PEDOMETERS – The New Fashion Accessory

The desire to track our fitness levels has evolved significantly over the years – it used to be ‘count your steps’ using a pedometer that sat on your hip…but with the advent of smartphones and technology… we wanted MORE.

Below are a number some of the new, trendy and different styles of ‘pedometer’ that can be used not only to count steps, but also track your running, swimming, cycling and other activites whilst linking to your social media and tracking your progress….and they look GOOD.

These are great tools for everyone – from elite athletes through to those of us who just enjoy to participate in active recreation.  Why not try one out with your friends, family or sporting club and see what happens?

Thanks to Mashable, Springwise and other cool sites for finding this information.

The Shine

Small round disc that can be worn on your clothing, on your wrist or in your shoe and tracks your physical activity.

Small round disc that can be worn on your clothing, on your wrist or in your shoe and tracks your physical activity.

Small, trendy, disc-shaped fitness tracker that counts steps, swim strokes AND bike pedals! You can wear this device on your shoe, in your sports bra or anywhere you please…and wherever you wear it, it looks good.

Syncing this device is a breeze – just place it on your smartphone, and a sensor on the device automatically uploads all your data. Set your goals, follow your progress and share the infomration with your friends.

Created by Misfit Wearables.

The Fitbit Zip

The Fitbit has been one of the forerunners into technologically advanced pedometers – and it just keeps evolving.

The FitBit Zip and FitBit One are now equipped with Bluetooth and more social sharing features and runs on a battery that lasts from 4-6 months.

Make sure you check this one out.

Nike+ Fuel Band

nike_fuelband_lThe FuelBand tracks a persons fitness so that they can compare a game of basketball to a dance class, for example.   Nike believes this will provide more precise measurement than simply tracking steps, and allow it to account for the differences across various sports (the device also tracks steps, calories, and time, however).

FuelBand uses red, yellow, or green coloring to let users know how they’re doing toward their goal and helps to motivate people to eercie longer, stronger and harder.

The Fuel Band has integration with Twitter and Facebook, and users can upload their data directly to their PC.

Want more information or inspiration?  Then check out these great innovations:

PINK PAGES – Vol 1, May 2012

Social MediaSETTING AN ATHLETE/COACH SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Laws in America are now being passed that prohibits teachers/coaches from contacting students and athletes via private social media.

 This means that Facebook, SMS and direct messaging is not allowed – however they can communicate via a public forum.  So, although social media is a great way to communicate information to members, sporting clubs should be careful.

 USAGymnastics Magazine has provided a number of simple tips for developing a social media policy for clubs.  These tips include:

  •  Communication is public and used for specific purposes such as schedule changes and announcements
  • Coaches should ensure parents are aware that they have access to their child’s online profile
  • Policies need to be clearly outlined to team members AND staff
  • Enforcement and consequences for violations of the policy must b discussed and transparent

Social media is here to stay – and it’s only going to get bigger.  Clubs need to educate staff, volunteers, athletes, supporters and parents about how to safely use and deal with this form of communication.

Local Links:

  1. http://clubsonline.dsr.wa.gov.au/
  2. www.wasportsfed.asn.au
  3. www.dsr.wa.gov.au

PinkeDSR Comments: “Social media is a great tool for sport and recreation clubs to use – as long as they are aware of the pros and cons of the tool, ways of using it effectively and how to deal with any negative use of the tool by their staff, members, supporters or other.

The Department of Sport and Recreation in Western Australia is constantly looking at ways of improving the presence of clubs online – so make sure you check out the hot links above and see what amazing things are happening in the land of social media, around our state.”

Girl doing aerobics‘AEROBIC’ VIDEO GAMES: THE NEXT INFOMERCIAL?  

Research has shown that playing active video games can positively affect the body shape of overweight children through an increase in aerobic capacity.

A controlled trial of the PlayStation EyeToy showed that there was a change in the Body Mass Index of the players after 24 weeks. 

Participants (children aged 10-14 years) were allowed to play as little, or as much active video games as they wanted.  These games included football, boxing, dancing and martial arts.

Results showed:

  • Active video games play was sustained at higher levels than baseline at both 12 and 24 week measures
  • Children were meeting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day
  • Future trials should examine other mediators related to this type of intervention including attitudes or preference for physical activity, or changes in sedentary behaviour

PinkeDSR Comments:

“The question to ask is, will we next see these games being advertised as the ‘new ab-roller’?  Will morning TV shows offer games as the way to wash-board abs? Is this actually a BAD thing, as long as it motivates people to move?”

  
Old Mac ComputerTRUE OR FALSE: OLDER PEOPLE AREN’T ACTIVE ONLINE?

FALSE! A recent report shows that the number of people aged 65+ has almost doubled between 2007 and 2011.

 COTA Victoria and Ellis Jones found that 85% of the Victorian over 55’s who answered the survey, are actively using the internet.  The number of users over 65 has increased from 29.8% to 56.7% in only four years, whilst those aged 50-64 has grown by 22.3% during the same period.

 The report also confirms that older people use the internet to stay in touch with their family and friends; to seek out help from government services and to get involved in conversations that they might not be able to access otherwise:

 Almost two-thirds of survey respondents admitted they were happy to leave comments and feedback online, with 71% saying that they felt ‘acknowledged’ because of this opportunity to engage with other people.

  • The biggest barrier faced by older users is the lack of knowledge and understanding about the level of security on internet sites – although online banking and travel bookings are their main reason for using the internet!
  • Although they are actively shopping and banking online, almost half (40%) also have Facebook profiles and 20% enjoy searching and watching videos on YouTube.  Far less are using Twitter and LinkedIn – but then these tools aren’t targeted at retirees.

A key finding of the report is that “Respondents believe having access to the internet makes them feel more informed, more engaged and more empowered – and they like the idea of governments engaging with them online” because of this!

Local Links:

  1. Seniors Recreation Council of WA
  2. COTA Victoria

PinkeDSR Comments: “Our population is ageing, and as this occurs our seniors groups consist of people who are increasingly savvy users of the internet and technology. 

It is important that the sport and recreation industry embraces this shift in demographics, and uses these tools to continue to support, encourage, motivate and engage people in sport and active recreation activities.”

 
Neighbours 1EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD (ONLINE) NEIGHBOURS

Nextdoor.com is an online meeting place that makes it easy for people to connect with their neighbours – even borderline recluses are welcome.

There’s a common misreading that technology inevitably leads to the decline of the local community.  I don’t believe that. Technology can be harnessed to facilitate local interactions.” Professor Robert J. Sampson.

And so, Nextdoor.com was born.  According to the chief executive of Nextdoor, Nirav Tolia, as we get holder, the community that becomes most valuable to us is the one we live in, and so this site provides a ‘map’ of neighbours in your area who are members – creating another way of interacting and bonding.

  • Nextdoor.com currently has more than 2,000 American households (each containing approximately 500-750 households)
  • A house-by-house map of neighbours – although you can choose not to have your name attached
  • A forum for posting items of interest, sharing recipes and events, classifieds for buying and selling or even giving things away; and a database of user-recommended local services
  • New members must prove they actually live at their claimed address
  • Pages are all private – only fellow members can see who else is online – and none of the information appears on search engine results
  • Updates and posts can be viewed online, via email posts or through SMS
  • The service is free, however they plan to enlist local businesses to give members special offers
  • Nextdoor.com has created something Facebook no longer is: an online network defined by real life proximity.

Local Links

  1. ActiveSmart

PinkeDSR Comments: “Creating community through the use of technology and online ‘social sites’ in the real world – what a challenge!  But it seems that we are slowly overcoming our fear of the unknown, the virtual world, and embracing the opportunities that it presents.

Online dating is seen as one of the preferred ways that people meet their life-partner – so why not create a space that brings neighbours together as well?

There is plenty of opportunity for sport and recreation to get on board here – whether it is through the Nextddor.com site OR in its own specially designed online world.”

 
Virtual PersonDEALING WITH DEPRESSION IN A VIRTUAL WORLD 

3D fantasy worlds are giving young people the tools and confidence to deal with mental health issues.

A 3D fantasy game has been developed by the University of Auckland, to teach young people with mental health issues, skills to help build their confidence.

SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active & Realistic X-Factor thoughts) has gamified the real world to change mundane tasks and lessons into fun, interactive tasks – but it is the provision of health benefits that is ensuring gamification is here to stay (as proven by Cambridge Consultants T-Haler project). 

  • Players choose their own ‘avatar’ which they manoeuvre through a number of ‘provinces’ that relate to various problems they may experience when dealing with mental health issues. 
  • Examples include the Volcano Province which deals with disruptive emotions, whilst on other levels they fight GNATS (Gloomy Negative Automatic Thoughts).
  • The pilot has been tested on 187 youth with vary degrees of depression.  Half of the participants were given typical treatment and the other half played the game.
  • Although both groups experienced reduced anxiety levels, the game players experienced higher levels of remission rates.

Local Links:

  1. Act Belong Commit
  2. Beyond Blue
  3. Nature Play WA

PinkeDSR Comments: Gamification is a tool that can be used as a positive driver of physical activity.  Take geocaching for example.  Kids and adults can use their smart phones to get outside, do a worldwide treasure hunt and enjoy/explore the area – wherever they are.

There is also a large amount of research taking place that shows the use of exergaming (using consoles such as the Kinect and WiiFit) is a positive influencer of peoples involvement in physical activity and increases social interaction and mental alertness. 

This is definitely something that can be used successfully within the sport and recreation environment – what sort of ideas do you have for its use!?”

Running GroupALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT: WHEN THE TRAINS AREN’T RUNNING, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T RUN!

London leads the way with organised group runs that operate at the end of each working day and follow popular bus and train routes.

Overcrowded public transport and increasing obesity issues – two factors which affect our quality of life, but could possibly be alleviated through the new, innovative and simple ‘group running’ idea Home Run.

We are constantly told that using public transport is of great benefit not only to our personal wellbeing, but also to the environment and so London has introduced guided group runs that allow people to get home powered by their own two legs.

Group guided runs offer a number of benefits including:

  • Safety in numbers
  • Guided and popular routes – most run along the same popular route that their bus or train may have taken anyway
  • Support crew to carry your clothing and work bags – no more carrying heavy backpacks (cargo bicycles)
  • Social interaction with other people – building new relationships, and
  • Reduced congestion on public transport.

Local Links:

  1. TravelSmart
  2. Transperth Sardines

PinkeDSR Comments: “Western Australia is a great place for this type of idea – our climate, roads, scenery and love of sport and physical activity means that this is something that could work well – not only in the metro area, but also within regional towns.

How about speaking to your local government, workplace health coordinator or colleagues about getting something up and ‘running’ in your area?  Are there any programs or ideas that you think might work in your community/workplace?”

 

Run, Run, I Do Run, Run

No longer is the saying ‘I’m going for a jog’ heard only by those in the near vicinity as you grunt and groan to tie shoelaces, ensure your clothes are comfy and loudly declare your fitness intentions.

Oh no – now the whole world can see, hear, comment and cheer you on as you take those steps towards becoming a happier, healthier, safer and stronger you.

The number of fitness applications (apps) available for use on smartphones is growing by the day.  Not only do these apps link you to other like minded-people, they can combine all of your social media tools and allow friends and family members from all around the world watch you progress and achieve your goals.

But not only are apps infiltrating the world of traditional sport and recreation activities.  People are turning towards variations of fun runs and sporting events that promote the collaboration of sports with art and culture, or those that focus on making people feel HAPPY….

Below are a few of our favourite apps and events - some of which cost, many of which are free – but all of which offer positive ways for technology and social interaction to support physical activity. 

If you know of any others, please get in touch as we’d love to share them around!

The Color Run is billed as the ‘happiest 5km’ run.  It’s a run that is more about fun than achieving times and distances and is something that people of all ages and abilities can take part in. Participants begin the run in white shirts and as they make their way through each kilometre, they are pelted with different coloured ‘dust’ which results in – to quote the website -  ‘starting like a brand new pristine coloring book, and ending looking like they fell into a Willy Wonka… tie dyed… vat of colored goodness.’

Nike+ GPS is a fantastic little tool ($1.99AUD).  Not only does this app track your runs, give you voice feedback through your headphones when you reach certain milestones, provide options for timed or distance runs….but it also allows your friends and family members to ‘cheer’ for you by pressing ‘like’ button on Facebook!

There’s nothing better than hitting that wall during a run, and suddenly a cheer breaks through the music and lifts your spirits… :) ..and since they released the app without the requirement for an ‘in-shoe’ sensor, it has become even more popular. 

Track your runs, comment on the weather and how you were feeling, share your run maps and even race a friend….there is plenty to explore and do through this application.

FigureRunning allows the worlds of art and exercise to merge into one.  As you head off on your route, you become the pencil.  Your track is traced, colours used and of course, interesting art works created and later, shared online with friends.

There are a multitude of other apps and activities out there….but some of our favourites include:

 

  • Zombies, Run! - Run around your local neighbourhood whilst being chased by zombies!! Don’t slow down….you DO NOT want to get caught!
  • RunKeeper - tracks yours workouts, making them fun, social and easy to understand.
  • Fitocracy - an online game and social network that aims to use gamification to
    help users improve their fitness.
  • iTreadmill - for those times when you can’t get outside..and running on a treadmill is your only choice.
  • Nexercise – According to the Huffington Post, this is a “true fitness app for lazy people.  It was made with the express purpose of making exercising more fun, like a game.”

Tell us more please!

Paying to Play….

“Nothing opens a parent’s checkbook like guilt and fear,” as a new book on the big business of kids’ sports shows.

Pinkie just came across the following article by Doug Glanville, a Major League Baseball player from 1996 to 2004 and the author of The Game from Where I Stand. The views expressed are solely his own, but we thought it was an interesting insight into the cost of organised sports.

“It is widely noted that youth sports have their problems, from the obsession with results to premature specialization. However, economics are at the heart of these problems, and what often gets left unsaid is clearly outlined in Mark Hyman’s new book The Most Expensive Game in Town.

One of the many stories Hyman tells is of a super sports dad of three, Fran Dicari, who keeps a blog that outlined all expenses he incurred in the pursuit of his children’s excellence on the field. In 2010, he dropped $8,921 on a plethora of questionably needed services and equipment so that he could support their soccer trips, pay for golf gear or have kids that were forced to look like pro baseball players.

Was all this required? Not necessarily, but without keeping up with the Joneses, a parent feels like they are sealing their child’s fate as an also-ran athlete and the guilt doesn’t stop there. It continues to press parents to open their checkbooks. You can’t have your child be the only one without Nike apparel or a constantly alternating uniform.The Cincinnati Stix, an elite traveling teen baseball team, has three different colored hats to go with two jerseys, two pants and the three colored undershirts. Dicari (a.k.a. StatsDad) even broke out his probability hat and found out that there were 72 possible combinations.

But forget about the uniforms or the price of crisscrossing the U.S. to get a barometer of how your child ranks within the country. If you want personal attention, or to be on the radar of those with access and influence, as Hyman points out, you could join, say, the IMG Golf Academy and drop nearly $55,000 for the year, or pay $700 an hour for a quarterback coach for your child. Of course you wouldn’t spend that on a toddler, most likely, but that doesn’t mean the services are not available.

The parents of younger and younger children are targeted so that they get ahead of the imaginary curve. Hyman cites Lil’ Kickers (from 18 months old on), Baby Goes Pro or even Gymnatrix, which is knocking on the door when your child is 6 months old. Then again, it is not just the parents who are getting targeted. The kids are as well. Mountain Dew is positioned very well in all sports that have high adrenaline attached to it. The kids make the connection and support the product, regardless of whether that product is healthy.

Sponsorships introduce kids early on to the consumer sports culture and then make it unfathomable later to tell that same child no when he needs that head-to-toe Reebok outfit that matches the rest of his team. Of course, we tell ourselves that our children are learning other valuable lessons, and in some regards, they are. But whenever the for-profit culture sinks its teeth into anything replicable, you lose something of value. It becomes a lot harder to tell someone, Your daughter probably will not have many opportunities in this sport at the next level. Especially when parents are willing to explore her talents to the bitter financial end.

The hope implied in youth sports — maybe my kid will be a star — isn’t entirely false, since no one has a crystal ball. But to give just one example, there will be 750 Major League Baseball players when the season starts this April. It is safe to say that this is elite company. For years, major-league players came out of the Dominican Republic, long before organized academies and high investments. They just played around the clock for the love and the opportunity. That does not cut it anymore. The unfortunate result of the big business of youth sports is that it creates another rich-get-richer environment. The privileged class reigns supreme: only those with resources can both afford to have hope, and afford to be wrong.”

The Department of Sport and Recreation and the West Australian Government have collaborated to help reduce this type of thing happening in WA and support those children who can’t afford it, to join a local sporting club.

The ‘KidSport’ program offers $200 vouchers towards club fees and equipment for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to join a club.  See Kidsport for more information.

Innovative New Pilot Program Set To Get Western Australian Seniors Moving!

An innovative pilot program aimed at boosting the physical activity of Western Australia’s seniors has been announced today, along with a newly created role believed to be the first-ever of its kind in the state.

 Titled ‘Techsavvy Seniors – Exergaming’, the pilot program is a partnership between the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR), Amana Living – one of Western Australia’s largest not-for-profit aged care provider – and the Seniors Recreation Council of WA (SRC).

The pilot program will focus on introducing technology-based games and activities to seniors, and will be run by a dedicated project officer – considered to be the first-ever Government funded position of its kind in WA.

The program will involve residents in Amana Living retirement villages playing a mini bowling competition using both the XBOX Kinect and the Nintendo Wii. This will provide DSR with comparative results regarding the ease of use, engagement and physical/mental activity benefits of these machines for seniors.

 Mr Ray Glickman, CEO of Amana Living, said: “Studies show that regular physical exercise is associated with better brain function and a reduced risk of cognitive decline; however as we get older and less mobile we are often no longer able to engage in our chosen pleasures of life. For some, this sense of loss can deepen into depression and a decline in mental alertness.

 “With more than 23,000 Western Australians diagnosed with dementia and the figure set to increase to almost 109,000 by 2050 (1), it was vital for Amana Living to identify new and interesting ways of increasing the mental agility,social interaction and confidence of our residents.”

 As part of its ongoing vision to enrich the lives of those it cares for, Amana Living decided to engage a part-time Enrichment Coach to create a program called CommWii Games where residents took part in a weekly competition using the Wii console. Concurrently, DSR’s Trends and Innovation team were researching opportunities for technology to be used as a positive means for engaging and motivating traditionally inactive people. Amana Living’s program proved highly successful and supported DSR and SRC’s belief of the positive effects technology-based games and activities could have for older people.

Hugh Rogers, President of the Seniors Recreation Council of WA, said: “Following Amana Living’s success in implementing its CommWii Games program, we decided we could not ignore the importance of investigating further use of video game consoles as an additional tool to boost the physical activity, mental-health and emotional wellbeing of our state’s ageing population.”

 DSR’s Claire Scullin said: “Sport and recreation is not just about physical fitness, it’s about helping people to be mentally and emotionally happy and to feel connected with their community, whether that is in a retirement village, a school or their community in general.

 “This project is a great example of the department’s ongoing desire to identify innovative and exciting new ways of increasing social interaction and physical activity levels of all West Australians, and this partnership with Amana Living and the SRC is a great way of achieving these outcomes.”

 The ‘Techsavvy Seniors – Exergaming’ pilot program will be run by the Seniors Recreation Council for a 12 month period. If the pilot is successful, the ‘Exergaming’ program could be run throughout all Western Australian independent retirement villages.”

For more information, contact DSR.

Technology and Innovation for Inclusivity

DSRpinkiesworld was sent an amazing Youtube link today, one that really illustrates how technology and innovation CAN be used in a positive way to encourage and support the integration of people with a disability into main stream sports.

‘The Sound of Football’ is a project that allows users to ‘see’ through sound and therefore, to participate in an ordinary game of soccer (also known as football).

Cameras are placed around a soccer field, to track the exact position of each player, the ball and the goals/boundaries.  This information is then translated into surround sounds and transmitted to the players through headphones.

The real beauty of this creation, is that the players wear headphones with an iPhone attached to their head and this is where all the sound comes from – utilising an everyday tool like a smartphone, in a physical activity promoting project!

Soccer for All

 The trial for this application was funded by Pepsi, which allowed a group of blind and vision impaired players to compete in a game against a group of former professionals.  This is the the YouTube video comes in.

Check out this link and see what can be achieved when technology partners with traditional sport to create new, inclusive and innovative ways of supporting peoples participation in sport and physical recreation.

There are so many other applications and activities that could benefit from using this sort of innovation.  What about your sport or activity?  Could you incorporate something like this and open participation up to a whole new group of members? 

Have a think about it….

For more information about this great initiative, visit http://thesoundoffootball.com/

Will the FUN ever stop? We hope not!

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As we become more and more reliant (and expectant) on technology such as tablets and smartphones in our daily lives, developers are increasingly using the theory of ‘fun’ to replace everyday, mundane activity.

‘Gamification’ has been mentioned in Pinkie’s World before, but now more than ever we are seeing it transposed into traditional activities such as data collection forms, finalising a work task or being the Breakfast Champion of the day.

Take Tonic Health for example.  This company believes that switching from paper forms to and interactive gamelike iPad interface is ‘more enjoyable for patients and therefore enables greater response rates to surveys.’  It makes filling in forms easy for the elderly and those with low-education, enables the user to select their preferred language for use, is intuitive and can be fun.

Think about the benefits for sport and recreation clubs: 

  • Greater inclusion opportunities for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities and the elderly. 
  • Data is instantly saved, which lessens time required on admin tasks for over-worked volunteers, and
  • Ability to make data collection fun.

Fun and games online and via portable technology devices are also a great way of encouraging and increasing activity amongst traditionally sedentary people – as well as increasing the competition between those who are that way inclined! 

Below is a list of apps that Pinkie’s World has discovered which utilise gaming aspects to increase, measure and motivate physical activity in people of all ages, abilities and other….so why not check a couple out today, share with your friends and then let us know how it goes!

  1. Leap – mobile app that allows users to create a social game and challenges.
  2. Onefeat - online game using Facebook or Twitter that rewards users for performing offline activities.
  3. Foodzy – site uses gaming to reward healthy eating.
  4. Endomondo – Track your workouts, Challenge your friends and Analyse your training on your phone.
  5. Pledgehammer - make your resolutions public and stick to them – or make a ‘donation’ to charity!
  6. Nike+ GPS – free app for iPhone that links to Facebook and allows people to ‘cheer’ you on when you exercise.
  7. Swimtag - wristband that monitors swimmers progress and shares info online.
  8. Striiv -  portable fitness device for adults that motivates users into action through games and personal challenges.
  9. NexGym – interactive classes in sports, dance, karate, hip hop, yoga and more http://nexgym.eu/info/birthdayvideo.wmv
  10. Nexercise - iPhone app that brings a dose of gamification to the world of fitness, with medals, discounts and even free merchandise offered as rewards for physical activity.

 Go and play!

Back to work and struggling to find the time to burn those festive calories

 

Finding time to exercise is increasingly becoming a barrier people cannot overcome. Over the years there has been an increase in the number hours people spend at the office. This now averages 40 plus hours a week, meaning people have less time to spend in the gym or working out.  

Look in most office kitchens and you’ll probably find a few pictures reminding you to stretch while you’re away from your desk, but now technology can do better. What if we could use the time we spend at our desks to burn calories while we work? Now we can! From slightly over the top Gym inspired work stations which will let you tone while you type, to work out mouse pads there is something out there that will let you burn calories while you work.

Work out mouse pads are simple elastic pads that lets you do a few arm reps when you’re not clicking your mouse. Or try the Compactix DeskMate which simply clicks onto your desk and just pull the handle to flex your arms, back, shoulders and chest, getting a great workout without disrupting your neighbours. FitDesk is another fab innovation combining an exercise bike with a desk area to put a lap top on so you can read that report while you work out.

Despite being regularly reminded about the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the association with disease and morbidity, the average person will still go from sitting in their car to get to work, to sitting at their desk at work, to sitting on the couch at home. Employers are now contributing to reducing sedentary lifestyles of their staff with upright workstations ‘popping up’ in offices everywhere. There are a variety of versions, from fixed upright desks to workstations with gas lifters that can raise (or lower) from seated height to standing height with the flick of a switch.

And every work station should be equipped with a Fitness@Work . If you have to be sitting, this chair allows you to work out while you work. Including handles that pull out to stretch and train your upper body and a seat that allows you to work on your core by switching from a fixed to loose position, giving you the effect of a fit ball with the comfort of a chairJ

Finally, if you want to see if you can burn off your lunch time calories there are the Calorie Counting Dumbbell’s (which maybe need to be renamed to Smartbells?) these smart interactive weights have not only perfected the requirement of adding and removing weight on your dumbbells by using an easy (and attractive) magnetic weight discs that snap on, but also has a great colour coded light system that tells you how many calories you are burning per hour.

So get to work and start working out today:)

Make exercise interactive with technology and earn rewards for healthy activity.

No matter what the activity I think it is fair to say there are innovative ways of making physical activity more interactive and fun.

Most people know that daily physical activity is a worthy goal for every individual, however most still require a little motivation. Technology has once again prevailed with new and innovative Smart Phone applications and new gadgets to help you keep motivated and even earn rewards.

The Rhythm Runner App is another awesome way to stay fit. This clever next-generation app uses your smartphone’s accelerometer to select music from your smart phone that matches your running pace. It measures your pace and automatically matches the music to beats per minute of the music stored on your phone.

If you need more motivation, Nexercise brings you an iPhone app that adds a dose of gamification to the world of fitness, offering rewards for physical activity such as medals, discounts and even free merchandise. In order to gain rewards users can walk, run, garden, dance, do aerobics or any physical activity that lasts at least 15 minutes. All you need to do is tell Nexercise what activity you’re about to start, then keep your phone somewhere on your body, and do it! When finished, verify the activity has taken place and start earning rewards such as points and medals — with bonus points awarded for exercising with a friend — as well as discounts on a variety of products and services.

And for all the swimmers out there who have been watching and waiting while innovative technology aids all types of land based activities well the wait is over! The Speedo Aquacoach is a watch specifically designed for swimmers to measure everything from strokes to calories burned. The Speedo Aquacoach can detect laps executed using both tumble turns and wall pushes and can store up to 50 swimming sessions letting you compete against your past times anytime.
So get motivated and out there and get active this summer!

Take care and have a fabulous and safe festive season!

‘Facebook’ for Kids – And it’s SAFE

Facebook may claim that users must be over 13 years of age to hold an account, but we all know that kids are way too savvy to let that stop them these days.

That being said, understanding social media and the way that people connect with each other online, is something that all children should be educated about.  Future generations are growing up with technology and online interaction as an everyday part of their lives, so instead of wrapping them in cotton wool, parents should take a look at a new social media platform that has been designed purely for tweens and kids under 13.

Everloop is an online social platform where kids can safely be kids as long and as much as possible.  It was created by three mothers who – although they saw the ‘negatives; of online use for youngsters – also saw that companies and families were underestimating the level of understanding and interaction young children had with social networking technology.

“Everloop has created a unique, age-appropriate social media experience for kids with customized micro-networks or “loops” that safely connect tween-relevant content, services, applications and experiences. Everloop’s state-of-the-art privacy protection and monitoring technology (patent pending) guards young users against bullying, predators, bad language and sharing of personal information. We partner with leading innovators to provide tween-focused entertainment as well as top-shelf educational activities.”

The creators of Everloop haven’t just target children though.  They realised that kids need help on how to be a digital citizen, but they also know that parents are often lost on how to be a part of their kids’ lives online and so they have incorporated learning tool for both parents and children about the use of online environements.  The security levels on Everloop are designed specifically for children, which makes it a safe, secure and friendly place for kids and parents to interact.

Everloop’s innovative social “looping” technology was specifically designed to allow tweens to safely share, communicate, and collaborate discretely with their friends while online.   No other social platform on the market today offers as many real-time communications, content-sharing, and collaboration features designed specifically for tweens. Everloop kids can join or create “loops” around things they love, such as sports, crafts, music and fan groups.”

This innovative site is a must-see in todays digital age.  The addition of educational sections on Internet Safety and Social Media Skills could teach a few adults some new tricks…so we can only guess just how savvy these kids are going to be in the future.

Watch out Facebook – the Teens are coming and they are coming on EVERLOOP!