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How to Live a Holistic Lifestyle While Embracing Smart Technology

How to Live a Holistic Lifestyle While Embracing Smart Technology

When you think of living a holistic lifestyle, do you picture someone being completely off-grid with no computer, no internet, and no smartphone? While some people do live this way, the absence of IoT tech doesn’t define a holistic lifestyle.

Smart technology and a holistic life aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, plenty of people live a happy, healthy, joyful life filled with smart technology. The key is they don’t allow their tech to control their lives. They’re not glued to their smartphones, and if their smart coffee maker stopped working, they’d happily brew a cup of coffee by hand.

There are countless ways smart technology can improve your life. Here are just a few specific ways.

Smart tech can give you critical food and drug recall alerts

Part of living a healthy, holistic lifestyle involves knowing when your favorite food brands test positive for dangerous contaminants. This goes for your pets’ food, too. Food recalls are far too common, and it’s hard to stay on top of every single situation. The easiest way to stay on top of each situation is to subscribe to alert mailing lists and pipe your emails through your smartphone so you’ll never miss a recall.

Even more common than food recalls are drug recalls. As much as you might try to live without over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, sometimes that’s hard. For instance, you might need to take ibuprofen once in a while to ward off a stress headache. There’s no shame in that. However, some seemingly innocent OTC drugs end up having devastating health consequences.

For example, the popular heartburn drug, Zantac, has been voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer. Zantac is the brand name for the generic drug called ranitidine. Unbeknownst to the public for years, the chemical structure of ranitidine literally becomes a carcinogen during metabolization. That’s pretty scary.

If you’re not taking any OTC drugs, you might be taking a medication that is keeping you alive. If that drug gets recalled or black boxed, your doctor may not know about it for a while. Using a smartphone to receive alerts when drugs are recalled could save your life.

Smart technology and holistic living are compatible

You can live a holistic lifestyle while embracing smart technology; you don’t need to choose one or the other. Technology won’t negatively impact your health unless you’re literally sitting at your computer all day long and you never get up to interact with the world.

In some cases, smart tech can even help you live a healthier life. For example, Fitbit tracks a user’s health data like steps taken, burned calories, and heart rate. Tracking this data can help individuals see the impact of their exercise routines, and it also helps them achieve their goals. Other wearable smart tech can be used to transmit data to a healthcare provider, and some wearable devices deliver pulsed electromagnetic frequency (PEMF) treatments.

Other smart devices are incredibly helpful to people with disabilities. For example, there are smart shoes that provide haptic feedback to guide blind people safely around neighborhoods using a smartphone GPS connection.

Haptic shoes convey directional information in a way that doesn’t distract the wearer or anyone else around them. The shoes are equipped with actuators and vibrators on all sides. After the wearer’s smartphone calculates their route, vibrations in the shoe guide the wearer to their destination. These amazing shoes also detect obstacles like steps and curbs and use the same vibrations to guide the wearer around immediate obstacles.

You can use smart tech to connect with likeminded people

Smartphones and smart tablets are tools that can connect you with likeminded people. No matter what your passion is in life, you’ll find a group of people online who share your interests.

The best way to connect with people is to use video conferencing software. Audio phone calls are okay, but why just use voice when you can connect through video conferencing? If you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you already have video conferencing built into your device via FaceTime.

It’s more fun connecting with people through video chat than voice chat. You can tell so much more about a person when you can see them live. Video is the next best thing to an in-person meeting.

You can also connect with people all around the world and you won’t pay a dime beyond what you would pay for data. If you’re on Wi-Fi, then there’s no extra charge.

Connecting with people all around the world is inspiring and can be beneficial for your business. People from different cultures often have different ways of viewing situations and can come up with ideas and solutions you would have never thought about.

You can use smart tech to discover potential business partners

If you’re running a business, there’s no better way to find potential business partners than by assessing the people you’re already connecting with online.

If you’re discussing business with people over the internet, you might get a feeling that someone is a potential business partner. Smart tech will facilitate video conversations so you can get a better idea of who those people are.

Most people can sense who a person is just by being in their presence. Video conferencing is the next best thing if you’re working with people across the world.

Smart technology allows you to bring your workouts anywhere

Perhaps one of the coolest ways smart tech supports a holistic lifestyle is facilitating the ability to take your workouts anywhere. Some online workout programs are hosted in the cloud, like Apple Fitness Plus, which makes them available anywhere you have an internet connection.

You can also upload your workout programs to your private cloud hosting account if they’re not already available online. Last, if uploading is too much work, you can simply load your smart device with your workout programs and use your device to play the programs. If you happen to be in a hotel with a smart TV, you can connect your device to the TV to play your workout video on a larger screen.

Smart tech will help you track progress and goals

As long as you aren’t tediously tracking data that doesn’t matter, using smart tech to track your progress and goals in any area of life will prove beneficial. For instance, you can use your smartphone to track your reps while you’re at the gym instead of lugging around a notepad. You can also download an app to track what you eat. There are also apps that will tell you what to eat and when to eat depending on your body type and specific goals.

Technology has always been great for tracking progress. You can also track your business goals, sales, and just about anything else from a smartphone app.

Embrace smart technology as a way to enhance your holistic lifestyle

Living a holistic lifestyle is central to wellbeing. A holistic lifestyle involves taking care of your entire self – your mind, body, and soul. Smart technology can help you take better care of yourself by providing you with tools to stay on track.

Regardless of what you’ve read online, living a holistic lifestyle isn’t about giving up gluten, eating a plant-based diet, and living in a converted shipping container tiny home. Living a holistic lifestyle is about unifying your mental self with your physical self to promote overall wellness. It’s a lifestyle that keeps you in touch with the way your thoughts and attitude impact your physical health and keeps you in tune with nature, whether you eat gluten, fish, beef, or potatoes. It’s not about what you eat – it’s about who you are.

Technology has the power to facilitate your growth both in your personal life and in business. There’s no reason you can’t use a little smart technology to sustain a joyful, healthy life.

The post How to Live a Holistic Lifestyle While Embracing Smart Technology appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Lifestyle Tech

The Future Is Clear: Connected Glass Will Redefine Commerce, Lifestyle Trends

The Future Is Clear: Connected Glass Will Redefine Commerce, Lifestyle Trends

How we shop, how we work out, how we receive medical care – you name the sector and odds are good that it underwent some major transformations during 2020. That being said, many of the most dramatic changes were less the result of the COVID-19 pandemic than accelerated by it, and this is particularly true in the world of connected tech. Companies didn’t invent entirely new processes to remedy pandemic-related service gaps, but hurried in-progress solutions to market. And, in so doing, they also transformed our lives at home and out in the world.

What types of new technology have been particularly major players in our lives during 2020? At the heart of it all were a variety of Augmented Reality (AR) products, like virtual dressing rooms and Face AR for video conferencing, as well as well as AI-based fitness tools like Mirror, a connected fitness device acquired by Lululemon Athletica last year. But as critical as such technology appears to be to our new lifestyle ecosystem, such elements represent significant challenges, especially for the manufacturing sector.

Automated Manufacturing Meets Glass

Automation has been central to the manufacturing sector for years and it’s long been recognized that the only way the industry can keep up with demand today is by continuing to build on industrial automation. When it comes to glass, though, that’s easier said than done. After all, in premise, glass’s value comes largely from the fact that it’s clear. That’s not a problem for human workers who can still perceive its bounds and work with it in industrial settings, but it can present real challenges to robotic vision systems and create barriers to mass manufacturing new technologies.

In typical manufacturing settings, robotic vision programs use reflected light to scan materials and identify key points, allowing for precision work with minimal human involvement. When this same vision is turned on glass or highly reflective metal, however, these vision systems can’t collect the necessary information; the glass or metal is essentially invisible. Observing this issue, there are now new manufacturers working to develop advanced robotic vision programs that use different systems, such as light filters and changing points of view, that can enable such systems to successfully work with glass or shiny metals.

What does such robotic vision look like in practice? Imagine that a business wants to install new glass storefronts that allows customers to interact with displays or browse without even setting foot inside the store. It’s a good idea, and one that shares many traits with other display trends that have been in the news for nearly a decade, but tricky to execute in practice. To create a transparent glass display that’s actually a functional LCD screen, manufacturers will need to be able to apply the same types of automated manufacturing technology that they use for computers, and that means using robotic vision that can see the glass its working on. It’s a tall order, but it’s also the reality of modern technology.

Fitness AIs Rise

Another area in which improved glass-detection will be key to manufacturing is in the growth of the connected fitness sector. Connected fitness has been all the rage since the launch of products like Fitbit, but that was just a starting point. Since then – and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in interest in home fitness – the market for connected fitness tech has exploded. In addition to Fitbit, there are now countless other fitness and health wearables, home fitness equipment like the Peloton bike and SoulCycle’s competitor bike, and the Mirror fitness system mentioned above. All this is to say that people want to work out at home and they need tools to do it.

The Mirror fitness system represents many of the challenges facing glass manufacturing today. Placed in your home, it acts precisely as the name implies – as a mirror – but turn the device on and it’s a mirror, a screen playing a class, and an AI-connected system offering workout modifications and tracking fitness goals. That’s some complicated engineering, and it raises questions about how the device, and other devices like it, is made.

Most of the high-tech mirror and glass products on the market function, at least to some degree, on proprietary technology, so a full glimpse behind the curtain isn’t possible. However, we can infer based on our understanding of robotic vision systems that these products rely on cutting edge technology. Unlike other AI-powered machine vision programs, the ability to detect objects isn’t enough. Instead, it needs to be able to detect items that are, in many ways, meant to avoid detection.

Windshields And Other Glass Innovations

Where else is new glass manufacturing technology in use or on the verge of emergence? There are a number of areas of interest, including smart windshields that could prevent distracted driving, AR smart glasses, which have proved their growth potential in recent years after the initial failure of Google Glass, and much more. All of that indicates high demand for more complex, precise glass manufacturing and processing tools, with invisible but overlaid sensor systems.

One product that may be especially influential in understanding connected technology engineering and manufacturing is the subsector of smart glass known as light control glass of LCG. This glass product has recently experienced an explosion of growth stemming from its use in construction.

LCG has been embraced by builders and property financiers who recognize the health benefits of access to sunlight. Instead of installing tinted glass in window-heavy buildings, then, they choose digitally modifiable glass; individual users can adjust their windows with the power of touch. Better manufacturing technology now allows these glass products to filter out specific light forms, include hazardous UV rays, or darken to mimic traditional privacy glass. Within its niche, this is what’s known as a dynamic material and its applications are extensive.

Now, a significant part of what makes glass so valuable in all of the above applications, as well as in our smart phones and tablets, is that it works well in conjunction with the types of plastic conductive materials commonly used together. Essentially, the plastic conductive film touches the glass and completes a circuit. Typically, that doesn’t work with an all-plastic system, though, which is why we all have to go around worrying that we’ll drop our cellphones and crack the screens. The glass is just too important.

What some new equipment manufacturers are now attempting to develop is a plastic alternative that can stand in for glass’s conductive properties, which would allow for touch-sensitive but durable and lightweight products. Essentially, the more products that rely on touchscreens, the more incentive there is to develop an affordable, plastic alternative. Glass may function well and feel high-end, but it’s expensive and often impractical and our connected environment demands innovation.

Smart Glass Goes Plastic

Among the many potential applications of plastic alternatives to conductive smart glass products include high wear and tear, including AR-based virtual dressing rooms, the high-tech reinvention of stores like Toys R Us, which now features numerous touchscreen stations, and many children’s products. Plastic alternatives are also ideal for outdoor applications like the National Parks, local hiking trails, and even amusement parks, where touchscreens are more likely to be subject to weather conditions and other activity. Durability is a common manufacturing priority across industries, so everything we learn about smart glass manufacturing should be quickly applied to plastic analogs.

Over the last decade, we have steadily made progress towards a moment when users expect everything to be touchscreen equipped, but that moment remains elusive. Still, we’re getting closer, and sturdier material options will bring us closer still. Other improvements in projected capacitive technology allow for faster response times from touchscreen tools, greater durability that prevents scratches and cracks from significantly impacting overall device function, and new anti-glare and anti-stiction technology for greater interactive ease.

Ultimately, transparent conduction technology is going to steadily move away from glass, but most innovations will likely still begin with glass manufacturing. Because of the many advantages that glass offers in terms of quality and conductive capacity and its preference as a material in high-end connected tech, glass is the obvious template. New practices and materials will develop from there.

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investing Lifestyle ReadWrite retirement

How You Can Save Money for Retirement

save money for retirement

A 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual found that nearly two-thirds of Americans who have a plan to save money for retirement are certain they’ll outlive their savings. Moreover, one in five Americans (21 percent) have no retirement savings at all, and another 78 percent are concerned about not having enough money saved for the future. Here is how you can save money for retirement.

These statistics are worrying and something needs to be done. Saving for retirement means doing more than enrolling in a company 401k to ensure financial security during your golden years. It also means finding the freedom to enjoy your retirement, which is what actually makes those years golden.

If you haven’t considered saving for life after work, now might be the best time to get started.

However, if you’re already retired, proactive financial planning can help you save money right now. You don’t have to spend the next three decades stressing out or worrying about running out of money at any moment. Here are eight ways to help you save money for retirement and guarantee it lasts as long as you do after retirement.

Minimize Your Fixed Expenses

One of the many ways you can save money for retirement is by minimizing essential expenses like shelter, transportation, insurance, debt payments and food. Owning two or three cars might have been necessary for your family before retirement. But, since you’re no longer commuting to work, sell one of your cars.

You’ll make a little money in the short term, and it can save you on maintenance costs and monthly auto insurance payments long-term.

Downsizing your home may be a good option for you too. Chances are your children have grown and are no longer living with you, which means you need less space. A smaller home will also help you save money on utilities and repairs. Consider moving to a retirement community as well. This may bring some fun and new friendships into your life and simplify life after work.

Maximize Credit Card Points

Taking advantage of credit card points isn’t only attractive for young professionals who travel a lot. It could be a great way for you to save money for retirement.

Imagine taking your 80-year-old parents on vacation to Europe or booking a luxury family trip to your dream destination. Here’s the best part. You get everyone to fly first-class using your points and miles, saving over $25,000 on flights. Yes, that happens more often than you think. And you can do it as well.

Simply sign up for the perks your credit card offers (cash backs, travel miles, points, etc.) and take advantage of them.

Always Ask About Senior Discounts

Whether you’re visiting a national park, shopping for a new piece of furniture, or buying your favorite dish at a local restaurant, ask if there are any discounts for seniors available. Keeping track of all the stores that offer senior discounts can be daunting. So, make it a habit of asking for one. You’ve earned it, and it only takes a few seconds to ask.

Consider a Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that lets homeowners over the age of 62 borrow from their home’s equity and receive funds as structured monthly payments, lump sum, or line of credit. According to the CEO of All Reverse Mortgage, Michael Branson, if you’re a retiree with considerable home equity and are looking to supplement your retirement income, a reverse mortgage might be ideal.

The entire loan balance becomes due when the last surviving borrower passes away, vacates the home permanently, or sells the home.

However, If your current home is unsuitable for aging in place (e.g., two stories, large yard with high maintenance or upkeep), you may also use a reverse mortgage to buy a new home. That lets you relocate and right-size into more senior active communities for a more enjoyable retirement.

Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

According to Social Security Administration data, 9 out of 10 elderly individuals receive social security benefits (they’re eligible at 62). Social security benefits represent around one-third of the income made by the elderly nationwide.

Among social security beneficiaries, 21% of married couples and about 45% of unmarried people rely on these benefits for 90% or more of their income.

Since so many see social security as their main source of retirement income, they often can’t wait to take out benefits as soon as they reach retirement age. It’s important that you consider your longevity before making social security decisions. If you delay drawing on social security until you’re 70, monthly payments will be 32 percent higher than what you’d have received at your retirement age.

Have a Retirement Spending Plan

Truth be told, you need a guide that will help you track and monitor your spending and live within your means. And that’s exactly what a retirement savings plan does by putting you in control of your money.

Not having an appropriate spending plan as you save money for retirement can lead to overspending, which can become a threat to your financial well-being. The last thing you want is to run out of money while you still have many more years to live.

Be Smart About Investing

It’s not uncommon for retirees to leave their money lying in the bank due to a fear of investing. The truth is you may be losing money to inflation if you leave it in the bank. While it’s not wise to make risky investments after retirement, you shouldn’t shy away from a little bit of investing. Try investing a portion of your cash in stocks instead of letting it sit in a savings account.

Work Just a Little Longer to Save Money for Retirement

With so many part-time, remote, and freelance job opportunities available, you can take on a new role with more vacation time, flexible working conditions, or less responsibility. You really don’t have to return to any previous roles.

Find a new role you’re passionate about and keep working. Waiting a few extra years to retire can greatly increase your income, social security benefits, and retirement assets.

Image Credit: gustavo fring; pexels

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Lifestyle living abroad taxes

5 Things U.S. Expats Need to Know

US expats living abroad

As an American expatriate, it’s easy to lose touch with what’s happening stateside. But just because you’re a U.S. expat working abroad doesn’t mean you can forget about your obligations at home.

Excluding members of the military, almost 9 million Americans are expats. Spread across at least 160 countries, expats live abroad but retain their U.S. citizenship.

Whether you’re a long-time expat or still packing your bags, there are a few things you should know about living and working in a foreign country:

1. Take Care of Your Taxes

No matter where they live or work, American citizens are subject to U.S. income taxes. Even those whose tax burden is zero must still file tax forms with the IRS.

Paying taxes is enough of a pain for domestic workers. Many American expats need a financial professional’s help to stay compliant. Platforms like MyExpatTaxes make it possible to complete returns in as little as 30 minutes.

“The average time for expat tax firms to complete a return is 1-2 months,� explains MyExpatTaxes Founder Nathalie Goldstein, a U.S. expat living in Vienna. “Our turnaround time has helped us handle this year’s ten-fold growth while maintaining our quality standards.�

What does Goldstein attribute the glut to? Expats getting Covid-19 stimulus checks. “Stimulus checks count as income,� Goldstein reminds clients. “They need to be reported, even if you haven’t earned other income this year.�

2. Get Your Visa Early

The visa process can be extremely long, and Covid-19 restrictions have only made things worse. Goldstein suggests starting early: “As is true of taxes, getting your work visa ironed out early can save you a lot of last-minute headaches.�

Different countries have different visa requirements. Some require you to return to your home country periodically in order for it to remain valid. Others need an employer to verify your status for you to legally remain in your host country.

Getting verification letters and travel plans squared away takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute to reach out to your sponsor or to book a plane ticket.

3. Embrace the Local Culture

Working abroad does not need to be all work and no fun. Even though you might bleed red, white, and blue, you’ll benefit from embracing the local culture. Breaking down language and cultural barriers make it a lot easier to fit in, get comfortable, and make the most of your time outside of the United States.

Getting acquainted with the local culture can also benefit your work. Look for ways to connect with supervisors and coworkers. Try some local cuisine with them, or ask them to help you learn key phrases in the native language.

What are you waiting for? Go scope out tourist sites, local restaurants, and historical locations in your new home. You can’t go wrong exploring where you live.

4. Keep Up to Date on U.S. Affairs

What happens in the U.S. inevitably affects Americans living abroad. A good example is the latest round of stimulus checks. Checks are due to be cut just weeks after the new stimulus deal broke.

“If Americans living abroad are up to date with their tax filings, they should receive the second stimulus check,� says Goldstein. “However, it’s not too late for those who are not.�

Expats who have not filed should follow the streamlined procedures for tax filing, Goldstein recommends. Otherwise, they may not be eligible. Eligibility requirements for the second round of checks mirror those of the first round.

5. Monitor Local News, Too

Not only will you be affected by policy changes and other news from the U.S., but you have to keep an eye on what’s happening in your new country. Local and national governments might make changes that affect you directly as an expat.

This doesn’t have to be a lot of work. “You can read the foreign newspaper, you can watch foreign movies, you can Skype with your friends,� argues Nan Sussman, a psychology professor at the College of Staten Island who’s studied repatriation.

What should you look out for? Anything that could change your working status or affect your security. You might need to know, for example, about a local Covid-19 lockdown that prevents you from going to the office.

U.S. expats have their work cut out for them. Living in a foreign country might sound fun, but working in one can be a challenge. The good news is, there are plenty of companies and other expats eager to help.

The post 5 Things U.S. Expats Need to Know appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Gifts Health immune system immune system boost Lifestyle Ryla self-care Vit C wellness

Meet Ryla — COVID Boosts Health Food Products and Immune System Awareness

Ryla immune system support

With the holidays in full swing all around us and COVID claiming its share of the attention this year — many of us are giving closer consideration to self-care, including finding out more about the immune system. Care of our immune system may be a life-saving opportunity at this critical time. The health food industry has seen an increase in the number of people seeking ways to boost their immune system — and Ryla is here to help.

Here is an easy way to quickly begin supporting your immune system to withstand the viruses of life (stress) and maybe even COVID.

You can do something today to begin to boost your immune system. Exercising, reducing stress, and getting the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals in your body has never been quite so important than it is right now.

Buy the ingredients and make yourself a fresh-squeezed juice shot when you can — or head to the juice-bar for fresh-squeezed. Both of these options are quite time-consuming and expensive.

Try Ryla — If you want a quick and convenient option for immune support with plant-based wellness.

Ryla is a quick and convenient option for your immune support. Ryla’s plant-based wellness shots are a superfood loaded packet. They are immunity support blends in powder form made with organic immune-boosting superfoods and 500mg of Vitamin C.

These packets are vegan, keto, non-GMO, and gluten, soy, and dairy-free. The ingredients list contains real, recognizable foods that you will know how to pronounce. Contains NO refined sugar.

The packets are convenient and portable — you merely toss the powder into a glass of water — stir and drink. Open a packet and dump it in your water bottle and shake for a refreshing drink on your break or at your desk.

“Ryla was created to offer a plant-based immunity support solution that is easy to take on the go,� said Chris Douglass, co-founder of Ryla.

Ryla’s drink powders come in three blends; check them out below.

immune boosting shot
Orange Strawberry

Orange Strawberry Link

Fruity and tangy, the Orange Strawberry shot is juicy and approachable, containing, you guessed it — real organic oranges and strawberries, with a touch of organic stevia.

Super fruity with a bit of a tart kick, this fresh-squeezed powder is great in a smoothie or your water bottle. It’s been featured on Goop as one of their best in wellness products — so you know it’s the real deal.

Ensure that you are eating and drinking high immune-boosting nutrients as your personal way to stay active in maintaining your personal health and wellness.

 

immunity boosting shots
Turmeric Orange Ginger Black Pepper

Turmeric Orange Ginger Black Pepper Link

The Turmeric Orange Ginger Black Pepper shot is dynamic and flavorful. It brings warm citrus, a fun tart bite from the organic ginger and organic turmeric, and a slight spicy kick from the organic black pepper.

I think this shot tastes great in a glass of water and it is also delicious when made as a hot cozy tea. The turmeric and ginger are also full-spectrum, so there is no nutrient deterioration in the roots when they are dried.

Turmeric has long been known for its anti-inflammatory response. Reducing inflammation throughout the body also helps your antibodies respond to toxins better—a must during cold and flu season.

immunity boosting shot
Ginger Lemon Cayenne

Ginger Lemon Cayenne Pepper Link

If you love spicy, you’ll be incorporating this shot into your daily routine in no time. The Ginger Lemon Cayenne Pepper shot is all about tart and spice —Ryla calls it her “no pain no gain” shot, and she’s not kidding. It is fantastic.

The organic ginger and 500 mg of Vitamin C are there to support your immune system, and the organic cayenne pepper helps clear your sinuses.

Cayenne Pepper has been found to help with stomach issues and is a natural pain reliever — Ginger, so refreshing to sip, is also a pain reliever.

Want to mix it up? Try this shot warm with a touch of soothing honey added — you won’t be disappointed.

immunity boosting shots
Try the variety pack for immunity-boosting power.

Variety Pack Link

If you’re not sure where to start, please try out Ryla’s Variety Pack. The variety pack gives you a chance to sample all of the shots, each containing healthy superfoods and immune-boosting goodness. Stock up on your favorites and feel safe and secure, knowing that you are doing the best for your immune system and relieving stress by taking care of yourself.

With each of these packs, you’ll notice that sometimes the juice will settle, just like a fresh-squeezed juice you see at the store. This is because the Ryla company doesn’t add any additional dissolvents, chemicals, or fillers. Pure goodness.

Conclusion

Start each day off with a different Ryla shot and rotate through the different flavors — you’ll love them all. It’s reassuring to know that you’re getting a healthy dose of Vitamin C during this pandemic.

It’s also wonderful to know that you’re consuming immune-boosting superfood plants like ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, which have been used medicinally for thousands of years.

Ryla’s straight-forward list of ingredients is pure transparency — you’ll recognize every word on the list.  The minute you take a refreshing drink — you’ll love it.

We are all in this pandemic-thing together — and can pass along any information we think might be a help at this time. Remember, the best time to support your immune system is now — to avoid getting sick.

These ingredients and processes are clean and simple. This drink is clean and simple. Can’t think of a better place to grab some immune-boosting power than with Ryla’s. Check it out — grab glass — take a shot — and stay well. Happy sipping!

 

Top Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

The post Meet Ryla — COVID Boosts Health Food Products and Immune System Awareness appeared first on ReadWrite.

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developers Happiness Lifestyle Platforms Study Survey Tech Work-Life

Developer Happiness – 7 Things I Learned About What Makes Developers Happy

dev happiness

Every CEO who leads a company that has something to do with Digitization is dependent on the availability of tech talent and tech recruiting — making it a key factor for the companies success. It is a contested market due to the lack of skilled workers. To get the best developers, you need to attract them with what really matters to them. Here are seven things I learned about software developer happiness.

What makes software developers happy?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that question over the last five and a half years. Happiness is a fascinating subject; it drives so many of our life outcomes, from health to wealth, and yet, we often don’t understand it, let alone prioritize it.

Consequences of Developer Happiness

To give more weight to the topic, we asked 4,000 developers from 98 countries to evaluate their happiness across four key areas: career, quality of life, social freedoms and community.

And so the Developer Happiness Index was born. Here are just seven of the things I learned about developer happiness from working on the report.

Happiness affects a lot for developers — even their code quality

Believe it or not, developer happiness is an academic field of study, a small niche within the broader study of happiness. Through scholars’ work, we know that happy software developers are more productive, write better code, and make better decisions.

Whatsmore, their sense of self is positively impacted: increased motivation and accomplishment, higher creativity, engagement, and self-confidence are all results reported from greater happiness. By contrast, unhappiness causes low cognitive performance, mental unease or disorder, low motivation, work withdrawal and broken flow.

Our results found that developers, on average, self-evaluated their happiness at 61 points out of a potential 100, 4 points less than the average OECD citizen. Hard to say if the comparison is fair, given the different data sets, but it suggests developers are not yet prioritizing their happiness.

Unemployment is destructive to people’s wellbeing

Since we spend a lot of our lives working, work inevitably plays a key role in shaping our happiness levels: work can make us happy or unhappy and our happiness impacts our performance.

What is perhaps less appreciated is that unemployment itself is destructive to people’s wellbeing. This is one of the most robust findings in the study of happiness — it is true across age, gender, and location, according to the World Happiness Report.

Employed people are happier and have less negative emotional experiences in their day to day lives. Further, non-monetary aspects of employment, such as social status, social relations, daily structure and goal achievement, are key drivers of happiness.

Developers in Northern Europe are the happiest in the world

We found that developers from Northern Europe are the happiest in the world. Nordic countries dominate the rankings: Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden all occur in the top ten. Canada ranks joint 8th with Germany and is the only non-European among the top.

Developers on northern Europe are the happiest in the world.

Note: Due to a lack of data, we could not include other regions in the report

Given our sample’s limitations, we compared the findings to the World Happiness Report 2020 (WHR) to check for veracity. Our results are fairly consistent with the report — seven of the top 10 countries are shared across both sets of data. Germany, Canada, and France, which rank 8th, 9th, and 10th in our results, appear 17th, 11th and 23rd respectively on the World Happiness Report. The dominance of the Nordics in both reports is a striking similarity.

Nine of the top ten countries with the happiest developers are in Europe

The World Happiness Report attributes the Nordic populations’ happiness to “the quality of institutions, such as reliable and extensive welfare benefits, low corruption, and well-functioning democracy and state institutions.� Indeed, sustained happiness is connected to a high perceived level of stability and democracy.

Relationships and personal autonomy are also important factors moderating happiness. According to the WHR, “Nordic citizens experience a high sense of autonomy and freedom, as well as high levels of social trust towards each other, which play an important role in determining life satisfaction.�

Stability and well-functioning institutions combined with personal freedom, safety, and autonomy seem to be the recipe that determines happiness in the countries which top both our index and the WHR.

Work-life balance matters most for developer’s happiness

Across all 20 happiness indicators, work-life balance is the most important predictor of developers’ happiness. Work-life balance for developers is not simply about shorter working hours — though that does help.

Northern European developers, who work the shortest hours, are also the happiest. However, Western Europeans and North Americans, who are second and third most happy respectively, work longer hours — significantly longer in the case of Americans.

Developers in Northern Europe are the least likely to work long hours

Trust and flexibility are big contributors to the developer’s happiness with work-life balance. Northern European cultures excel in collaboration, consensus-based decision-making and strong trust between colleagues.

To maintain happy developers, we found it essential to promote a healthy work-life balance and live it. Employers should train and encourage supervisors to be positive role models and offer practical and emotional support in work-life balance topics.

How can managers support Work-Life Balance for developers?

Team, management and recognition are keys to happy workplaces

Given the collaborative nature of software development, it’s no surprise that developers care deeply about the team they’re on. When describing happy work environments, team, management and recognition were the factors that matter most to developer happiness.

Top contributors of positive work environment for developers

Developers say they want to be part of “passionate,� “diverse,� “cooperative,� and “supportive� teams. They expect responsibility to be shared, team members to be open to knowledge-sharing and product colleagues to be process-driven and focused.

Engineering’s relationship with Product can fuel productive, creative solutions or developers can see it as a major obstacle in building stable and valuable products. Collective responsibility and high trust – not just amongst engineers, but among the broader team – is desired by many:

“I value respect among co-workers and owning up to failure as a team rather than pointing towards a specific person or department. For example, not blaming just the QA team for a site-breaking bug making its way to production since multiple failures by multiple parties need to occur for this to happen.�

Management and recognition were also sticking points for developers in our survey. Developers state that they would “rather work for a good manager but use a bad tech stack� than vice versa; “poor management can make people change jobs or give up altogether,� and “the pay is decent, the tech stack is lacking, but my manager does not inspire or promote progress, so I am leaving.�

How to show Appreciation

Female developers are happier than male developers — but they still get paid less

Female developers are happier than male developers overall. They are also more satisfied than male developers with their salaries. This is even though they are paid significantly less than their male counterparts.

We found evidence of the gender pay gap in all territories for which we had sufficient data. The largest pay gaps are in North and South America, where the difference between male and female developers’ pay is 21% and 35%, respectively.

The gender pay gap for software developers is the largest in North and South America

Ageism in tech starts at 29 and the older developers get, the less happy they are

The older a developer is, the less happy they tend to be, particularly in factors related to the working environment and company culture.

Developers with more coding experience are unhappiest with their work environment and culture

Perhaps not surprising since much of tech company culture is built around younger groups. According to research, the average age that tech professionals begin experiencing ageism is at 29 years old, compared to 41 years old on average across industries.

At what Age do people start to experience ageism at work?

Top Image Credit: yan; pexels

The post Developer Happiness – 7 Things I Learned About What Makes Developers Happy appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Gifts give something nice Hanukkah gifts holiday gifts last minute gifts Lifestyle ReadWrite

If You’re Headed to a Hanukkah Party Take a Gift, or Last Minute Gift Ideas

last minute gift ideas

If you are headed to a Hanukkah Party in the next eight days — don’t be a schmuck. Seriously, take a gift — just as you would for any other holiday celebration you are invited to attend in December.

This year of 2020 may be the most important year to show people that you care about them — the COVID-mentality is killing us all — and you may make all the difference to someone.

Flowers and candy are always appropriate to take to your host or hostess — but, since I’m unusual, I like to take something different as a host or hostess gift. My family expects something awesome for the holidays — so I really keep my eyes peeled for good stuff that will be appreciated.

Here are a few more last-minute gift ideas for any of your holiday celebrations with friends, family — or colleagues.

take a gift
CLEAR2O — PERSONAL WATER FILTER – for your hiking buddy.
  1. CLEAR2O — PERSONAL WATER FILTER

With COVID on my mind, I’m making sure I’m more prepared for disasters — I got this water bottle for my hiking buddy — and yes, I’m taking it to a party! (Covid-careful-party-of-course.) It looks pretty cool, too. CLEAR2O® Personal Water Filter Dual Filtration transforms open water sources by removing bacteria and parasites, preventing waterborne disease.
Easy to use and drink directly from streams and lakes, or fill up a container and enjoy clean water on the go. Be prepared during most natural disasters with CLEAR2O®
foot massager
DeCare Foot Massager, Kneading Shiatsu Therapy Massage — for my buddy’s wife.

2. DeCare Foot Massager, Kneading Shiatsu Therapy Massage, Relieve Foot Pain 

I’m taking this foot massager to the same party, same household. The wife is running around madly, taking care of three kids who are SO active. I think she’ll get a kick out of this foot massager. I got one of these massagers for myself from Amazon — try to get this particular one — but if they are out, or you have a party tonight, I heard Walgreens has some good ones.

This is such a great gift — it even fits large feet. The timer can be set at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 minutes. It’s really quiet, so I’m trying to think about how I could keep one under my desk. Soothes tired feet and reinvigorate energy.

The massager also heats up, which is relaxing and relieves pain and improves blood flow — including in your legs. I really like that you can pull out the removable cover and wash it. Washes and dries quickly.

VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder
VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder

3. VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder 

When saying this grinder is for your techie — this grinder IS for your techie. They can’t believe it! Wrap up some exotic beans with this gift and everyone there will get a fresh cup. The grinder is one that you can stick in your suitcase for travel (when we can really travel, after COVID this will be even MORE awesome.
It has a long-life stainless steel burr, which is faster and more effective than your regular coffee mill. You can grind from coarse to fine — even as fine as espresso. It only takes about 45 seconds for a cup — and you know the taste is better with fresh ground beans.
Early morning — can you smell the fresh cup…?
ATUMTEK dual monitor
ATUMTEK dual monitor arm stand with full 360* rotation

4. Dual Monitor Arm Stand with Full 360° Rotation for 15”-32” Screens

Customizable support dual monitors can be easily adjusted to provide additional comfort and support for the user. This is true ergonomic help for all of us. I’m working on getting these dual monitor stands for all of my team members — especially those who are getting their home offices in shape for the long-haul. These also have universal accessibility.
You can spread these monitors out to 32 inches (that’s big), swivel the monitor around to show the screen to a colleague — or, ya know — quickly swivel the screen to show your wife something on your screen from your office — when she’s sitting in her office across the hall.
SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection
SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection

5. SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection

This is a leak and freeze sensor for in-home use and it’s WiFI connected. It a multi-sensor system that instantly detects and alerts you on your phone if a leak starts. If you’ve ever had a leak while you’ve been out-or-town, you know what a disaster that is.
Now, you’ll be alerted, and you can hurry and call a neighbor or repair person. No more ruined wood floor because you’ve been out-of-town for two weeks during a leak. This little sensor is a way to really feel safe — especially when you’re away from home.
3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer
3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer

6. Coraluv US 3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer

NOT JUST FOR BOTTLES — read on — truly transformative. Serializes and dries baby, household, and all kinds of day to day items without the need for water and heat. Kills 99.9% of germs in as little as 10 minutes.
This sterilizer and dryer has smart UV-C technology making it possible to sterilize plush toys, mobile phones, stuff around the office people keep touching — eyeglasses, kitchenware, and much more.
abode iota smart home security syster
abode iota Smart Home Security System

7. abode iota – Smart Home Security System

The abode iota smart home security system has great video streaming capabilities. The iota is a built-in HD camera with a motion sensor, 93db siren, and two-way voice. I like that these are easy to install, and you can put them anywhere — and they are less noticeable than your other cameras.
The WiFi connectivity allows you to take advantage of its features by putting it in a spot that makes the most sense for you. You’ll want the starter kit, and then you can build on more features in your system from there.
CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia
CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia

8. Mackie CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors

You’ll have to hop on the site to get all the specs on these beauties. They have a sleek brushed metal grille and outlined design. These monitors stand out in your home office — and especially “showy” in your downtown office. They have premium woofers and tweeters, have high-headroom amps that deliver what you want: a clear, punchy sound. You can control the volume and side of the desk you want more volume delivered to.
You can use these for professional-grade optimized sonic performances — use pro tools for first-rate professional recording (recording software and plugin package included). You won’t believe the sound quality. So, making music, create content, or just relax to your tunes. Okay — I bought these for a friend but kept these for myself — but I WILL  get another set for that friend.
Kyvol Cybovoc E31
Kyvol Cybovoc E31

9. Kyvol Cybovac S31

I have the Kyvol Cybovac S30 and decided to see if the Kyvol Cybovac S31 update was worth the extra cash —  and it is. The best is the auto emptying dustbin — especially for those with the honey-do-lists. The vac picks up dirt, pet hair, and all the dust — but it digs deeper inside carpets with a really strong suction (3000Pa). I like that it’s pretty techie and fun to show off. Has remote cleaning and voice control. You can even run the vac with your Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Kyvol S32 has an external water tank for mopping — and thankfully, it’s quiet — about like a microwave sound.
This is a little expensive for a party gift (for me), but you should get one of these for your own home — and maybe one for the mother-in-law.

10. DropLabs

 

Music to your soul — by DropLabs

These are the coolest shoes — now you can have music in your soul —  and you feel the vibes down deep. This is the new digital entertainment coming to life right before your feet!

If you haven’t felt like exercising the last few months because of COVID — or whatever — these shoes by DropLabs will help your motivation.  You feel the vibrations of your tunes in your feet.

11. GOTRAX V2 Commuter Scooter 2020 Edition

scooter
GXL V2 Commuter Scooter 2020 Edition

This scooter is the improved 2020 model — the GXL V2. It’s an improvement on the already top-selling electric scooter. It has an improved console, battery life, folding mechanism, and has passed all of the stringent QC testings.

All I have to say here is that you have to have this scooter. It will take a minute or two for you to jump the curb — useless you ride all the time. Serious fun here. Each person at the office has had to take this baby home for the weekend.

A must for the self-gifter — and for someone special.

Conclusion

I’ve found that if you really want to be less stressed for the holidays — you should have a few items already purchased around your house at varying degrees of expense.
You WILL forget someone important and special on your list — not because you want to, but because we are all extra-stressed right now.
If you didn’t prepare for the holidays early — or you decided to keep something great for yourself — most of these items can be delivered by the next day from Amazon.

Give a nice, thoughtful gift for the holidays this year — make sure that something will be great in the year 2020 for your team, family and colleagues.

Image Credit: anna-louise; pexels

The post If You’re Headed to a Hanukkah Party Take a Gift, or Last Minute Gift Ideas appeared first on ReadWrite.

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CBD Cream cbd gummies CBD Lotion CBD Oil CBD Products Gifts Health Lifestyle ReadWrite unique and thoughful gifts

Just CBD – Best Christmas Deals

CBD deals

Forget baking cookies or picking up a gift card at the grocery store. This Christmas, give the fun, smart, and often delicious present of CBD merchandise. The right items come from hemp, as opposed to THC-heavy marijuana. That means they are completely legal in all 50 states. Better yet, Just CBD will help users manage both mental and physical stress. So, if you want to give the perfect gift this holiday season, search for the top CBD products for sale, such as tasty gummies, tinctures, lotions and more.

CBD Gummies

Delicious gummies are the most popular item of all the CBD items on the market. After all, the top CBD Gummies are available in a wide variety of colors and shapes, including rings, worms, cherries, emojis, rainbow ribbons and gummy bears.

The flavors are excellent too. Give a 250mg jar of Blueberry Raspberry Rings to your coworker, but save the giant 3000mg Party Pack for your significant other. You can even hand out CBD vegan gummies and sugar-free CBD Gummies to people following special diets.

Of course, it may take a little trial and error to figure out your favorite flavor of CBD edibles. Within 30 to 60 minutes, the cherished CBD snacks should help you to relax, both physically and emotionally. Keep an eye out for Just CBD Strawberry Banana Gummies, along with limited edition Christmas Trees, Snowmen and Snowflakes.

CBD Oil Tincture

The most beloved gummies may be yummy in the tummy, but some folks prefer a faster-acting delivery device for their cannabidiol. That’s when a pure CBD tincture makes an ideal gift for Christmas. Not unlike the edibles, the tinctures of CBD oil do not possess any chemicals whatsoever. They are also small and convenient, as people on the move can easily toss them into their pockets, as well as their purses.

Meanwhile, CBD hemp oil tincture is rather easy to use. The merchandise comes with a dropper, allowing a person to take a single “drop� of CBD oil at a time. Simply drop it in under your tongue, or stir it into an ordinary drink, like coffee. Best of all, users tend to feel the benefits of CBD oil in as little as 15 minutes and for up to 6 hours at a time. How cool is that?

CBD Topicals

It can be hard to appreciate Christmas morning if you’re suffering from incredibly sore arms or a pulled hamstring. Nobody likes dealing with dry and sensitive skin. That’s why waking up to the gift of powerful CBD cream can be a blessing in a gift-wrapped box.

Keeping it all-natural, the Strawberry Champagne CBD lotion is made of vitamins, coconut oil and aloe to decrease discomfort. CBD Pain Cream comforts sensitive and irritable skin. CBD roll-ons supply an icy sensation, and Ultra Relief CBD Gel efficiently improves blood circulation.

Give a loved one a rub down with smooth CBD Massage Oil. As long as you depend on a high-quality topical CBD, you should have no trouble relaxing. Getting 8 hours of unbroken sleep should come easy, doing wonders for your energy level the next day. Even one’s aging memory and concentration skills tend to improve.

More CBD Goodies

Don’t forget to look at all the other CBD items that are now available. CBD bath bombs soak away stress. CBD vape pens and capsules also make wonderful gift ideas. The same can be said for CBD honey sticks and coconut oil. Individuals even love using CBD isolate while they cook.

To sum it up, there are many fine options for CBD merchandise this holiday season. Thankfully, it couldn’t be any easier for your friends and family to enjoy a fabulous Christmas present from our spectacular CBD store.

Spend up to $50 and get 25% off your order with coupon code: ELF

Spend up to $100 and get 30% off your order with coupon code: REINDEER

Spend over $100 and get 35% off your order with coupon code: SANTA

Promotions are good until December 1, 2020.

David Baker is an expert on CBD products, as he has spent years using them to destress after long days at the office. Follow him on Medium, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora and reddit.

The post Just CBD – Best Christmas Deals appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Coronavirus Pandemic Lifestyle ReadWrite

Second Wave? 8 Tips to Make Life Easier During a Pandemic

life easier during pandemic

Life as we knew it has changed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Our entire lives have been turned upside down with the loss of jobs, halted projects, not seeing our loved ones, and feeling isolated.

It is a scary time, and many people feel as though their life is spiraling out of control. Staying at home and social distancing rules require us to change how we live and work.

Second Wave?

Just when we thought we were nearing the end of the Pandemic, we see all over the news that there is a second wave coming or is already here.

According to Forbes, even though the “first wave� never really ended in the United States, we are anticipating a “second wave� of a surge in Covid-19 cases to occur in late Fall and Winter.

WHO is warning that Canada faces a second wave of Covid-19 cases, with nearly 80% occurring in Ontario and Quebec.

Positive cases of Coronavirus are spiking again in Europe to record numbers. Governments are strongly considering future lockdowns while imposing strict local measures to stop a second wave.

Here We Go Again

The first wave caused enough havoc in our lives. Now we must be concerned about a second wave. Not only do we worry about health and financial issues, but many also face home-dynamic difficulties.

The global pandemic has put most of the world on edge. Many of us are glued to our TVs watching the news, monitoring the number of cases and hospitalizations, and trying to protect ourselves and loved ones from getting sick.

Now, more than ever, we need to think about ways to make our lives easier and manage the current situation while adjusting to a new normal.

Below are a few suggestions to help you cope during trying times.

Follow a Routine

Before the pandemic hit, we followed a daily routine almost on autopilot. Then wham! COVID-19 changed everything. Because humans are creatures of habit, knowing what to expect by following schedules and plans makes us feel more secure and comfortable.

Many of us lose track of days and time when our regular daily routines are replaced with quarantines and other unknowns. Even though our days will look different for an undetermined period, it is crucial to establish a new schedule.

Although it is easy to stay in our pajamas all day, we should establish a new but flexible normal to maintain mental and emotional well-being.

For example, when working from home, set up a dedicated office workspace. If the room has a door, shutting it when the workday is over helps switch off work mode.

When a home office is in an open space such as a living room or kitchen, clear the workspace or close the computer to indicate that working hours are over.

Structuring and planning each day can improve focus, productivity, and organization. It will also provide a sense of control.

Stay Active

We are living in stressful times. Between the global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and civil unrest, we must make a concerted effort to pay attention to our physical and mental health.

Not only does physical activity or exercise improve physical health, but it also releases endorphins to boost our mood and reduce stress. Gym rats whose gyms are closed can look for fitness websites and apps to continue their workouts at home.

Getting up and moving around is essential even for those who do not follow strict exercise regimens. Go for walks, do stretching exercises, or take an online yoga class.

When you are spending more time at home, it is a great time to start getting physically fit.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating healthy improves fitness, as well as physical and emotional well-being. Limit sugar and processed foods by eating more fresh produce. A healthy diet is not an all or none proposition. We do not need to entirely eliminate all the food or treats we enjoy.

Instead, strive for moderation and try to eat a balanced diet of fat, protein, fiber, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Manage Mental and Emotional Health

It is easy to feel anxious, overwhelmed, impatient, frustrated, and powerless during the pandemic. While feeling this way is expected and normal, there are some things we can do to reduce these negative feelings.

Learning to relax is an important step. Deep breathing, visualization, and meditation are relaxation techniques that are simple to do by following the steps below:

  • Focus on a repetitive image, word, action, or breath
  • Try to be positive by letting go of negative thoughts
  • Practice these techniques daily

It also helps to focus on the positives. Be grateful for and appreciate the good things we do have in our lives.

Stay Informed but Do Not Overdo It

While staying informed about what is happening with the pandemic and economy, we must not get distracted. Dwelling on the negative and staying glued to the news causes stress and damages physical and mental well-being.

Try to find the most reliable and non-sensational news sources. Limit the amount of time spent on staying abreast of the most vital information.

Focus on the Present and Do Not Worry about the Future

When the future is uncertain, worrying about something we have no control over will only cause anxiety, stress, and panic. Avoid the “What if?� scenarios whenever possible. It is OK for us to admit and acknowledge that we are fearful of the unknown.

It is never helpful to avoid our true feelings. Share concerns and fears with trusted close family or friends. However, it is best to bring ourselves back into the present where we have more control and knowledge about what is happening.

Focus on the Present

Get Enough Sleep

When our sleep is interrupted, it is usually challenging to concentrate and think clearly. Impaired sleeping patterns also have adverse effects on our physical well-being.

When having trouble sleeping, try the tips below:

  • Do not take daytime naps
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule
  • Be active during the day by taking a walk or exercising
  • Turn off and put away electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed

Having a few nights of sleep issues or disturbances is natural and to be expected. However, should it persist, focus on getting back to a regular sleep cycle.

Follow the steps above, try drinking herbal tea, or take a hot bath to relax the mind and body.

Stay Connected and Maintain Relationships

Humans are, by nature social beings. We miss spending time with friends and family and feel isolated. Luckily, technology makes it easier to stay in touch virtually while we socially distance.

Remote working and digital marketing tools such as Zoom, Trello, and Microsoft Teams enable us to stay in touch with and maintain connections without putting ourselves at risk of catching the virus.

Socializing during a pandemic is still possible and extremely important to avoid feeling isolated and alone.

While the weather is still warm, meeting friends and family outside where we can maintain social distancing is our best option. Or meet online or group chats and one-on-one conversations.

get enough sleep

In a world with an uncertain future, we all must reach out, stay connected, and take care of each other.

The post Second Wave? 8 Tips to Make Life Easier During a Pandemic appeared first on ReadWrite.

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AI ai in fitness Artifical intelligence digital fitness fitness apps fitness trainer Lifestyle

How Artificial Intelligence Innovations are Used in the Fitness Industry

ar in fitness industry

It’s hard to find an industry that isn’t in the process of being transformed by digital technologies, and the world of fitness is no exception. While people have been working out or exercising for decades, if not centuries, how they’re doing so is rapidly evolving. Here is how artificial intelligence innovations are used in the fitness industry.

Technologies like digital wearables enhanced with artificial intelligence are a natural fit for the fitness industry. Some of these products and solutions have already seen increasingly widespread adoption, while others are only beginning to penetrate consumer consciousness.

Finally, coming full circle into the field of fitness-related is AI. Advances in AI allow for more responsive, customizable, and immersive digital fitness assistants and helpers with each successive year.

AI-Based Personal Trainers

One aspect of fitness that has consistently brought people out to their local gym has been a lack of expertise. If you want a sustainable and effective workout routine, you need to consult with someone who knows what works and what doesn’t. And until recently, that means working with a trainer or other fitness professional.

Neural Networks and Trainers

But by harnessing the power of neural networks and AI, digital personal trainers can fill in for that role, tailoring and overseeing workouts from the comfort of users’ homes. The AI-based personal trainers use various AI algorithms to simulate or even surpass the know-how of a human trainer.

The AI-based personal trainers see a noticeable surge in popularity due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As people continue to deal with local lockdowns and are reluctant to spend more time away from home than needed, digital personal trainers fill a void when it comes to fitness guidance.

AI-based personal trainer offerings attack the concept in a variety of ways. Still, it’s worth taking a look at a couple in particular as representatives of some of the field’s possibilities.

Apps Leveraging AI Processes

The first we’ll look at is the Freeletics app, which leverages a series of AI processes to create a customized workout and then maintains and modifies it to optimize user preferences and development.

The Freeletics app begins by collecting a small amount of personal data. It then cross-references with a massive database of other users and workouts to create a suggested starting routine.

The app will then track the user’s progress and accept feedback to continue to sculpt their workout to their satisfaction. Whether it be general fitness, targeting individual muscle groups or areas of the body, weight loss, or other fitness goals, Freeletics uses machine learning.

With machine learning, the user gives feedback that will zero in on a routine a user can stick with over the long term.

Other apps use human pose estimation that detects and analyzes human posture during physical activities.

Data Gathered Through Apps

The Zenia app gathers data through the mobile camera, which is angled to capture the user’s workout. Under the hood, Zenia uses a sequence of neural networks and a database of hundreds of thousands of captured yoga poses and images.

The database allows the app to identify correct and incorrect postures, giving feedback on users’ form and progress.

AI  — Personal Coach

Creating AI personal coach apps, developers consult with fitness experts in creating the tools. This ensures that these apps have a foundation rooted in expertise within the fitness world and the power of machine learning.

The fusion of the two allows AI-based personal trainers to offer a compelling alternative to the gym, which an increasing number of fitness seekers prefer.

Smart Clothes and Wearables

An even more intimate application of AI tech in the realm of fitness is smart clothes and wearable devices. These products can monitor exercise or athletic endeavors in real-time through readings of biometric measures.

The motion-capture gathers data and offers feedback and guidance either after the fact or when the user is still engaged in their activity.

Smart Wearables

Asensei is a smart apparel developer offering a suite of shirts and pants capable of tracking users’ movements engaged in body movement exercises like lunges, squats, and similar routines.

The Asensei smart clothes use motion capture and AI technology to compare the user’s angles and range of motion to acceptable norms of exercise form and can correct users in real-time to create good exercise habits.

Sensoria offers a similar AI-based wearable system, this one specially tailored to jogging and running. The Sensoria platform gathers data from smart garments (whether Sensoria’s own or other IoT-enabled garments).

The data measures a range of motions and biometrics. This includes heart rate, rate of foot landing and cadence, and impact forces while running.

The Sensoria analysis not only offers suggestions for optimization and improvements for a workout routine but can monitor and spot potential injuries-in-waiting and identify weak points in the kinetic chain.

The Sensoria system is designed with an eye on both fitness and wellness for users engaged in an active lifestyle.

Wearables for Exercise Tech

Nadi is a smart clothes creator-focused specifically on yoga, using many of the same AI and body capture technologies to produce smart yoga pants.

These leggings connect wirelessly to an app for mobile devices, and the mobile app offers a yoga tutorial working through a predetermined routine.

Meanwhile, the leggings themselves utilize a series of gentle vibrations to offer guidance on which parts of the body should be focused on at each step of the routine.

Real-Time Data

These and other smart clothing and wearable manufacturers are starting to scratch the surface of the power AI has when it can be fed real-time data on granular body movements.

Analyzing and offering instruction at that level of precision allows for a greater level of control of a workout than we’ve ever seen before.

AI-Driven Diet Planning

Long before AI was a viable commercial technology, digital diet planning was a massive part of the fitness market.

Tracking calories and meals online and on mobile devices has been popular for more than a decade. With a profusion of competing apps and websites offering services of highly variable quality.

Limitations of the Users

The recurring problem or limitation of many of these solutions is the amount of work they ask the user to do and the expertise they expect from their users. AI has the potential to fix many of these issues.

AI Helps in the Specifics

One area where AI can help is in the easy identification of foods for meal logging.

Asking users to painstakingly enter each of their meals and snacks is far more time consuming than asking them to snap a simple photo.

And apps like Calorie Mama offer the ability to calculate the calories within a dish or meal through a picture.

If users can log their calories with a minimum effort, motivation to stick with a diet plan increases significantly.

Calories

Meanwhile, apps like FitGenie and Neutrino leverage AI-based analytics to tailor meal plans and caloric targets for individual users’ requirements.

By gathering user info up-front and as time goes on, these apps can tap into huge databases of foods, metabolic and physiognomic ranges.

All of the data measurements can chart fitness goals and create recommendations customized to an exacting standard.

Wellness and Fitness

As time goes on, we realize that wellness and fitness are often an intensely personal journey and that one size very much doesn’t fit all.

AI has the potential to discover what works for any given person, even if that diet or routine is significantly different than what works for anyone else.

The Diet Industry

For decades, the diet planning industry has been stunted by untapped promise, often delivering results to a small subset of people while failing the majority of users.

AI-based solutions may be the key that unlocks a wider-spread success rate.

Artificial Intelligence innovations are transforming nearly every industry, and market in existence to one extent or another, or else will be in the near future. It’s already starting to change the fitness industry and the way people exercise and take care of their bodies.

Conclusion

As we grapple with a world forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibilities for major changes in consumer behavior are as great as they’ve ever been.

Whether it be smart apparel, AI personal trainers, or AI-driven diet planners, AI technology is making fast inroads in the fitness industry.

Integrating and expanding on the current offerings is the surest route to becoming a leader in the near future.

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