Which fitness tracker is right for you? [Quiz]

Image courtesy of designmilk.

Image courtesy of designmilk.

There are so many fitness trackers out there now, how do you know which one to pick? While that’s really up to you, this #FitnessFriday Crunch Theory is releasing is an inforgraphic-quiz to help you pick one that meets your needs — and doesn’t break the bank.

The trackers featured are from established companies – Fitibt, Misfit, Jawbone, Basis, and Garmin – and vary in functionality and price.

FitnessWearable (1)

What did you get? Is it accurate? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tips To Stay Fit At Any Age [Infographic]

Image courtesy of USAG- Humphreys.

Image courtesy of USAG- Humphreys.

Did you know that childhood obesity spikes in the summer months. Without recess or P.E., some children will stay put instead of getting the exercise their bodies and minds need. And as we get older, we still need activity, but the best types for us may change.

With that in mind, Bankers Healthcare Group, a company that offers financial solutions for healthcare professionals, decided to informally poll the health and fitness blogosphere to see what advice the community had for keeping fit at any age.

As part of its initiative to get people moving, they compiled the responses into one handy (and good looking) infographic with some interesting information. For example, it breaks down types of suggested activities by age range, as well as the benefits of each.

See the infographic below or visit the Bankers Healthcare Group’s blog post to learn more.

Image courtesy of Banker's Healthcare Group.

Disney’s Playmation Makes Combines Physical Play With High-Tech Adventures

A child plays with the Repulsor, part of the Playmation Marvel's Avengers starter pack.  GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

A child plays with the Repulsor Gear, part of the Playmation Marvel’s Avengers starter pack. GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

The Walt Disney Company has always sought to innovate the way stories are told and experienced, and the twenty-first century is no exception. In its quest to continue pushing the boundaries of storytelling, the company is introducing Playmation, a new technology that reinvents classic, make believe play.

Disney Consumer Products describes Playmation as “the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real.” The system combines wearables for kids that interact with smart toys.

According to Disney, parents wanted kids to move around more, and Playmation is an answer to their plea. Like a real life video game, kids need to get moving as Jedi, Avengers, and Princesses if they want to defeat the bad guys and unlock new content.

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

“Innovation and creativity are the driving forces behind Disney, and our goal is to inspire children to unleash the power of their imaginations through the stories we tell and the experiences we create,” stated Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products, in a press release. “With Playmation, we’re taking the next step in that tradition – bringing the worlds of play, storytelling, and technology together – in a new and very exciting way.”

The Playmation line is a collaboration with Hasbro. The first line to be released is Marvel’s Avengers, with gear hitting stores this October (in time for the Christmas season of course with a price tag of $119.99)

Children (and adults) will first be able to get their hands in an Iron Man repulsor glove and follow Jarvis’ cue to defeat a classic villain. Star Wars and Frozen Playmation lines are also in the works for 2016 and 2017.

Continuing the high-tech tradition

Playmation doesn’t come too much as surprise because it draws upon the merging of art and science that Disney has always strived for. Recently, the company added the Magic Band to their Walt Disney World experience, which was also dreamed up by a team of technologists, Imagineers and storytellers from across Disney. Tomorrowland, which is in theaters, is also the first Dolby Vision theatrical release.

How To Pick The Right Brand Of Sunscreen

Image courtesy of Jeff Wilcox.

Image courtesy of Jeff Wilcox.

June means the official start of summer, whether you’re counting by the end of the school year or the official calendar date. Americans will trade in jackets for towels, and days cooped up for those spent lounging by the pool. But regardless of whether you’re wearing short shorts, a wide-brimmed sunhat, or stylish maxi dress, there’s one thing you should not leave the house without – sunscreen.

Chances are, if you’re like most Americans, you do just that. A recent study found that only 14% of men and 30% of women regularly wear sunscreen, putting themselves at risk for skin cancer.

The rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has risen 250%  for children, adolescents, and young adults since 1973, according to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. And it doesn’t matter if you burn or not,  by not using sunscreen, you’re putting yourself at risk for cancer.

“Anyone can get skin cancer, so everyone should take steps to protect themselves from the sun,” stated Dr. Mark Lebwohl, president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

So what is the ideal brand of sunscreen?

According to the AAD, it’s one that is broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure the sunscreen says those words on the label, or else you may just be getting protection against sunburns and not against skin cancer and early aging.

Although the AAD’s website doesn’t list specific sunscreens, here are a few that meet that criteria: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, Banana Boat Ultramist, Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Ultra Guard, Sun Bum Lip Balm.

You can learn more about picking the right sunscreen, preventing skin cancer, and sunscreen application tips on the AAD’s website.

Infographic courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Infographic courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Women’s Health Week: One Inspiring Organization and 5 Tips To Make Your Well-Being A Priority

Image courtesy of Heather Dowd.

Image courtesy of Heather Dowd.

Happy Women’s Health Week! I think everyone would say that health is a priority, but sometimes it can slip on your to-do list, especially you have 10 million other things going on. Women’s Health Week, which is celebrated May 10 – 16, is the perfect opportunity to make your well-being a priority again.

One key way to keep physically and mentally fit is to exercise, but women are half as likely to have exercised throughout their lives compared to men, according to a March survey. The results are a little depressing, so this Fitness Friday, we are profiling the organization This Girl Can, which wants to empower women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to get and stay active.

This Girl Can is based out of the U.K. wants women to realize that fear of judgement is not a reason avoid exercise. The organization’s social media channels provides encouragement for women across the globe who breaking a sweat.

The website itself features stories of women and their exercise of choice. And if you need to find your new favorite type of workout, This Girl Can has an A to Z guide that has details about different sports, how much they cost, what equipment they need, and why it’s good for you.

Want to make whole-body fitness a priority? Here are 5 tips.

  1. Meditate daily. It can only be 5 or 10 minutes, but it’s worth it. Meditating gives you the time, focus, and energy to get everything done on in your day. If you have to, get an app to remind you and stick to it. Learn more about meditation here.
  2. Find a workout you enjoy. I don’t care if you’ve been told crossfit/cycling/hot yoga/etc is the new, hottest, best workout. If you don’t like it, try something else. There are plenty of different types of exercise and don’t give up until you find one that works for you. After all, if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to stick with it. (Bonus points if you have a workout buddy.)
  3. See your doctor annually. It’s so easy to prioritize everyone’s health above your own, but taking the time to take care of yourself pays off in the long run. If absolutely have no time, consider using an e-service like Maven.
  4. Audit your eating. You don’t have to count every single calorie that goes down your throat, but you should take an audit every once in a while to make sure you’re on track. Use an app or look at the USDA’s recommended food plate, and see how close you’re coming to the guidelines. If you’re way off, think about ways to incorporate healthier foods into your day or consider a delivery service.
  5. Have fun! It’s 100% necessary to relax, indulge, laugh, and play. Have a cheat day, skip some chores, go on an adventure. If you try to live completely health-conscious 24/7, chances are it’ll end up stressing you out. Everyone needs a break sometimes; give yourself permission to let loose and have some fun every now and then.

What’s your favorite way to get and stay fit? Have another tip? Let us know in the comments.

SmartPlate Counts Calories For You

The new SmartPlate and microwaveable lid. | Image courtesy of Fitly.

The new SmartPlate and microwaveable lid. | Image courtesy of Fitly.

SmartPlate by Fitly is a Kickstarter project that automatically weighs and tracks the food you consume.

The concept is simple – just place what you want to eat on the plate, then cameras and sensors gather the food’s data and pushes it to a smartphone app. That way, you know exactly how many calories, carbs, sugars, fats, etc. you consume throughout the day. The plate also alerts you if you’re eating too quickly.

The SmartPlate app. | Image courtesy of Fitly.

The SmartPlate app. | Image courtesy of Fitly.

The plate pairs with a smart phone device, which stores and tracks all your data. Through the device, you can set goals, like to lose or maintain weight, train for a marathon, or follow a specific type of diet.

The website and Kickstarter campaign page don’t delve into whether the plate has ben independently tested, and SmartPlate is unfortunately not microwaveable. However, each plate does come with a microwaveable lid, to hopefully alleviate that drawback.

The SmartPlate is currently in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign to raise production funds for the product. So far, Fitly has raised about a quarter of it’s goal, and there’s over a month left on the campaign.

The plates are currently going for $99 on the campaign page, and they will retail at $199. Fitly expects the SmartPlate to be available in 2016.

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Standing Desks May Be Coming To A Classroom Near You

Standing desks are becoming more popular at offices, and now they're coming to schools.

Standing desks are becoming more popular at offices, and now they’re coming to schools.

The traditional classroom is getting a redesign at one California elementary school. Beginning next school year, all of the classrooms will have standing desks.

Standing desks have been shown to increase focus and burn more calories, making them a popular substitution for a traditional desk at forward-thinking workplaces. That got two health-focused, entrepreneurial parents wondering why their kids didn’t have standing desks at school, so they spearheaded an effort to put standing desks in some classrooms.

They succeeded, and four classes at Vallecito Elementary in San Rafael, CA, got standing for this school year. The desks have a “fidget bar” underneath that kids can rest their foot on and swing, and kids can grab a stool if they’re tired. The students also don’t stand all day and sit for certain activities like lunch or specific lessons.

Teachers, kids, and parents seem to be enjoying the change-of-pace, and most students stand the whole day. Teachers say that kids are able to focus better, and parents report that kids are sleeping better, according to a Daily News article.

In fact, the test-run has been so successful that the school is putting standing desks into all of the elementary school’s classrooms next year. And those two parents who started the effort? They’re now running an organization called Stand Up Kids with the goal of putting standing desks in every school

What do you think – would you want your kids to have standing desks? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Pulse Play Is The Wearable For Racket Sports

Pulse Play lets you focus on the game, not the score. All images and screenshots are courtesy of Pulse Play and their Indiegogo campaign.

Pulse Play lets you focus on the game, not the score. All images and screenshots are courtesy of Pulse Play and their Indiegogo campaign.

Pulse Play was created by three-time tennis champion Andy Ram who wanted to give amateur players the ability to focus on the game and not the score, just like the pros. It also has the distinction of being featured in the first ever Crunch Theory Wearable Wednesday video. Check it out below!

Pulse Play is wearable meets app meets social network, allowing those who play racket sports to meet up and compete with others in the area. It also keeps score, which it pushes to mobile devices, so that you can always reference the points when needed.

One band goes for $75 on the company’s Indiegogo campaign, with orders expected to ship out later this year.

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Researchers Created A Treadmill That Sucks Less

The new treadmill changes pace automatically. Image courtesy of Military Health.

The new treadmill changes pace automatically. Image courtesy of MilitaryHealth.

Let’s face it – running on treadmill sucks. You’re in one place, looking at the same things, and, well, it’s just not the same as running outdoors. But researchers from Ohio State have created a treadmill that sucks a little bit less – it changes pace with you.

This may not seem like much, but the new treadmill is designed to match how we naturally run. When you’re outdoors or on a track, you can change pace without even thinking about it, but if you do so on a treadmill, you find yourself hitting the top or close to the edge. Not anymore.

The automated treadmill uses sonar to tell where you are on the belt and adjusts automatically. If you pick up speed and get closer to the front, it speeds up with you, and if you slow down, it does to.

My only question is – why did nobody do this sooner?

“If you’re running outside and you want to speed up or slow down, there is no button to push. It is the same with this new automated treadmill,” Steven T. Devor, associate professor of kinesiology at OSU and one of the treadmill’s developers, said in a press release.“It is seamless and feels completely natural. You just go.”

The treadmill is now a final prototype and in the process of being patented. Devon said it should be ready for commercialization soon.

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Kurbo Helps Kids Eat Healthier

Kurbo encourages kids, teens, and their parents to learn about nutrition and eat healthier. Images courtesy of Kurbo.

Kurbo encourages kids, teens, and their parents learn about nutrition. Images courtesy of Kurbo.

Trying to eat healthier is a challenge for adults, and even more so for children and teens. With rising rates of obesity, highly processed school lunches, and more people staying sedentary, there are so many challenges kids (and adults) face when trying to get and stay healthy. Kurbo wants to help.

Kurbo is a mobile app that helps kids and teens make smarter food choices. Unlike calorie-counting systems, Kurbo uses a “traffic light diet” developed by Stanford scientists. The app groups foods into red, yellow, and green categories based on how good they are for you.

KurboScreenshot4

The  diet encourages users to consumer fewer “reds,” which includes processed foods or ones that are high in sugar and fat; eat “yellows,” like whole grain breads, in moderation; and go all-out for nutritious “green” choices like fruits and vegetables.

The app sets a goal number of “red” foods per week, and kids are encouraged to log they traffic light color of the foods they eat as they go. Like Weight Watchers, Kurbo does not restrict any foods. Kids can still have sweets and treats, but are reminded to eat them more mindfully. And the reviews for the system are positive – even from adults who want to eat better.

The Android and iOS version of the apps are free to download and for the first week, but you’re charged for a personal coach there after. Plans range from $25/month to $75/month depending on how interactive coaching you’d like.

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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.