Hopping on the fitness New Year’s Resolution bandwagon may seem cliche especially if you try to do it every year and you end up munching on pizza and chips while on your couch come March. The pandemic is even an added struggle since you can’t do your usual morning jog and frequent your gym.
But you can stay motivated and don’t let these hurdles stop you from your goal of staying healthy and fit throughout the year. Even without your usual equipment, you can do these home workouts to stay in tiptop shape and stick to your resolution.
You’ve probably done circuit training at the gym, a cycle of different exercises that target different muscle groups without resting in between stations and are usually assigned by a trainer. Good news is you can also do it on your own at home and sweat through a total-body, strength-boosting and calorie-torching workout!
Personally, I like to customize and mix up my circuit training sessions to make sure I get to have fun as much as I get to effectively work out. I usually exercise between 20 to 30 minutes while moving at a quick pace. I measure my time for each workout station using my Lenovo Smart Watch S2 to make sure that I get to exert the same effort for all my targeted muscle groups.
Whether you have 15 minutes or a full hour to sweat, circuit training can help you burn fat, build muscle and beat the boredom of the same-old workout routines.
Going to yoga class has been one of my favorite things to do before the pandemic that I even subscribed to a 3-month package. But as we are all asked to stay home for our safety, I thought it would be disadvantageous but it turned out to be a blessing that I get to do yoga sessions at the comfort of my home.
Using just a yoga mat, wearing the right workout outfit and watching YouTube videos that can walk me through different sessions, I was able to improve my flexibility, muscle strength and balance.
You don’t even have to rush to attend your class and with home Yoga and you also don’t have to spend a single cent. You can practice at your own preferred time, place and pace, helping you deepen self-awareness and even relieve anxiety, tension and stress.
The name of this workout alone suggests how this can pump you up. High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT) involves bursts of intense and explosive exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods that can really make you sweat and push you to your limit.
This workout has been my favorite during this pandemic since like circuit, I can work on different routines while using different alternative equipment I can find at home like a juice bottle or a chair.
HIIT also spikes up my heart rate, which I conveniently get to monitor with my Lenovo Smart Watch S2, stimulating my metabolism and helping me burn more calories and lose more weight.
Resistance band workout
One of my best purchases during this pandemic was a resistance band — that big rubber band that you usually see on the gym floor or tied up on a pull up bar when were still able to go after work.
It probably looks nothing compared to a dumbbell or a kettlebell but believe me when I say that you can definitely do so many workouts just with a resistance band.
Through its versatility and portability, it is actually a very handy training tool that can strengthen all major muscle groups. You can do squats, bicep curls, lunges and more, eliminating your need for big and heavy gym equipment.
You’ve probably been playing with a jump rope since you were a kid and I’m making you realize just now that it’s actually a super convenient, easy and effective home cardio exercise.
Skipping rope actually improves your coordination by requiring several body parts to function in order to complete one movement. It also strengthens your bones and increases your flexibility and stamina.
Also, one major benefit of skipping rope is that it quickly reduces your belly fat and burns calories. In just 15 minutes of doing it, you get to lose 200 to 300 calories, which is why some even prefer to do it than running or brisk walking.
I include skipping rope as my daily cardio and even assign “jump rope days” when my muscles are too sore from working out. I find it rewarding whenever I check through my Lenovo Smart Watch S2’s counter how much calories I’ve actually burnt, making me feel like I’ve really done something good for my health.
With all these kinds of workout, you surely don’t have any excuse that you can’t stick to your New Year’s resolution and continue to stay fit and healthy. Do yourself a favor and try to exercise even just thrice a week so you can take good care of your heart, mind and body during this pandemic.
Huawei Band 6: Best of both worlds for the right price
Big splash in the smart band segment
The wearable market has been rapidly growing and Huawei has remained competitive by releasing a large suite of devices. However, it can be argued that the Chinese company hasn’t made its mark just yet in the smart band market.
Enter the Huawei Band 6, the company’s latest attempt at disrupting the game. With a display that’s eye-catching and a price that can only be described as tempting, can the Band 6 finally be Huawei’s big splash in the smart band segment? Can this hybrid serve as the casual athlete’s GadgetMatch?
Sized like a watch, feels like a band
On my first impressions of the Band 6, I immediately mentioned its screen as one of its highlights. Amazing software can be derailed by hardware that’s weak and Huawei didn’t fail on this end. Its bigger screen is capable of making a big difference.
The thing with most smart bands is they’re valuable not as a one-stop hub for information, but as a tracker. More often than not, you go to your phone to check your progress on certain exercises or sleep patterns.
That’s not the case with Huawei’s newest wearable. Viewing time and other important information is a delight, even when faced directly under sunlight. Screen size is incredibly important in bridging that gap between smart band and smart watch. The Band 6 does that extremely well.
Even better is how despite its size, it doesn’t feel heavy when worn. It’s named Huawei Band 6 after all, not Huawei Watch. It’s light, but sturdy. Wearing it while sleeping was far from a burden.
It’s versatile and stylish. Very few products can offer that from this price point and from the smart band segment.
Battery life is respectable
While the Band 6 didn’t live up to the two-week battery life Huawei boasted, it’s no slouch. The battery went from 100 to 10 percent in a matter of a week, which isn’t bad considering it’s housing a large screen, automatic tracking was turned on for heart rate and stress, and workout modes were used five times a week. Using the Band’s full suite of features requires power, and all things considered, its battery holds up well.
Charging was also a breeze thanks to its straightforward setup. It only took the band one hour and 30 minutes to top up to 100 percent, which was quite respectable.
Big screen, big-time features for a band
The problem with most smart bands is how it skimps on features so it’s able to maintain a cheaper price point. Improving hardware can be expensive and it wouldn’t have been surprising if Huawei cut down certain features to keep the Band 6 affordable.
In that case, it depends on which wearable segment you’re comparing. Versus other smartwatches, it cuts down on features. You can’t play music straight from the watch and you can’t reply to texts despite its larger screen size.
But smartwatches are expensive for that exact reason. The Band 6 is best compared to smart bands and against its competition; it shines. It has all the features you’d expect out of a modern smart band.
Casual athletes will be glad to find that the Band 6 houses 96 workout modes such as Strength, HIIT, Jump Rope, and Indoor Run. Having a suite of workouts that wide is extremely helpful if tracking your exercises is important to you.
Assistance over accuracy
SPO2 monitoring is also an awesome feature to have especially given the current pandemic. However, accuracy isn’t this Band’s strongest suit, and it shows with the numbers that come up during workouts and with your oxygen levels. In fact, there was one instance during a HIIT session that the heart rate the Band was showing was lower than what I was experiencing. That’s something to consider when using the device as a measuring tool.
With that being said, it’s important to note that the Huawei Band 6 is best used for guidance and assistance rather than accuracy. Nothing beats medical-grade tools such as a pulse oximeter or coaching from a trainer. However, its wide suite of features is a great jumping point for someone who wants to live a healthier and active lifestyle. Considering that’s the value Huawei wants to promote with this new device, that’s a big win for them.
Huawei Health App provides the basics and some insight
The same statement above applies to the Huawei Health App as well. The app is best used for guidance and not accuracy.
The Health App is straightforward but filled with the right amount of information. Insight regarding weight tracking, exercises, and stress is limited, but useful, nonetheless.
There is one thing the Huawei Health App is very good at: sleep tracking. While insight from its tracking can feel repetitive at times, there’s a lot of substance to the data you’ll get. Aside from the basic Deep sleep-light sleep-REM sleep, the Health App also tracks Deep sleep continuity, breathing quality, and how many times you wake up during your cycle.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Pricing it at PhP 2,599 may be considered as a risk given the cheaper price points of other smart bands. But the price increase is warranted. The Huawei Band 6 is undoubtedly an upgrade from cheaper smart bands, and it makes the right compromises, so the price doesn’t increase dramatically.
The Band 6 can serve as the bridge between the smart band and smartwatch segments. It’s sized and featured like a smartwatch, while being priced like a smart band. That’s a big win for Huawei and for the consumer.
Google will fund 250,000 vaccine doses via an international alliance
Recipients include the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and more
Internet giant Google has announced it’ll be funding 250,000 doses of the COVAX vaccine via GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The funding shall come through Google.org, the company’s humanitarian foundation.
GAVI is a public-private partnership that aims to improve immunization drives in developing countries. It currently consists of developing economies, donor governments, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and World Bank. Furthermore, private foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also a part of the alliance.
Google will also be leading an employee-giving campaign to secure more vaccine vials with the GAVI Matching Fund and Google.org matching the donation to triple the impact. The Philippines will be a prime beneficiary of the proposal, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, and Laos.
The Mountain View-based company will also offer its technology solution to the alliance to accelerate global distribution. The announcement comes at a crucial time because India is experiencing a miserable second wave of Coronavirus. Being a top vaccine maker, the surge in local cases has prompted India to intensify inoculation of its own citizens. Many experts are worried that this could disrupt vaccine supply to other countries, in turn, extending the pandemic and its associated risks.
“Since February, we’ve been providing vaccine-related insights to help GAVI better educate communities about the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve used that information to create educational content that reaches more than half a million people each day. We’re now committing US$ 15 million in Ad Grants to help Gavi build on these efforts and amplify their fundraising campaign,” Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer at Google Health, in a blog post.
So far, the Philippines has provided more than 1.7 million doses, and 214,000 people are now vaccinated. While masks and social distancing are temporary measures, a vaccine is touted as the safest way to ensure a normal future devoid of lockdowns and stringent border controls.
Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine
Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation
Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.
One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.
With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.
For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:
Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.
Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.
The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.
The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.
MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.
The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.
After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.
Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.
I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.
The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.
I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.
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