why is resting heart rate a good indicator of cardiovascular health?

As previously mentioned, a low heart rate can be a good indicator of physical fitness or health. The healthier you are, the stronger and more powerful your heart is, and the less hard it has to work to circulate oxygen-rich blood to your body’s muscles.

On the other hand, a high resting heart rate can be a warning sign for potential medical problems. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and a high resting heart rate could mean you’re at a greater risk for heart problems. Furthermore, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, resting heart rate can be “an independent predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in men and women with and without diagnosed cardiovascular disease.”

How can you lower your resting heart rate?

Most importantly, add some cardiovascular exercise to your daily routine. This is one of the best ways to strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of heart disease. According to Yale professor Dr. John Elefteriades, “Exercise increases your heart’s efficiency, reducing the number of heartbeats you need to achieve blood flow.”

Maintaining a healthy weight is also an important factor in keeping your resting heart rate within a healthy range. Being overweight means the heart has to work harder when your move, or even stand. Regular exercise may help you maintain a healthy weight, but eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet is also very important.

Another way to decrease your resting heart rate is to cut back on caffeine. If you’re a heavy coffee or soda drinker, your heart rate is likely higher than it needs to be. Minimizing your intake can help reduce reduce this effect.

It’s important to keep in mind other factors that can impact resting heart rate. Certain medications, such as beta-blockers, can lower it, while smoking or dehydration can cause your pulse to increase.

*****

Now that you know the basics of resting heart rate, you can work on keeping your heart healthy and happy. If you’re interested in tracking your resting heart rate, check out our newest activity tracker with heart rate monitoring, Steel HR, and sign up to know when it becomes available.

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Bite Or Flight? The Dieter’s Dilemma. http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/13/abstinence-v-moderation-diet/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/13/abstinence-v-moderation-diet/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:16:34 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=22002

Like drugs and alcohol, food can be an addiction—especially junk foods high in fat, salt and sugar. According to the Food Addiction Institute, continuous eating of highly palatable foods, or junk food, can cause chemical dependencies, which lead to cravings. Just like with drug and alcohol addiction, figuring out whether abstinence or moderation works best […]

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Like drugs and alcohol, food can be an addiction—especially junk foods high in fat, salt and sugar. According to the Food Addiction Institute, continuous eating of highly palatable foods, or junk food, can cause chemical dependencies, which lead to cravings. Just like with drug and alcohol addiction, figuring out whether abstinence or moderation works best for you can set you on the path to overcoming those unhealthy cravings.

We’ve all heard the old mantra, “everything in moderation,” and a few of us are even capable of sticking to it. Our own Susie Felber, Global Content Director at Withings, told me about her mother-in-law, who seems to be the epitome of a successful moderator, saying, “She adores good chocolate, breaks off a square or two, and wraps the bar back up until the next time she wants it. I doubt she’s ever had a binge in her life, and she’s kept to a healthy weight for her entire life. She drinks wine almost daily — but only a glass. She also smokes cigarettes, which one would say is a very bad thing, however she’s always been happy with having just one or two a day. At 81 years old, there’s little fear she’ll suddenly go off the rails, and so none of her friends or family are stepping in to tell her to quit.” She adds, “If there’s a gene for moderation, I don’t have it, but hope it’s been passed to my kids!”

For all the lucky people out there like Susie’s mother-in-law, who can be satisfied by indulging in just a small amount of something, practicing moderation is a great way to slip in a tasty treat. By controlling the portion size of sugar, salt and fat-dense foods, you can enjoy your favorite unhealthy foods while still maintaining an overall healthy diet. However, many of us struggle to eat just one piece of chocolate, one cookie, or one potato chip. For those of us who can’t stop once we’ve had that first bite, we might be better off abstaining from junk food all together.

Although it is still debated, in the world of addiction recovery, abstinence is generally accepted as the best method for cutting out unhealthy habits. According to SMART Recovery, in the long run, there’s less risk in cutting out unhealthy habits altogether than there is in attempting to incorporate them into an otherwise healthy lifestyle. However, alcohol and drug addictions differ from food addictions in that these substances can be completely eliminated, while food as a whole cannot. However, it is possible to eliminate added sugar or processed foods, for example. Not only that, but the longer you go without eating fries or candy bars, the less your body will crave them.

However, for others, seeing certain foods as off-limits can cause feelings of deprivation and intensify cravings. These types of people may do better with an approach of moderation, which allows them to occasionally indulge in junk foods guilt-free. At the same time, it’s important that this “moderation” doesn’t turn into excess and lead to a complete derailment of an otherwise healthy diet.

One celebrity who passionately believes in abstaining from certain foods during weight loss is Penn Jillette, best known as the taller half of the comedy-and-magic duo Penn & Teller. In a 2015 article, Jillette stated, “Not only do I not do moderation, I don’t respect it in any way.” After being hospitalized from excess weight-related health issues, Jillette opted to drop pounds on his own, instead of allowing doctors to perform weight loss surgery. With the help of the Withings scale and blood pressure monitor, Jillette lost 120 pounds in four months by eliminating salt, sugar, animal products and refined grains, and eating only “whole plants.”

Regardless of whether you choose to keep yourself in check by eating small amounts of what you crave or by eliminating junk foods altogether, incorporating an app or connected device could help you stay on track with your weight and health. With a Withings scale, you can track weight trends and give yourself a sense of accountability. Or, like Jillette, who recruited friends to lose weight and start eating healthy alongside him, you could find a few people willing to join you in practicing healthy habits. With support and a competitive spirit, you can make a healthy lifestyle change fun instead of seeing it as an obstacle to be overcome.

Whether you practice moderation, abstinence, or a combination of the two, backing away from refined sugar, salt and fats, and moving towards natural whole-foods is a great step towards a healthier lifestyle.

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What more good stuff to sink your teeth into? Check out 5 Simple Recipes for Better Heart Health.

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Healthy Brew, Healthy You: The Unique Benefits of Tea http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/09/healthy-brew-healthy-unique-benefits-tea/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/09/healthy-brew-healthy-unique-benefits-tea/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:04:41 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21223

Tea aficionados worldwide are now crafting their cupfuls with a seriousness that rivals that of craft beer brewers. Despite this niche tendency, picking up a cuppa means you’re on trend: Tea can now be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. On any given day, over 158 million Americans can be found drinking tea, […]

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Tea aficionados worldwide are now crafting their cupfuls with a seriousness that rivals that of craft beer brewers. Despite this niche tendency, picking up a cuppa means you’re on trend: Tea can now be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. On any given day, over 158 million Americans can be found drinking tea, according to the Tea Association of the United States, a number that has more than quadrupled during the past twenty-odd years. While we still lag considerably behind China and Turkey in tea consumption, tea is actually still the most widely consumed beverage on the planet, next to water.

According to tea expert Chris Giddings, the origins of the beverage we enjoy today date back to China in the year 2737 B.C., when the emperor Shen Nung rested beneath a Camellia sinensis tree while his servant boiled water. When some of the leaves dropped into the pot, the renowned ruler and herbalist tasted the infusion, and tea was born.

So if you’re looking for a relaxing, calorie-free way to quench your thirst, boost your antioxidants, and steal a moment of mindfulness, boil the kettle and pack some leaves in your pot.

Afternoon Tea

Photo credit: Tea & Sympathy

A Hydrating Brew

We all know we should drink eight glasses of water each day to stay hydrated, right? Herbal tea can help you reach that goal, and even tea with caffeine counts. Depending on the leaves, and how you steep it, tea boasts just one-third the caffeine when compared cup for cup with java. While any amount of caffeine can have a diuretic effect, tea is comprised of approximately 99% water, so it can contribute healthfully to your daily fluid intake.

A Spiritual Boost

Many cultures have ritualized tea preparation, using it as a moment in time to pause and retreat from workday responsibilities. In Japan, this Zen-like meditation is referred to as “The Way of Tea,” and in China, “The Art of Tea.” Either way, it boils down to slowing down and savoring the moment. This type of mindfulness lowers blood pressure and increases feelings of calmness, in addition to boosting creativity.

According to Nicola Perry, co-owner of Greenwich Village’s Tea & Sympathy, tea helps support the spirit in other ways, too. For the English, Perry tells us, “Tea is quite a ritual… you sit and you have it with someone else. It’s a social thing, isn’t it? The first thing someone does when you go to their house is put the kettle on.” According to the restaurateur, offering tea is a way to take care of and connect with others. “You’re crying, you get tea. You’re happy, you get tea. It’s a way to celebrate and commiserate. If you’ve got absolutely nothing to say, you still get tea.” Women also especially love tea, Perry says, as an excuse to get together and bond over a gossip session.

Tea & Sympathy

Photo credit: Tea & Sympathy

Medicinal Properties

Modern science tells us that bioactive chemicals found in green and black tea are chock-full of polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals that cause damage on a cellular level. Over time, the damage can become irreversible and lead to disease, including cancer, and tea can help prevent this from occuring.

But tea wasn’t always hailed as a health drink, Giddings shares. “Less than 250 years ago, wealthy philanthropists worried that tea drinking among the working class would lead to weakness and melancholy.” It was only in the middle of the 19th century, when the anti-alcohol temperance movement was in full swing that tea drinking was supported as a healthful beverage for the laboring class. And today we can feel good about downing our daily brew – Giddings says four cups daily are recommended to boost health.

Picking a Favorite

Perry says that while her favorite tea brands are the English Yorkshire Gold and PG Tips, she has concocted a Tea & Sympathy line to suit her own tastes, of which Earl Grey is especially popular among customers. But there are so many options to cater to individual preferences, such as the ginger tea, which she tells us is a “tisane” or herbal, non-caffeinated tea. But Giddings has a tough time picking her own favorite. “This question is difficult because I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding favorites, trying to give each tea its own individual attention. But if I had to give just one, I’d say Genmaicha, which is a Japanese green tea blended with roasted rice. This was my first loose tea, and what has inspired my palate since the first sip.”

A Joyful Experience

“Tea is rich and delicious,” Perry gushes, “and it’s pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds.” She always serves hers in china cups, and does insist that if you want a quality cup, then you have to use proper boiling water and good quality tea to start with. She simply loves the beverage, she tells us, and enjoys it purely for that reason. Any health boosts are icing on the proverbial tea cake to her. “I know that there are certain teas that give you health benefits. I’m English – I just care that it tastes good.”

Shepherd's Pie

Photo credit: Tea & Sympathy

As far as getting it right goes, Giddings tells us he gives the same advice to everyone: “Not every tea is for you. You will find those you like, and those you don’t. Try not to force a type of tea on yourself, but instead find teas you love…and then seek out similar teas to expand your range experiences.”

If you’re looking for a health-enhancing, soothing pick-me-up that can be enjoyed with friends, tea just may be your kettle of fish.

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Mermaid Tails For A Fin-tastic Workout? http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/08/mermaid-tails-aquamermaid-fitness/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/08/mermaid-tails-aquamermaid-fitness/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:31:33 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21974

After an underwater photographer asked model Marielle Chartier Henault to put on a mermaid tail fin for a shoot, she discovered that she really didn’t want to take it off. She also realized what a great workout wearing a mermaid tail while moving through the water could be. Henault told Withings that the sensation of […]

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After an underwater photographer asked model Marielle Chartier Henault to put on a mermaid tail fin for a shoot, she discovered that she really didn’t want to take it off. She also realized what a great workout wearing a mermaid tail while moving through the water could be. Henault told Withings that the sensation of swimming with a tail or monofin is freeing and feels like flying underwater. She wanted to share that sensation with others, so she combined her passions for swimming, fitness and mermaid magic to create the AquaMermaid School.

The school teaches students how to swim with a monofin, and each class begins with a swim test and warm up. FYI to aspiring mermaids — you must be able to swim 10 meters (32 ft.) alone to join the class. Mermaids-in-training then learn the dolphin kick and several synchronized swimming techniques. Finally, students play games and do challenges in the water.

Henault explains that swimming with the mermaid fin gives you a great low-impact core and cardio workout that is gentle on the joints. In addition to engaging your abs, swimming with the monofin works the glutes, back, and arms. The mermaid fin also propels you through the water very quickly so you can swim at top speeds.

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Aside from the physical benefits, Henault adds that “psychologically, it gives you a great boost as well—who wouldn’t want to be a strong, powerful, gorgeous mythical creature skimming gracefully through the water? It can be incredible for self esteem.” Several AquaMermaid students have described the experience of mermaid swimming as making them feel graceful, sexy, and powerful. For Heanult, it gives her “a sense of peace and power.”

Although most of Henault’s students are grown women, she also offers classes and parties for children starting at age 7. She even has a handful of mermen in her classes, and on Valentine’s Day, she offers a special couples session. If you can swim, the mermaid workout is safe for all ages and sizes, and you can borrow mermaid tails up to adult size 14 or buy a fin online. Right now, you can find AquaMermaid Schools across Canada and the US at various pools, including a variety of luxury resorts and hotels.

If you’re tired of all those two-legged land-based fitness options, you might want to try taking your exercise under the sea. Mermaid classes are sure to give your body and your imagination a wonderful workout.

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Looking for other ways to get fit in the water? Check out Aqua Tone for a fresh take on water aerobics.  

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10 Ways To Lose Weight Without Dieting http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/06/10-ways-lose-weight-without-dieting/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/06/10-ways-lose-weight-without-dieting/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:30:20 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21957

Although it sounds too good to be true, there are actually simple ways to help you lose weight by changing your daily habits. From getting enough sleep, to logging your food, to packing your own lunch — check out the infographic below and see how many of our best practices you can incorporate into your […]

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Although it sounds too good to be true, there are actually simple ways to help you lose weight by changing your daily habits. From getting enough sleep, to logging your food, to packing your own lunch — check out the infographic below and see how many of our best practices you can incorporate into your routine.

Lose weight without dieting

 

Want more inspiration? Check out some real-life Withings Success Stories.

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10 Easy Ways to Improve Health http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/02/10-easy-ways-improve-health/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/02/10-easy-ways-improve-health/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2016 15:10:29 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21943

1. Weigh Yourself Every Day Weighing yourself every morning can help you keep track of your daily habits. It can give you insight into whether your actions are having a positive impact on your body, or whether they’re holding you back. According to Cornell professor, David Levitsky, “stepping on the scales should be like brushing your […]

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1. Weigh Yourself Every Day

Weighing yourself every morning can help you keep track of your daily habits. It can give you insight into whether your actions are having a positive impact on your body, or whether they’re holding you back. According to Cornell professor, David Levitsky, “stepping on the scales should be like brushing your teeth.” So don’t be afraid to add it to your morning routine!

Related: Withings advanced Wi-Fi scales that keep track for you

2. Snack On Some Veggies

Veggies

With a busy lifestyle, it can be easy to do what’s fast instead of what’s healthy, especially when it comes to food. Unfortunately, that means vegetables often go ignored; but, by skipping veggies, you’re also skipping important nutrients and vitamins. The USDA reports that not only are vegetables important for reducing the risks of chronic diseases, they’re also helpful in lowering your calorie intake, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Veggies are low in fat and calories, high in fiber, and fill you up faster than junk food.

3. Take a Walk At Lunchtime

According to the New York Times, a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine found that people who walked during their lunch hour not only reported increased positivity and enthusiasm, but less tension throughout the day as well. A walk can also help you manage weight, lower blood pressure and strengthen your bones. Not only that, but walking outdoors can get you away from your dingy desk and into the sunshine!

4. Turn Off All Electronics 30 Minutes Before Bed

A photo by Thom. unsplash.com/photos/Zdcq3iKly6g

With laptops and smart phones it can be easy to drag our gadgets into the bedroom with us. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, these devices emit blue light, so using them before bed can inhibit the production of melatonin in your brain. This keeps you alert and awake. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, turn off text and email notifications when it’s time to sleep, and leave it out of your bed and on your nightstand or dresser.

5. Get a Full Eight Hours of Sleep

Sleep is a time for your body to cleanse and recharge itself for the coming day, so it’s important not to miss out on your zzz’s. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help you feel more rested and improve your mood. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult requires around eight hours of sleep per night, so if possible, try to pick a bedtime for yourself and stick to it.

6. Schedule Regular Doctor’s Appointments

Too many of us only go to the doctor’s office when we’re sick, but making regular appointments can help prevent future health problems. Doctors can monitor physical health by checking blood pressure and cholesterol levels, taking blood samples, and even screening for potential health risks like cancer or diabetes. Even if you feel great, it never hurts to take a few preventative measures.

7. Get Indoor Plants

Indoorplant

The fact that plants help purify the air is commonly known, but did you know they can also sharpen focus and help you work better? A study at the Royal College of Agriculture in England found that students who were taught in classrooms that contained plants were more attentive than those without. Not only that, but different indoor plants come with different benefits. For example, the spider plant can quickly purify the air and remove formaldehyde, while the snake plant can remove nitrogen oxide, a common byproduct of fuel appliances.

Related: 8 Houseplants that Improve the Air

8. Check Your Posture

There are too many things in our daily lives that can impact our posture, from hunching over a desk to carrying a heavy backpack. Unless you’re a dancer, posture probably isn’t something you think about too often. But it’s important to remember that bad posture can cause soreness, inhibit movement, which makes you more prone to injuries, and even impact your breathing. It’s a good idea to check in with your posture throughout the day. Plus, standing up straight doesn’t just help your physical health, it can make you look and feel more confident too!

9. Stretch

Stretch

If you are someone who has difficulty correcting bad posture, stretching might be helpful. Although we usually only think about stretching to warm up or relieve soreness after exercise, finding time to stretch daily could give you a boost. Stretching increases blood flow throughout your body, which allows the brain to get more oxygen and makes you feel more refreshed and alert. According to UC Davis, stretching can calm your mind, release tension and increase energy.

10. Breathe Deeply

If you’ve ever tried yoga, you’ve probably done a few deep-breathing exercises. If you haven’t, it might be worth a shot. Controlled breathing is an activity you can do no matter where you are, and it can have an almost instantaneous impact on your mood. Breathing deeply helps get oxygen into your body and flushes out carbon dioxide. In addition to having cleansing benefits, deep breaths, Forbes reports that it can lower your blood pressure and heart rate and help you manage stress and anxiety.

Even if you can’t follow all ten health tips, adopting just one or two is a great step towards a healthier lifestyle and a happier day.

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Looking for more ways to get healthy? Check out these 5 simple heart-healthy recipes.

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Massage Benefits: Beyond Spa Day http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/01/massages/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/09/01/massages/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:55:58 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21938

Every birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Groundhog Day, or any holiday that might involve a gift, I ask my husband for the same thing — a gift certificate to a spa for a massage. My family teases me for spewing, “I feel like a new person!” after every massage. Now I know why. It’s not just […]

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Every birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Groundhog Day, or any holiday that might involve a gift, I ask my husband for the same thing — a gift certificate to a spa for a massage. My family teases me for spewing, “I feel like a new person!” after every massage. Now I know why. It’s not just because I went an hour without fetching a sippy cup or wiping a nose. Massage actually offers a host of health benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage, or the act of pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments, is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. The Mayo Clinic website explains that while research is ongoing, some studies have found that massage may be helpful for treating everything from anxiety to fibromyalgia to sports injuries.

Even if you aren’t suffering from a specific condition that needs treatment, The Mayo Clinic reports that “beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.”

There are many types of massage, which involve varying levels of pressure and different goals. Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Sports Massage are the most popular. All of these massage techniques help improve circulation and even move toxins out of the body, which is why it is important to hydrate after a massage. Massage services are no longer just found in spas and gyms — they are available in airports, malls, and hospitals. Some businesses even have a resident massage therapist on staff for its employees.

A variety of athletes, from boxers to ballerinas, have weekly massages to speed recovery and prevent injury. The US Olympic team takes a posse of massage therapists with them to each Olympic games, and many athletes credit massage as a major factor in helping them perform their best. On October 29th, the American Massage Therapy Association will close its convention with a program called “Olympians and Massage,” during which four Olympic gold medalists will expand on how massage helped them take home the gold in their respective sports.

It turns out that massage can also help you medal in sleep. Massage is a recommended treatment for sleep disorders, because it relaxes your body, relieving tension and leading to more easeful sleep. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website, “Massage has long been known to enhance relaxation and improve sleep patterns. While massage alone is an effective method for relaxation, studies suggest that massage with essential oils (called aromatherapy), particularly lavender, may result in improved sleep quality, more stable mood, increased mental capacity, and reduced anxiety.”

In case you’re not a fan of the whole naked-with-a-stranger aspect of massage, another option for relaxation and pain treatment is reflexology. In this case, the therapist only works on your hands and feet. A recent article called Taking Charge of your Health and Well Being, published by the University of Minnesota, explains how reflexology differs from massage: “Reflexology focuses on reflex maps of points and areas of the body in the feet, hands, and ears using unique micro movement techniques such as thumb or finger walking and hood and backup with the goal of creating a response throughout the body.” The same article also reveals that “reflexology is growing increasingly popular in Europe and Asia as both a compliment to other treatments and as a preventive measure. One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early 90’s. According to several studies, the practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced sick leave and absenteeism.”

So next time you’re looking for the perfect gift for a spouse, friend, or coworker, consider the gift of massage. Alternatively, consider gifting yourself with a few sessions. After all, it’s good for your health!

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How else can you improve your health? Read about how the simple act of keeping your bedroom dark can help.

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A Race to the Finish: Marathon Training Weeks 9 & 10 http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/30/race-finish-marathon-training-weeks-9-10/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/30/race-finish-marathon-training-weeks-9-10/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:24:13 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21919

Training had been going pretty well until the end of week 9. My speed and endurance were improving week to week, and I was feeling great about how my body was handling such a large volume of training. Everything was going my way! Then, after Friday’s run, I took my sneakers off and the top […]

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MarathonWeeks9&10_2

Training had been going pretty well until the end of week 9. My speed and endurance were improving week to week, and I was feeling great about how my body was handling such a large volume of training. Everything was going my way! Then, after Friday’s run, I took my sneakers off and the top of my right foot was achey. I didn’t think much of it. But as I was lacing up my sneakers for Saturday’s 17-mile run, I noticed the pain again. And again, I brushed it off, thinking it wouldn’t be an issue once I got warmed up.

For the first half of my long run, I felt fine. Then I started to notice that any time I stopped to wait for traffic, when I started running again, the top of my foot would twinge for 10 seconds or so. As my toes flexed to push my weight forward, the pain would surge, forcing me to avoid putting too much weight on it until I got back into a rhythm. By the end of my run, the pain had gotten so bad that I couldn’t walk comfortably. I rested for the rest of the weekend, did a short test run on Monday that told me I was still injured, and then decided not to run again for the rest of the week.

However, I continued to walk to and from work, which is about an hour round trip. As a result of the injury, I had been altering my gait, shifting my weight more to the outside bottom of my right foot, which started to cause a lot of pain there as well.

By the time Friday rolled around, the original injury was feeling quite a bit better, but the bottom of my foot was still hurting. Yet I chose to run because I couldn’t stand the thought of taking off more time running. I told myself I would be fine because I so desperately wanted to be fine.

Facing the Reality of Injury

That run was a huge mistake. I irritated the outside bottom of my foot so much, that my subsequent walk to work was excruciating. And that’s when I started to take these injuries seriously. When I got home that day, I immediately started icing my foot. Since then, I’ve been icing, resting, and elevating my foot, while limiting walking as much as possible. Luckily, I’m able to use the stationary bike without pain, so I’m going to sub out all my runs for bike rides this week.

I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with an injury quite this bad, but now I know that at this point, the most important thing to do is just focus on healing. I’m grateful that I can continue to do strength training, and hopefully keep up the majority of my running fitness while cross-training on the bike. But what does this mean for my training?

I’m not 100% sure yet, as I don’t know how long it will be until I can run again. I’m not too worried that I won’t be able to finish the marathon, as it’s still almost 3 months away. However, once I can run again, I will  have to adjust my training plan to take into account the weeks I’ll have missed and adjust my goals accordingly. Speed work is much harder on my body than a slower steady-state run, so even when I do start running again, it’s probably smarter to forego any speed work for at least another few weeks.

Staying Positive

It’s difficult to keep a positive mindset when sidelined with an injury. Not only is it physically painful and inconvenient to be injured, but mentally, it’s very difficult for a variety of reasons. I’m sure any athlete or even recreational exerciser will have a similar experience.

First off, I’ve been very focused on working as hard as possible to reach my time goal, and now it’s very unlikely that it’s within reach. It’s hard to stomach that without feeling like a failure. Second, running is my favorite stress-reliever, endorphin producer, and an activity that partly defines who I am. Without it, it’s easy to feel lost and unhappy at times. And third, I don’t do well with uncertainty, and healing from an injury is nothing if not uncertain. I can’t point to a day in my calendar and say that on Day X, I will be 100% healed. Right now, it’s difficult to walk more than a few steps. I just have to take it a day at a time.

In the future, when I’m fully healed, I hope that this experience will only make me more grateful for what my body can achieve when it is healthy, and thankful that I get to run at all, when some people cannot.

The Lesson

I sincerely hope that some of you can learn from my mistakes. If you start feeling any unusual pain during training, take it seriously. Don’t ignore it just because it’s easier to tell yourself that everything is fine. No matter how well training is going, none of us is ever immune to setbacks. And the sooner you address a potential issue, the less likely it will become a big deal.

It can be difficult to consider skipping a run or even reducing the mileage when you feel a twinge that may or may not be anything serious. I’ve always been terrible at taking time off. But I’m hoping this experience will make me — and you! — think twice next time a potential injury starts to surface.

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5 Simple Recipes for Better Heart Health http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/29/5-simple-recipes-better-heart-health/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/29/5-simple-recipes-better-heart-health/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:13:28 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21871

While exercising, losing weight, and managing stress can improve heart health, eating a healthy diet is the best thing you can do for your heart. The following 5 recipes are easy, delicious, and most importantly, heart-health boosting! Overnight Oats Oats provide cholesterol-lowering fiber, heart disease-fighting antioxidants, and high levels of vitamins and minerals such as […]

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While exercising, losing weight, and managing stress can improve heart health, eating a healthy diet is the best thing you can do for your heart.

The following 5 recipes are easy, delicious, and most importantly, heart-health boosting!

Overnight Oats

Oatmeal-edit

Oats provide cholesterol-lowering fiber, heart disease-fighting antioxidants, and high levels of vitamins and minerals such as manganese and zinc, while chia seeds and fruit boost your intake of omega 3s and antioxidants.

Ingredients:
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
2 tsp sweetener, such as maple syrup
1 cup chopped fresh fruit, such as peaches or strawberries

Mix all ingredients except for fruit in a bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add chopped fruit, mix, and dig in!

Mexican Sweet Potato

SweetPotato-edit

Beans have been shown to protect against inflammation, heart disease, and weight gain, while the high potassium content in sweet potatoes can help lower blood pressure.

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato
½ cup black beans
¼ tsp each cumin, chili powder, garlic powder
2 Tbsp salsa

Roast sweet potato in oven for 45-60 minutes, until flesh is soft. Mash black beans with spices. Cut open sweet potato & top with mashed beans & salsa.

Cashew Caesar Salad

Traditional caesar salad dressings are high in calories and fats (many of them saturated) but low in nutrition. Try this cashew-based caesar dressing instead, as nuts have been shown to lower the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Ingredients:
½ cup cashews
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 2 small lemons
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt/pepper to taste

Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender and mix with your favorite greens and other veggies. (Makes 4 servings)

 

Chocolate Banana “Ice Cream”

ChocolateBananaIceCream (1)

Bananas are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, while cocoa powder is high in antioxidants that help relax blood vessels. If you haven’t discovered the magic of frozen bananas yet, you’re in for a treat.

Ingredients:
2 frozen bananas
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder

To freeze bananas, simply chop into chunks & place in a plastic bag in the freezer. Add ingredients to a high-powered blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Presto, you’ve got delicious, healthy chocolate ice cream.

Avocado, Hummus & Veggie Sandwich

Sandwich_edit (1)

Avocados contain heart-healthy fats, which can help lower cholesterol, as well as significant doses of almost 20 additional vitamins & minerals. This sandwich also contains whole grains & tons of veggies, all of which lower the risk of heart disease.

Ingredients:
2 slices whole grain bread
2 Tbsp hummus
½ avocado
Lettuce
Tomato slices

Spread hummus on the bread. Layer the avocado, lettuce, and tomato as desired to make your sandwich.

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Wondering if your snacking habit is good for your heart? Some “healthy” snacks might not be as healthy as you think. 

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My Sister The Sleep Researcher: An Interview With Sharon R. Driscoll http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/26/sister-sleep-researcher-interview-sharon-r-driscoll/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/26/sister-sleep-researcher-interview-sharon-r-driscoll/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 14:59:53 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21895

Sharon R. Driscoll became aware of the field of sleep research in a psychology class during her freshman year at Cornell University. After graduation, she went on to become a Dement Fellow at the Sleep for Science Research Lab at Brown University, and now works for an independently-contracted research lab. She’s also my sister. Looking […]

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Sharon R. Driscoll became aware of the field of sleep research in a psychology class during her freshman year at Cornell University. After graduation, she went on to become a Dement Fellow at the Sleep for Science Research Lab at Brown University, and now works for an independently-contracted research lab. She’s also my sister.

Looking back, it’s not hard to see why she became a sleep researcher. Every night for ten years, our shared bedroom became a battle zone, torn between me leaving the lights on to write, while she grumbled about the importance of turning the lights out to get a full eight hours of beauty sleep.

With very little cajoling, she agreed to answer a few questions on what it takes to become a sleep researcher, along with some insights into what this field of research actually entails.

The author, right, with her sleep-researching sister Sharon, left.

The author, right, with her sleep-researching sister Sharon, left.

A Few Questions for Sleep Researcher Sharon R. Driscoll

What are some of the main areas of study within the field of sleep research?

There are too many different areas to list here, but some that are currently of interest are: shift work and jet lag, blue light exposure, and other factors where sleep affects human performance.

Also, circadian rhythm research is a popular topic that studies the internal clocks that all humans have in their brains. They help regulate our bodies and how they function. Circadian rhythm research studies our internal pacemakers, also called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (or SCN) and uses light that reaches the retinal ganglion cells as a cue for the secretion or suppression of melatonin. In other words, researchers are exploring how our circadian rhythms—which regulate our emotional and physical health—are influenced by light and darkness in the world around us.

Lastly, because of the research in genetic medicine over the past decade, we are better able to understand the human genome. This means sleep research has reached a point where we can study the role that genetics play in human sleep.

 

What degrees, if any, would a person need in order to pursue a career in sleep research?

There are many different paths to choose from in the world of sleep research. One route is to become a polysomnographic (PSG) technician, which requires technical training, an associate’s degree and certification. Another path would be to get a PhD and become a principal investigator in an academic research lab. If you go to medical school, you can also specialize in sleep medicine. This would give you the credentials to work in sleep research as a clinician or a researcher.

 

What are some of the duties of a sleep researcher?

If you are conducting overnight studies in a sleep lab, the duties often involve staying in the lab overnight to monitor subjects from a control room while they sleep. Aside from watching people snooze, an important component of being a sleep researcher is reading, writing and education. You have to read a lot of research articles so that you keep yourself informed about research that’s going on around the world. Then, of course, you have to write your own papers to share what you have discovered, not only with other researchers, but with the general public.

 

Who are your test subjects?

The most commonly thought of sleep studies in popular science involve human subjects. However, the subjects vary greatly depending on the goal of the study. A few of the research projects that I have worked on included people of different age groups, genders and occupations, all specific to the individual studies.

Other studies use animals, such as rodents. We know that the genome of a human is quite similar to that of many animals, including mice. Therefore, we can use these animals to conduct studies in which human subjects can’t be used, and then we infer results for humans based on the animal results.

 

What impact has being a sleep researcher had on your own sleep patterns and habits?

Working in sleep research has improved my sleep habits. Although it has involved many sleepless nights and shift work, the overall impact has been positive. I have a great awareness of my sleep habits and understand the ways that sleep deprivation affects my daytime performance.

 

How much more is left to discover in the realm of sleep? How much do we know?

This is a philosophical question.

Initially, sleep as a research field bloomed when Aserinsky and Kleitman came onto the scene as sleep researchers. One of their students, Dr. William Dement then became a pseudo-grandfather of sleep research. He has taught sleep for decades and trained many of today’s top sleep researchers.

The closest glimpse we have into understanding sleep has been in learning that the brain may use sleep to cleanse itself. Sleep research has made great strides in the past fifty-plus years, however, we still do not have a full understanding of why we need to spend one third of our lives sleeping.

 

Final question — do you miss sharing a bedroom with me?

I don’t have to miss sharing a bedroom with you, because you still manage to boss me around just as much!

 

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Want more bedtime reading?
Check out Keep Your Bedroom Dark For Better Health and 10 Sleep Tips To Help You Have Better Nights.

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What is a BOSU ball for? This. http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/25/finding-balance-bosu/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/08/25/finding-balance-bosu/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:23:12 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21881

A century ago, the medicine ball was all the rage, lifted by men in straw boaters in striped tank tops, sporting handlebar mustaches. Fast forward in the fitness time machine past kettle and stability balls and into the gyms of today, and you’ll find the belle of the fitness ball is now the BOSU. If […]

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BOSU1

A century ago, the medicine ball was all the rage, lifted by men in straw boaters in striped tank tops, sporting handlebar mustaches. Fast forward in the fitness time machine past kettle and stability balls and into the gyms of today, and you’ll find the belle of the fitness ball is now the BOSU. If you take a giant stability ball and cut it in half, adding a plastic platform to one side, you get the wildly popular BOSU Balance Trainer.

Invented in 1999 by David Weck, the name BOSU came from an acronym for “BOth Sides Utilized.” And in fact, this is a device that allows you to train on both sides of it. When the ball part is up, the surface is unstable, but the support platform is very stable. However, when you flip it over, the device becomes even more unstable because the platform is resting on a curved dome.

BOSU2

To experience this apparatus first hand, I headed to the Total Woman Gym in Studio City, CA to take a BOSU strength class, and I immediately saw why the BOSU Balance Trainer is a fitness favorite. The idea of stepping up on half of an inflated ball and then on a platform balanced on half a ball was extremely daunting, but my teacher Naomi Cohen made it seem like the most natural and fun thing in the world. A pint-sized powerhouse, Naomi was the perfect balance of tough trainer and soothing sensei. She encouraged us to be safe but push ourselves to work as hard as we could physically and mentally. We started with the dome side up and did aerobic moves that are often associated with step aerobics, but instead of using a step, we used the BOSU. Then we moved on to squats while balancing on the half ball and lunges with one foot anchored on the ball. We did planks using the ball for leg support.

Next, we flipped the BOSU so the platform was on top, grabbed our hand weights, and climbed aboard. It was like exercising on a surfboard in the ocean. You perform basic arm, core, and back exercises with dumbells while trying to stay balanced on the platform. At one point, we moved our feet to the edges of the platform and alternated bending our knees with our feet parallel. The move resembled mime walking, but off the ground. Naomi had us move our feet closer together on the platform, engage our cores and close our eyes if possible, so we could fully experience the balance challenge for our individual bodies. Then, we flipped the BOSU again, and used it to prop up our back for more core work, including sit-ups into a standing position for the advanced. Finally, Naomi cooled us down and reminded us about the importance of stretching after this workout to relieve soreness and protect the muscles and joints.

BOSUInstructor

As a person with knee and hip issues, the balance aspect was really challenging, but therapeutic, because it forced me to use my core and the stabilizing muscle groups in my legs to support my body weight. BOSU training is stellar for all ages, and many physical therapists recommend it as people age, because the exercises improve balance and strengthen core, legs and ankles, which can help prevent falls.

Although BOSU classes are extremely popular in LA and in gyms all over the world, you can also purchase the apparatus and a variety of great videos to lead you through a BOSU based workout at home. In addition to the great cardio and toning that BOSU training provides, there is a real freedom and fun in the surfing sensation you get when you finally master your fear and achieve your BOSU balance.

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Want more unique fitness ideas? Check out our piece on Rucking and our profile on Sandbox Fitness.

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