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Confessions of a non-runner

What got me to start running

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The idea of being healthy and fit wasn’t something I always entertained. The closest I got to a healthier lifestyle was attending yoga classes religiously around four to five years ago. I had a lot of excuses for stopping though: My schedule didn’t allow it, my friends stopped going, it was too expensive, the studio moved, and there was nothing else nearby.

Finding other fitness activities to do since then has been a chore, mostly for the same excuses listed above. While everyone agrees running is one of the easiest and cheapest exercises you can do just about anywhere, it’s simply not something I enjoyed doing. The turning point for me eight months ago was seeing and feeling physical manifestations of being unfit.


Confession #1: My motivation is not abs, but my weaknesses

My recent attempt at a healthier lifestyle was not due to any desire to look good in a swimsuit, although getting there wouldn’t hurt because I admittedly cringe at old clips of me with a more prominent double chin.

There is no better motivation for me to exercise than my self-defined weaknesses. Whether that’s not being able to load your own carry-on into the overhead bin, running out of breath during an easy hike, getting too tired and sore from walking and carrying a tripod at a tour or the show floor, not being able to focus at the tasks at hand, and not being able to sleep and wake up at normal hours.

Confession #2: I enjoy working out with weights and machines

Through the last few months of experimenting with different exercises, I found that strength training is most enjoyable and important to me, especially in addressing my weaknesses.

My only problem is I’m unable to do most of my routine when traveling, which I do often, unless my hotel has its own gym. For those instances, I resort to exercises that don’t require weights or machines, like tricep dips, planking, and crunches.

Confession #3: I hate running as much as I hate counting calories

There’s no getting around it: I will most likely be one of the first casualties of the zombie apocalypse. I would rather skip my exercise for the day if running outdoors was my only option.

But I started running anyway — indoors that is — on a treadmill in high-intensity intervals. Telling myself to run for 10 to 20 minutes instead of covering two miles is much easier to commit to, what with the limited time I have in a day. There’s no better feeling than doing something out of my comfort zone and knowing I can survive a quick run tells me I can survive anything, eventually.

Confession #4: I don’t really believe in smartwatches, at least not yet

A shiny new thing on your wrist is like a new gym membership; it motivates you at the start, and gives you fake willpower to overcome laziness, mostly because you want to get the most out of the investment you just made. Sometimes you’d even throw in new shoes, a new sports bra, or a fresh pair of cute leggings, just so you’d feel good while working out.

Even for everyday use, I find myself turning off notifications and not using any other function my smartphone can also do on any wearable I get my hands on. I’ve avoided smartwatches ever since the first smartwatch I tried using because of how they look, bad battery life, and not-so-useful functions.

Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to monitoring your health, smartwatches and fitness trackers can be helpful and have improved a lot over the years. But knowing how many calories I’ve burned or steps I’ve taken on a certain day doesn’t mean anything if I didn’t change my habits for the long term. A new piece of tech or clothing can only do so much to motivate me.

Confession #5: I have a fast resting heart rate and that’s not good

From the overwhelming amount of data a smartwatch gives me, I realized that what matters the most is my heart rate. One’s resting heart rate says a lot about one’s overall well-being, and my average resting heart rate says a lot about the current state of my fitness. I live a very sedentary lifestyle — I sit all day, go in front of my computer, Uber to and from work. I rarely get to walk a lot.

For what it’s worth, using a fitness wearable like the Garmin Forerunner 35 to track how much my heart beats in real time has helped. Seeing how unfit I really am with one press of a button, through a number that isn’t my calorie count and seeing that number lower little by little, motivates me to reach new goals.

It’s only been four months since I started consistently adding 10-minute running intervals before any of my workout routines and I already feel better. I climbed the easternmost part of the Great Wall of China two months ago and I didn’t get as easily tired compared to when I went up the Geumnyeonsan Mountain in Busan, South Korea back in October.

Aside from surviving easy hikes and having stronger arms that can carry a bag full of camera gear overhead, one of my fitness goals now is to have a more normal heart rate — that whenever I press that button on any smartwatch, it should say anything between 60 to 80 instead of 100 and above. Even if I don’t enjoy it as much, I’ve learned that running is still one of the best ways for me to get there. Slowly building up my running time, running at a faster pace, and maybe eventually running outdoors will help me achieve a healthier heart.

In the last few months, it’s been reinforced to me that being fit isn’t so much about how you look — having a thigh gap or toned abs doesn’t necessarily equate to good health. A healthy heart, after all, is a happy one. Everything else (abs included) will eventually follow.

Accessories

Xiaomi launches affordable Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones

20 hours of non-stop playback

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Xiaomi is known for its feature-packed smartphones, but the brand has a massive presence in the lifestyle segment. For now, a lot of these products are limited to Mainland China, but the brand is slowly releasing them in its core markets like India.

Today, the Chinese company launched the Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones in India and they’re priced quite aggressively. This week is going to be even more exciting because the Redmi K20 Pro is scheduled to launch on July 17.


The headphones come with a 400mAh battery that Xiaomi claims can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. In simpler words, it is sufficient to listen to 300 songs in one go. Equipped with 40mm drivers, they are tuned to deliver high bass and pressure-less earmuffs provide a comfortable listening experience over extended periods. The head beam is adjustable and has elastic shafts to rotate the ear muffs.

Lastly, they connect to any smartphone via Bluetooth 5.0, offering wider range and capability to connect two headphones simultaneously to one phone. They can also be used along with a wire if you want truly acoustic output. Operations can be handled via voice commands thanks to an in-built mic and support for virtual assistants.

They’re priced at INR 2,199 (US$ 32) and can be purchased via Amazon.in. Prime Day sale is going on and they can be grabbed for just INR 1,799 (US$26). Color options include Black and Red, as well as Black and Gold.

Previously, Xiaomi has launched its range of smart TVs, air purifiers, and light bulb in India. A couple of weeks back, they also unveiled a trimmer. We expect the brand to launch more of these in the coming future as it slowly scales up operations.

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5 accessories to protect yourself and your gadgets from the elements

Don’t just get an umbrella, duh!

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I hate changes in weather. One minute it’s hot and sunny like a perfect summer day, next minute, it’s raining as if Zeus and Poseidon are having the war of their lives. Monsoons got worse thanks to climate change, especially in tropical countries. It’s now even more impossible to predict the weather so you need to stay ready for all kinds of elements.

So we scoured the internet to help you prepare. Here are the accessories you need to protect you and your gadgets, of course, without getting out of style.


Dress your phone with a pouch and a case

Ready to brave the storm? Make sure you put your phone on a waterproof pouch. I know, I know. The thought of using a waterproof pouch sounds cringey. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice style with this one. Most waterproof pouches let you change their straps to something fancier.

In particular, Travelon’s Clear View Waterproof Pouch comes in five colors and you can still tailor the strap to your preference. For something clearer and more transparent, Anker has a pouch but it looks a little bit tacky.

For those who’d want a case instead, LifeProof offers one of the best waterproof cases in the market. Most cases look bulky and sturdy, but LifeProof made it more fashionable with its bright and popping colors.

Stay fashionable while you protect yourself from the elements

Of course, nothing beats a good old umbrella when it comes to protection against the rain but you can up your style by picking one that’s clear and transparent. Even better if it’s a bubble or a dome-shaped one.

Additionally, you can keep your gadgets and makeup safe with a waterproof bag. Fjällräven has an array of water-resistant and waterproof backpacks that don’t compromise style. Brands like Doughnut and Pacsafe have a set of stylish yet functional waterproof bags, too.

Lastly, cap off your style with a water-repellent raincoat or parka. This particular blush pink raincoat by Cole Haan should be a part of your ensemble, especially when it’s raining. Avoid using black, neutral, and earthy-tone since most people would prefer using a darker hue when it’s raining, and you won’t stand out if you wear the same colors.

For those who don’t feel like wearing a raincoat, Uniqlo has a Blocktech line of water-repellent parkas that you can use casually or for your outdoor needs. NikeLabs has a longer parka as well if you prefer using one!

If you want the world to see your OOTD, you can opt for a transparent raincoat so people can see what’s underneath.

Bonus: Get a water-resistant watch!

If it’s raining while on your way to an important meeting, chances are you’ll be keeping your gadgets inside your bag to prevent it from getting wet. This might keep you from tracking time. Thus, you need a watch that can handle these kinds of elements. Apple and Samsung both have smartwatches that are water-resistant yet stylish at the same time.

Now, who told you rain can’t be fun?

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Accessories

Get free Lightning cables by planting trees

Stay charged for the planet

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Sturdy Lightning cables that don’t break the bank are hard to come by, but one brand is here to save the day — and the planet.

You can get a free Lightning to USB cable from Nomad by making a donation to plant trees. You can choose the amount to donate — US$5 for 5 trees, US$10 for 10 trees, or US$20 for 20 trees — and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Carbon Fund. For comparison, Apple’s Lightning to USB cable starts at US$19.


Funds raised will help address deforestation in Brazil. Deforestation in itself is responsible for about 20% of global warming. Reforestation will help reduce climate change as trees absorb carbon dioxide emissions. Planting trees also helps preserve biodiversity, control flooding, and creates jobs.

Nomad is committed to offsetting all carbon emissions generated from production up until final delivery, so each shipment will be completely carbon neutral. The initiative will run until supplies last.

Money may not grow on trees but by getting a Lightning cable, your money can help plant trees. Visit Nomad’s website to get your free Lightning cable today.

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