Imagine drinking for five to seven days straight, no exercise, drinking less water than usual, and eating whatever was available. It was a recipe for disaster — for my body, that is. Back in 2019, I spent a week being sick. I was severely dehydrated that I needed to pump in gallons of Pocari Sweat and Gatorade.
That stressful experience led me to take care of myself seriously. Before and at the start of 2020, I made an effort to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. I enrolled in a gym, started cooking healthy meals, and packed lunch for work instead of eating at fast-food restaurants.
Finding the right companion
But the pandemic struck, and my plans were derailed. My hopes of having a healthy and fit body were slightly crushed. I found myself switching smart bands — Samsung Galaxy Fit E, Honor Band 5, and Garmin’s Forerunner 235 — while trying to follow a workout and meal plan.
Of course, it wasn’t a smooth ride. There are days where I got sick due to stress caused by the pandemic, burning out from work, and a whole lot of other things. My desire to get healthier intensified.
When the Fitbit Charge 4 arrived, I had second thoughts about whether a tracker can undeniably help me achieve my goals. I used the Fitbit Charge 3 before and nothing happened. It was such a gag, trying my best to be healthy and fit, and I only lasted for three weeks.
Yet this time around, I had the Charge 4 for two months and I could say I had a great time using it. Unlike before, I was able to continuously develop my body and follow my workout plan.
Pairing it with phone and colors
Having a tracker was the last thing I considered before starting my journey. At first, I bought a water bottle, quick-dry towel and gym clothes, and wireless earbuds so those gym activities won’t be boring.
Moving to home workouts during the quarantine didn’t make any changes to my usual equipment, except now I have extra dumbbells, a yoga mat, mini bands, and a resistance band.
When I got the Charge 4, I paired it quickly with my phones. Back then, I had a hard time pairing it with my Samsung Galaxy S20, but it was easy when paired with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro — which I used with previous Fitbit wearables.
Thankfully, it didn’t come in a striking hue. The band’s color is named Storm Blue, reminiscent of Prussian Blue or Parisian Blue, if you’re into fine arts — a color prominently seen in the Hokusai’s famous artwork The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
The material used for the band is comfortable and water-resistant, I had no problems wearing it in the shower or while sweating during my exercises.
Like a fitness BFF
This smart tracker wasn’t the sole reason I’m starting to get healthier and fitter now. It was discipline and commitment that got me through — something I lacked last year.
Relying on a wearable — smart tracker, smart band, or a smartwatch — won’t get you anywhere in reaching your fitness goals. It’s not their job to make you healthy and fit, only guide you through it.
But to say the Charge 4 didn’t help in reaching my fitness goals is unfair. While determination, dedication, and motivation are necessary ingredients, having a wearable can help you pull yourself together.
Its effects were like having a best friend reminding you of your goals; that’s just how it feels wearing its weight around my wrists. It doesn’t snap at you for not being able to follow through your goals, it simply nudges you to try to do your best.
The right workout
If you’re a Fitbit user, you’d know the magic isn’t at its trackers or smartwatches. It’s the smooth connection between your devices, the Fitbit app, and Fitbit Premium.
ICYDK, Fitbit Premium is filled with guided programs, health and fitness content from partner brands, and fitness challenges to stay active. I’ve tried some, but I realized these workouts aren’t for me.
Finding the right workout is always subjective and personal — what’s working for you might not work for someone else.
I crafted my own workout plan to achieve my goal: gaining weight, toning my muscles to achieve a lean figure, and of course, look sexy in my thirst trap photos on Instagram. Also, so I feel good about myself.
Luckily, Fitbit knows the value of personalization through Active Zone Minutes. It’s a metric calculated using your age and resting heart rate, providing you a more personalized measurement. There are also real-time alerts on your wrist to help you become more efficient in your workouts.
To a hydrated body and better heart
When I was living a sedentary lifestyle, my resting heart rate reached 100 bpm (beats per minute) compared to having 60-70 bpm during my active days. Since I’m still just starting again, I made it a goal to get a better resting heart rate.
Having a lower heart rate is a sign of good cardiovascular fitness. As of writing, I’m back at 65-75 bpm — that’s because sometimes I still fail to do consecutive workouts because of my job and I’m still high on caffeine intake.
If you can’t exercise regularly, you need to walk around. The Fitbit Charge 4 buzzes every hour to remind you to get up and walk, and it was a habit I enjoyed doing in my working hours.
When my Charge 4 buzzes, I walk to the kitchen to refill my water bottle and drink my water. I also stretch my hamstrings while I wait for the bottle to be refilled. Talk about hitting three birds with one stone: moving around, drinking water, and stretching my tight hamstring from too much sitting.
The struggle to exercise
Ask anyone. The hardest thing to do is always getting out of the bed to exercise. Sometimes, you just want to lie down, roll over to watch Netflix, get up to eat and drink, then find your way to bed again. Sounds tempting, right?
I’ve been a victim of this situation, many times especially last year. Committing to a regular workout is such a daunting task. When you’re bogged down with work and your mind is heavily preoccupied, it’s easy to give up on exercise and tell yourself to do it tomorrow.
But you keep saying that until you realize it’s been a month since you last worked out then beat yourself up for not trying hard.
Trying to reach fitness goals was never an easy task. It requires mind tricks and mental fortitude. The struggle in discipline and commitment during your health and fitness journey mostly stems from your emotional and mental health.
How we feel can manifest physically, which is why we need to be in a better headspace so we can push ourselves to work out.
Taking care of our mental health won’t be easy in this pandemic, but you can take little steps. I’ve done yoga and meditation, and it helped me breathe easier.
What I’m doing might be a little bit intimidating. For beginners, you can start with guided meditations accessible through the Fitbit app, Headspace, or Spotify. If you want to really start with something easy, the tracker has a breathing exercise that you can follow easily.
Unplugging made me happier
When you learn how to be mindful, you’ll realize the importance of unplugging and disconnecting. Being glued to our smartphones can wear our minds and extremely take our time. Sometimes, all we need is to step away from our smartphones.
The Fitbit Charge 4 can preview a few notifications on your screen. This helped me disconnect and focus on my tasks that require concentration such as painting, writing, and working out.
I tend to get distracted by my phone and other messages, and having a few notifications can help me decide which one requires immediate response and which one can wait later.
You can customize your notifications through the Fitbit app, and you can sync your messages, emails, and calendar, which appears in the tracker’s notifications bar.
You can also connect Spotify so you can easily control your music without using your phone. It worked seamlessly with my Galaxy Buds and my phone, and this disconnection definitely made me happier.
Give me a good night’s sleep
The most important thing I realized, later on, is the importance of a good night’s sleep. No matter how much working out or mindfulness practices you do in life, you won’t see any results when you’re hellbent on sleeping past midnight.
The tracker has a Sleep Mode to ensure you won’t be disturbed in your sleep (unless you have nightmares from your trauma wherein I have to ask you to go see a therapist).
Kidding aside, it turns off the notifications and disables the screen display. I didn’t find any use for this feature since I find it easy to sleep whenever I meditate or turn off my gadgets and put it away from the bed.
To ensure I had a good night’s sleep, I track my Sleep Score every morning through the app. The data might be taxing to look at, but it’s rich in insight based on your heart rate, restlessness, time awake, and your sleep stages. Although, the summary can be checked easily through your wrist.
Frankly, getting better sleep is what I’m still working on. Adults usually need seven to nine hours of sleep, but six hours can be enough. At most, I usually get six to seven hours of sleep.
However, I tend to sleep at 12 midnight recently, caused by watching Lucifer, chatting with friends, reading a book, or painting. I tend to wake up at five or six and seven in the morning, depending on what time I slept.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Fitbit Charge 4 offers a lot of features to help anyone starting on their health and fitness journey. It’s an advanced fitness tracker that detects your heart rate and improves your sleep. Moreover, it measures pace and distance through a built-in GPS, and packs with essential features.
It’s a worthy companion, since it lasted seven to eight days on a single charge based on my experience. Fully charging it takes only just an hour and a half. There’s a lot more to explore, but there’s one thing for sure: The Fitbit Charge 4 is a tracker made for everyone.
The Fitbit Charge 4 retails for PhP 9,590 (US$ 198). It’s available in black, rosewood, storm blue, and storm black. You can purchase it through Fitbit’s authorized retail stores like Digital Walker.
Fitbit’s special edition of the Ace 3 makes physical activities fun for kids
Time to get them active!
With the advent of smartphones and other distracting technology, keeping kids active might be a challenge — especially if you aren’t the type to engage in physical activities. But starting ’em young can help build a healthy, fit, and sustainable lifestyle.
Fitbit’s kid-oriented smartwatch, the Ace 3, comes with a special edition that will catch your kid’s attention. And it might just make them excited to do a bit of sport and exercise.
Meet the Fitbit Ace 3 Special Edition: Minions. It comes with an engraved band with an embossed Minions design that will make any kid eager to wear it. Built with a kid’s behavior in mind, the watch is comfortable and secure to wear even when using a silicone band and bumper. Moreover, it can be even submerged in water with its swim-proof design!
For those who aren’t keen on having yellow on their wrists, there are two more Minions-themed bands that kids can wear: Despicable Blue and Mischief Black.
Just like every adult’s smartwatch, it comes with nifty features we need. There are hourly alerts to move and reminders to reach your daily goals. More importantly, the Ace 3 Special Edition: Minions ensures there are extensive safeguards to secure a kid’s privacy.
Parents, for instance, can set up a family account to have more control over privacy and protection. The Parent View in the app will let parents track their kid’s activity and manage the kid’s app experience.
Kids, on the other hand, can enjoy Minions-themed activity badges in the app. The badges serve as a reminder for kids to keep chasing daily activity goals. Along with that, the Kid View allows kids to view important data such as their activity and sleep stats, as well as parent-approved friends, clock faces, and avatars.
Price and availability
The Fitbit Ace 3 Special Edition: Minions is powered by eight days of battery life. It’s available in the Philippines at Fitbit.com, Digital Walker, and Lazada for PhP 4,790. Meanwhile, accessory bands are sold exclusively on Fitbit.com at PhP 1,390.
Google launches “Get The Facts” campaign to fight vaccine hesitancy
Will show facts and pertinent resources
Google launches the “Get The Facts” campaign as part of its ongoing commitment to helping build public trust in vaccines by promoting authoritative information across its products including Search.
Upon tapping or clicking “Get the facts” on the Search homepage, people will be redirected to organized information panels to instantly find vaccination updates, trusted news, links to global and local health authorities, and health information among others.
Alternatively, people can also access the same information panels by searching for “covid vaccine” on the Google Search homepage.
Google is activating its other key platforms such as social media channels to lead more people to the vaccine information panels on Search.
“Vaccination will help end the COVID-19 pandemic. To fight vaccine hesitancy, we have launched the ‘Get The Facts’ campaign to further demonstrate our commitment to protecting our platforms from misinformation and connecting people to trustworthy and authoritative information. Globally, more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or false COVID-19 information have been removed and our information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them a valuable source of credible information. Google is also part of the Department of Health’s #CheckTheFAQs campaign in partnership with other tech companies to encourage Filipinos to always fact-check information they see and share online. Keeping people safe, informed, and confident about vaccines is deeply important to us and we will continue to deliver on this goal through the best of our products, services, and partnerships,” said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.
This is a press release from Google Philippines.
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.
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