Ever since bathroom scales became a household mainstay and we no longer require medical professionals to monitor our weight, taking ownership of our own healthcare has continued to evolve. Today we live in a world where we can research our own symptoms from various sources, do a great deal of medical testing at home with products we can buy at the drug store, and even use a mobile phone app to monitor our heart rate and oxygen levels.
A new device introduced this year for smart phones called Tinke has helped further self healthcare even more. The tiny little device plugs into your phone and becomes a monitor of heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, and heart rate variability. The user simply places their finger over the sensors and the technology detects changes in blood skin blood volume to get readings.
From there the data is displayed on the phone through the Tinke app, and the user can begin to track their own health.
The information can remain completely private, however, users are encouraged to join the Tinke community. Just like many wellness apps, the community of users is intended to encourage and motivate. The sharing of fitness and wellness information has been useful for many people in the social media world as they try to improve their health. Again, something we used to only do in the privacy of our own doctor’s office.
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Monitoring you heart rate can be a pain, especially for those who have to do so frequently for health purposes. But a new mobile app aims to make this sometimes tedious task not only simple but enjoyable. What some may view as a game, Cardiio makers view as a pivotal health tool that measures your heart rate by simply taking a visual scan of your face.
That’s right: Cardiio users simply hold their iPhone or iPad up to their face, the app does a quick scan, and then your heart rate, projected life expectancy, and how you compare health-wise to the average person is revealed.
We reached out to Cardiio co-founder and CEO, Ming-Zher Poh, Ph.D., to get a better idea of what this cool, new app is really all about.
What does this app do, and how exactly does it work?
Cardiio is a beautiful and fun app that accurately measures your pulse by scanning your face using the front-facing camera of your iPhone/iPad. Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face. This slight increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed, and hence less light is reflected off your face. With Cardiio, your device’s front camera can track these tiny changes in reflected light that are not visible to the human eye to calculate your heart rate.
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Every body is different, so to come up with fitness guidelines that work for everyone is tough. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the minimum recommended amount of exercise for a healthy adult is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week and this 30 minute guideline is the one that fitness experts use as a baseline to ensure exercisers are working hard enough to see results, especially beginners who are new to exercise. But what does that actually mean, and how do you know if you are doing enough?
The 30 minute rule refers to cardiovascular exercise (running, walking, biking, etc.) as the guidelines for strength training are working your major muscle groups 2-3 times a week, on nonconsecutive days. Your strength training, however, can work into your 30 minute rule as long your intensity is high enough. (More on that later.)
The 30 minute rule sounds pretty cut and dry, but you actually have a lot of leeway. Most days of the week means 4-6, as everyone needs at least one rest day per week, but you can play with the 30 minute recommendation. Those 30 minutes can be done all in one shot, or you can break it up through out the day. Two 15 minute sessions, or three 10 minute sessions are shown to be just as effective, but it is not recommended to do anything shorter than 10 minutes for the full benefits.
Those minutes don’t mean much, however, if you aren’t making them count, which brings us to your intensity level. Intensity is a little more subjective, but the most important component to seeing results.
Runners are pretty simple creatures. We typically only want one thing: to run faster. If you’ve spent any time with a runner you’ll typically find that they’re stubborn- I mean determined- people. That trait serves them well in the sport.
However, being one of the most determined people on the planet, I can safely say that all the will in the world won’t make me faster. If any runner wants to be faster, they have to train to be faster. One of the best ways to do that is by doing fartleks. Yes, fartleks. Funny name, but powerful speed training.
Fartlek is the Swedish word for “speed play.” Fartleks are a type of interval training for runners. It was developed in 1937 by Swedish coach, Gosta Holmer. Holmer developed this training for his cross country teams who had a terrible record. The effective speed plays focus on running faster than race pace to train. Fartleks were so successful that they have been widely adopted and used since.
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Research has shown that listening to music while you exercise improves performance. As for me, I didn’t need research, I know from firsthand experience. I don’t know what I’d do without music while on the treadmill.
Music acts as a motivator, but it also distracts you from negative thoughts associated with fatigue or any insecurities or inadequacies that may creep up into your mind.
While I can be motivated by nearly any tempo if the music is right, research shows that fast paced music, ideally music with a BPM (Beats Per Minute) of between 120 and 140, is ideal for a cardio workout.
That pace also just so happens to be about what the average person’s heart rate is during a normal workout.
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