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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.

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realme launches Watch 2 Pro, TechLife Robot Vacuum

While teasing more devices

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realme

This hardly comes as a surprise anymore as every brand is coming out with their slew of smart devices. realme is, likewise, venturing outside the smartphone arena as they launch the realme Watch 2 Pro and realme TechLife Robot Vacuum.

realme AIoT

The company is transitioning from their 1+4+N strategy to the 1+5+T strategy. Still tells the normal everyday person nothing at first glance but realme explains it as:

1 — smartphone, as realme’s smartphones are at the center of its AIoT ecosystem
5 — key categories for realme’s AIoT products. These include the True Wireless Stereo (TWS), Wearables, TV, laptops, and tablets.
T — stands for TechLife. This is realme’s open partner platform. It aims to support innovative and dynamic AIoT startups through the sharing of realme’s own sales channels.

TechLife focuses on three product categories: Smart Entertainment (TV boxes, projectors, speakers and game accessories), Smart Care (vacuum robots, air purifiers and body fat scales), Smart Connect (smart sockets, smart light bulbs and cameras)

After announcing the realme GT to take care of “1”, realme is covering “5” with the realme Watch 2 Pro, and the “T” with the Techlife Robot Vacuum.

realme Watch 2 Pro

If you follow tech news a lot, you know how this goes. The realme Watch 2 Pro is supposed to be your partner for an active and healthy lifestyle.

It comes with a variety of monitoring features. These are an accurate GPS system, an Sp02 monitor for blood oxygen tracking, and a heart rate monitor. For an active lifestyle, it comes with 90 sports modes.

It’s also larger than its predecessor. It has a 1.75-inch (4.4cm) display with 600 nits of peak brightness. It’s also again promising up to 14 days of power with its 390mAh battery. You’re also offered over 100 different watch faces so it’ll never feel old.

realme TechLife Robot Vacuum

This device is kicking off realme’s whole TechLife line. It has the LiDAR Smart Mapping and Navigation System, the same state-of-the-art technology used in the navigation systems of modern electric vehicles and aircraft. Sounds overkill for a vacuum but if you want your space spic and span you wanna make sure the vacuum can get to all areas that it should.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum has a super-high suction and mopping power of 3000Pa. This means it’s capable of cleaning large amounts of high-density garbage while keeping noise levels as low as 55dB on quiet mode.

It also features a 5200mAh battery, a 600ml dust bin and a 300ml smart electronic water tank, ensuring that users do not have to constantly charge and empty the vacuum during cleaning.

It’s designed to fit into any home with a maximum height of just above 10cm. It has a sleek and classy design with the top cover of the device made from an impact resistant tempered glass.

More TechLife products coming

realme also teased a media-focused realme Pad tablet and their first laptop — the realme Book.

Price and availability

The realme watch 2 Pro will be available starting June 16 for EUR 74.99. The basic realme watch 2 retails for EUR 54.99.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum price and availability details to follow.

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Nanoleaf launches new Elements Line

A wood look for smart light panels

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Nanoleaf announces new Elements Wood Look Hexagons, inspired by nature. The wood-like panels have backlit technology and can add an aesthetic to your room. Coming from a successful line of color-changing smart panels, Nanoleaf combines nature and modern technology.

Each of the panels has a wood grain-like texture and is something worth considering if you’re into these types of modern design. Even when powered off, Elements still stands on its own as a design. The panel is also ultra-slim so it may be a hassle-free experience installing the panels.

The Nanoleaf Elements also have a unique glowing effect as each apex of the panel lights up independently. Nanoleaf said that the panels can imitate embers on a fireplace or a moving cloud. Additionally, the panels also glow from the back adding a double-lit effect.

The Nanoleaf Elements also create more comfort and balance as the panels have a wide range of cool to warm white options. The range is about 1,500-4,000K, also with 11 preset lighting Scenes. The Scenes include “Organic” motion, from a fireplace to waterfalls, you can also create a personalized experience with the provided app. You can also select the 1,000 RGB Scenes in the Discover tab.

The panels also include Rhythm Music Sync, Schedules, Touch capabilities, and Circadian lighting. You can also schedule the time for the panels to turn on or off depending on your liking. Circadian Lighting adjusts the light’s color depending on the temperature throughout the day. You can the Rhythm Music Sync at night or any time of the day, play some relaxing jazz music or a coffeehouse playlist as the lights move with the melodies.

Price and Availability

Nanoleaf Elements come in Smarter Kits (7 light panels) and Expansion Pack add-ons (3 light panels).

The panels are Wifi-controlled with the Nanoleaf App, voice commands, or manually with the physical Controller. They are also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT integrations.

Nanoleaf Elements will be available on June 3rd at the Nanoleaf Shop. Elements will launch globally in Apple stores online later this year. SmarterKits will retail for US$ 299.99 (Smarter Kit) and US$ 99.99 (Expansion Pack).

 

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Sony unveils the WF-1000XM4 with smaller design, better ANC

There’s also a significant improvement in battery life

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WF-1000XM4

Sony has unveiled the WF-1000XM4, the latest product in the company’s long lineup of truly wireless earbuds. The successors to the wildly successful Sony WF-1000XM3, the earbuds come with a range of upgrades that push the ceiling further.

It comes equipped with a more capable Sony V1 chip and a redesigned body outside for maximum comfort, isolation, and fit. The processor, coupled with a pair of microphones on the sides of both earbuds, delivers best-in-class noise cancellation. Sony says the mics aid beamforming technology, making the earbuds bone conduction capable.

to reduce noise cancellation while talking or focusing on your surroundings, the ambient sound mode can be toggled. Lastly, there’s automatic wind noise suppression to prevent any leak. It’s keeping an eye on your voice, disabling ANC automatically when needed. Sony boasts it’s the first in the world to support Hi-Res audio over the LDAC codec.

It gets improved 24-bit amps, redesigned driver units with 20% larger magnets, and an improved diaphragm. There’s also EQ adjustment available with tonnes of presets and has space for customs ones too. It’ll automatically optimize those music streaming apps that offer 360 Reality Audio or Dolby Atmos.

Voice Assistant friendly

The WF-1000XM4 can be connected to your phone via the Sony Headphones Connect app. It’ll let you set up location-based profiles for Adaptive Sound Control. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri can all be summoned by earbuds. Touch controls allow you to adjust your music playback, activate your preferred voice assistant, and toggle between active noise cancellation modes.

While it’s packed with more features, the overall size of the earbuds has come down by 10 percent. It can deliver up to 8 hours of playback with noise cancellation enabled, and 12 hours without it. The case can recharge the earbuds twice, providing total support of 24 hours with ANC switched on. Thanks to quick charging technology, a five-minute plug-in can deliver up to 60 minutes of playback.

Other features include low latency listening, Fast Pair, speak to chat, and Bluetooth 5.2. The Sony WF-1000XM4 is IPX4 rated.

Price and availability

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are available in Black and Silver and are priced at US$ 279 in the US and available for purchase now via Amazon, BestBuy, Sony’s website, and other retail partners. In Singapore, they retail for SG$ 379 and are available in all Sony Stores, Sony Store Online and Sony Authorized dealers.

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