How Augmented Reality Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

How Augmented Reality Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

How Augmented Reality Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

access_time Aug/18/2017

People are willing to try just about everything from fad diets to hypnosis to help them get on track to achieve their fitness goals.

One area that’s starting to gain traction in fitness circles is the use of augmented reality (AR) technology during workouts. No matter what their levels of fitness are, more and more people are seeing results with the help of devices that make exercising a little more straightforward and engaging.

Related: 7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Keep (or Get) Fit, Happy and Productive

By incorporating AR into your fitness regimen, you can add fun and utility to your workout without sacrificing your gains. Here’s how the latest and the greatest in AR can help you reach your fitness goals -- no matter where you start.

Real-time data

One of the most useful aspects of AR technology in the fitness world is the fact that it can provide you with real-time information about what’s going on in your body while you’re working out.

For instance, many augmented reality devices involve wearable technology that records your heart rate. This helps you make sure you’re working hard enough to shed those pounds or build that muscle, as well as helping you ensure that you don’t over-strain yourself. The ideal heart rate range for a 30-year-old to maintain during moderately intense exercise (the ideal range for fat burning) is 95 to 162 beats per minute, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your wearable tech to track your heart rate for maximum progress.

This isn’t limited to what’s going on inside your body, either -- augmented reality devices also just help you track how far you’ve come. By helping you track the distance you’ve run or the steps you’ve taken, you can have a standard measure for your workout. Even better, many versions of AR technology reward you based on this. For example, you can unlock prizes based on the number of steps you’ve taken.

This is an important aspect of working out that people often forget, as seeing your progress can be a huge motivator to keep going and achieve your goals.

Related: Why You Need More Exercise as an Entrepreneur (and 7 Creative Strategies for Getting It)

Learning as you go

A staggering 47 percent of generation Z is predicted to be obese by the time they reach adulthood. A major factor in this unfortunate statistic is the fact that for a lot of people, the sheer amount of information to learn about fitness can be intimidating -- and, ultimately, a turn-off.

From putting together effective workouts to just figuring out how those tricky machines at the gym work, there’s a lot of information to absorb at any given time in your fitness journey. Luckily, AR technology can make this a lot less overwhelming.

For one, you can receive personalized workout videos through an AR device such as smart glasses to jumpstart your fitness regimen. Just imagine: with this technology, you can have your own, personal fitness instructor show you the latest workouts, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga and Pilates. This reduces the nervousness associated with going to a fitness class for the first time, helping you on that first step of just understanding how everything is done.

Further, you can receive real-time instructions through AR smart glasses or just your headphones on your form, helping you maximize the ROI of your exercise and minimizing the chance of injury.


Finally, augmented reality technology just makes working out more fun. Adding gaming elements to exercising helps workouts become more accessible and rewarding to help you reach your fitness goals.

When it comes to people who are not used to exercising regularly, adding some sort of fun element goes a long way towards keeping them motivated through those notoriously tough first weeks and beyond. Not everyone loves working out for working out’s sake right off the bat -- it can take an extra level of engagement up front to help them power through the tough first stages of a new fitness regimen before exercising feels rewarding on its own.

Related: Why This Weird Wearable Let Me Down -- and What It Taught Me About Tech's Limitations

Developers have created mysteries, puzzles and other games to get users up and moving. For instance, a popular AR app called Zombies, Run! is growing increasingly popular in the fitness set. Through your headphones, you listen and follow along as a helicopter pilot helps you escape a zombie apocalypse. Before you know it, you’ve run a 5K.

With the fact that one-third of American kids are currently overweight, a little fun in the name of fitness is only going to help.

What are some other ways you’ve been able to get on top of your fitness?

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How This Cool Kitty Cafe Helps Humans Find Purr-fect Pets

Professional bakers Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand are on a mission to save stray cats. So much so, in fact, that the feline-adoring social entrepreneurs co-founded a unique small business in Lower Manhattan in New York City dedicated to helping homeless kitties find forever homes.

The close friends’ budding business, nestled in a bright, windowed open space, is purr-fectly called Meow Parlour. The enterprise, launched in 2015 on the heels of a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, is a serene urban escape where Big Apple residents can rent time to relax and unwind with a furry flock of free-roaming and adoptable feline friends.

“Seventy percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized,” Ha said. “There are a lot of cats that are out there that are looking for homes. At Meow Parlour, our focus is on harder to adopt cats, which include shy cats, undersocialized cats, cats who have had a tough life … and three-legged cats, as we’ve always wanted to fight for the little guys.”

While at Meow Parlour, customers can also pop over and enjoy fresh coffee, tea and home-baked, often cat-themed sweet treats from Ha’s sister company, Macaron Parlour, a gourmet patisserie located right next door.

“It was the ‘cat-alyst’ or the background to say, ‘Well, I have a café, so I can literally just add cats and it’ll be a cat café,” Ha recalled. However, due to food safety regulations, she and Legrand had to open a separate, non-bakery cat-petting location, where cats could simply hang out -- and not paw around where they prepare food. (Meow Parlour customers can and often do purchase treats and drinks at Macaron Parlour and bring them over to Meow Parlour’s petting area).

Staying true to the duo's shared affinity for “all things cats,” Macaron Parlour serves fresh baked goods of all shapes and kinds, adorably cat-shaped French macarons and cookies of course included. (Dog lovers need not fret, as canine treats are baked fresh there daily, too.)

Sprinkled throughout Meow Parlour are cozy stools, floor cushions and countered nooks from which customers can pet kitties, sit, read and, if need be, work or study alongside various purring sidekicks. Cat-petting sessions can be reserved via the startup’s website for as little as a half-hour to up to five hours (for $6 per hour, plus tax).

Nestled in a bright, windowed open space on 46 Hester St. in New York's Chinatown neighborhood, the urban animal lover’s oasis is also lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that kitties climb, and lounge and frolic on.

But, there’s a broader social mission at play, beyond just a fun afternoon with furry friends.

“Meow Parlour is a really good starting point for people to come here and learn about some of the issues facing cats in the world today,” Ha said. “Once they start here and know that there is something out there, then they can go out and start to make the difference.”

While the kitties of Meow Parlour -- Freddie Mercury, Kobold, Jasmine and Jude Law among them -- are of varying ages and sizes, Ha and Legrand can’t stress enough that they all have one big thing in common: They need loving and permanent homes.

Realizing their dream to help keep cats off of the streets, and to do their part to stop many from being euthanized, Ha and Legrand partnered with Kitty Kind, a New York City-based nonprofit that runs an adoption center at the Union Square Petco. Each year, the no-kill, all-volunteer organization rescues more than 600 cats in in the city.

“If people fall in love with one of Meow Parlour’s cats, people can go to Kitty Kind and start the adoption process there,” explained Ha. “It’s a pretty thorough process because we wanted to know that every cat that we invested into was going to a thoroughly vetted home. We wanted to feel very confident that they were going to have their forever lives with the right family for them.”

She continued: “Seeing them get adopted is amazing. To know that 200-something families have a different life because of these animals is really rewarding."

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Attention All Millennials: You Need This Advice to be Successful

Over the past few years, I have hired, trained, managed and, in some instances, terminated millennial employees. I have seen the spectrum from creative genius to entitled expectation, and as the future of the workplace is dependent upon finding a common ground with the generation that follows me, I ask for a candid chat.

Millennials, I want you to be wildly successful. I want you to exceed expectations and impress. However, as your employer, I need you to help me to help you.

I am not here to browbeat you because of participation trophies or an inflated sense of self, nor am I here to echo the same criticism every generation has given the one that follows throughout history. That said, it is important to remember that the workplace is, first and foremost, “a place to work.” In order to make your mark in the professional world without creating ill-will in the process, I recommend three simple tips for getting ahead.

1. Find a way to attach yourself.

Gallup reported last year that millennials do not feel close ties to their jobs, with only 29% of millennial workers feeling engaged at work. This sense of detachment causes palpable frustration for both the millennial and the employer. With a feeling of commitment, the employer is more likely to invest scarce resources in a new employee. If they feel you have one foot out the door, an employer like me is likely to send you on your way.

Last fall, as I was having a first meeting with an employee who had predated me at the company and would be one of my reports, I asked her to list her daily and weekly tasks for me, and then to describe which tasks she should be focusing her time on and which should be offloaded to a peer. She came back wanting to offload 100% of her tasks to someone else, so that she could “explore other roles in the company to find her calling.” I gently coached her that it was probably time to move on.

Find something that inspires you (even if the grunt work isn’t generally inspiring). Find something to commit to, and make your world revolve around that project, task or role. Succeed at that one thing first and then, with the newfound respect from your employer who has seen you dedicate yourself, your next request for responsibility will be that much more likely to be granted.

2. Invest your online social skills in a writing class.

Although millennials are generally hesitant or reluctant to embrace employers, their local communities or specific institutions, you are highly connected with the world around them. According to Gallup, 91 percent of millennials own a smartphone, and 71 percent say the Internet is their main source for news and information. This hyper-connectedness has helped you gain a unique global perspective and has transformed the way you interact and work.

With as connected as millennials are to the web, I find that this rarely translates to a social connection with the workplace. Email and writing skills have become alarmingly poor, and a professional respect for business communication has taken a backseat to the 180-character tweet. Social media may not hold you to basic standards of grammar and articulate writing, but your colleagues and business partners do.

In my first job out of college, my boss Steve Stevens strongly recommended that I take a business writing course, which is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. I find myself recommending the same strategy to each new employee I onboard. Take the time to read what you write, spend the time to edit your work, and ensure that anything you send on behalf of your company is something that you and your boss can be proud of. A few minutes of careful review can save significant embarrassment.

3) You will only receive respect and recognition if you earn it and offer it to others.

Millennials are pushing for change in the workplace and don't accept "that's the way it has always been done" as a viable answer. Typically, millennials demand that businesses approach them differently and adjust the customer experience to meet their needs. You see work and life as closely intertwined and want to have a different relationship with their manager. You want your manager to care about you as an employee and a person. 62 percent of millennial employees who feel they can talk with their manager about non-work-related issues plan to be with their current organization one year from now.

Let me encourage you millennials to treat your boss as a person, and you will be treated as a person in return. In a recent employee interaction, an extremely new hire failed to call in for an introductory call, asking me to instead call his cell phone. When we finally did connect, I asked him to open a spreadsheet I had prepared for him prior to our call to discuss upcoming tasks. He responded that he must have accidentally deleted my email, and asked me to send it to him again. This behavior persisted for weeks...

Respect and trust is earned. You only get as good as you give. If you find yourself frustrated with the lack of respect and/or authority you are receiving on the job, take a moment to appreciate your boss and coworkers. Write a note of gratitude. Invest yourself in your company in the same way you want the company to invest in you.

Millennials will dictate the pace, foundations and metrics in the business world of the next several decades. And for our businesses to succeed, you must rise to positions of leadership and strength. You alone have the opportunity to build upon the world that was crafted by those who came before you. The above tips will have you in a decisionmaking role in no time.

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To Be Successful, Be Patient With Your Imperfections

It’s true. It’s OK to make mistakes. 

Even though I’m learning and growing daily, life is still challenging. The more I learn, grow and become better, new challenges present themselves to me.

I am learning, over and over again, that being challenged, making mistakes and not knowing what I’m doing is part of life. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I want to remind myself and you of this by bringing back an old 5 Minute Friday that I originally recorded about a year and a half ago.

I was inspired by a talk given by my good friend Rob Bell.

A video version was made as well, which is inspiring and beautiful.

Remember to be patient with your imperfections in Episode 519, 5 Minute Friday.

Subscribe on iTunesStitcher RadioGoogle Play or TuneIn.

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How to Link From Your Content to Build Leads and Connections

Whenever we create digital content, we reference other web pages, either for further reading or to give a credit. In most cases, we link out in order to create better content and provide the reader with more information on the subject.

But did you know that links can provide further value for your business? If you approach it strategically, linking out can actually bring leads and business contacts. Here are a few ways to achieve more by linking out to external sources:

Related: Why Your Content Marketing Is Failing and How to Fix It

1. If you want those links clicked, phrase them accordingly.

A call to action is an instruction to your audience, guiding them towards your goal conversion. Usually calls to action are designed in the form of a button that stands out on your page in order to trigger some type of an action.

A text link can be an effective call to action as well, provoking an immediate response from your reader. It's obvious that if you want your site readers to do something, you'll get better results if you tell them exactly what to do. Whenever you want your page visitor to read further, it may be a good idea to word your link exactly that way -- "Click here to read further."

2. Keep your links descriptive for usability and accessibility purposes.

While a link that says "click here" can be a good action trigger encouraging your readers to actually click, it's a poor way to word your links from usability and accessibility standpoint. In order for "click here" links to make sense, your readers will have to read the surrounding text to put the link into context. This process requires more effort, both in terms of eye movements and mental processing.

Related: 6 SEO Strategies That Are Hurting Your Online Business

As for accessibility, visually impaired users of your site who use screen readers to navigate your web page will have even more trouble with "click here" links because they will make no sense to them. That being said, there are lots of ways to accommodate both goals of getting people to click and complying with usability and accessibility standards. Here are a few ways to word your links to achieve both:

  • "Click here to read more about ..."
  • "Click here to download the full guide ..."

On top of that, a text link can trigger an opt-in form -- which actually makes it a valid lead generating call to action. These types of lead generation opt-ins are referred to as "two step," and they can be easily built with OptinMonster Wordpress plugin.

3. Link out for relationship building purposes.

Linking to a person is one of the best ways to become friends with them. People love being referenced by other writers, and they usually show up to thank, provide more details and share your piece with their community.

There are a few tricks to turn your linking practices into a relationship building tactic:

  • Reference niche influencers who are active and responsive on social media. These people are more likely to engage with you after you let them know you linked to their content.
  • Use social media tagging to let those influencers know that you referenced them.
  • If you link for relationship building purposes, keep your links as descriptive as you can. Include the author's name, book title, Twitter handle, etc. Many niche influencers use tools to monitor their brand name mentions, so your mention will get noticed. Read about citation tips in a research paper; include "Last Name, First Name. Page Title. Website Title."

Linking out for relationship building is probably only possible for content focused sites (blogs and online magazines). Ecommerce linking is a bit different. But if you have a blog section on your ecommerce website, the tactic will work for you too.

Related: How Real Marketers Create Backlinks That Matter

While links work great for reinforcing your calls-to-action and building relationships with niche influencers, their primary goal is to add value to your content. Always keep that in mind when linking out from your content.

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Need to Think Clearly? Try Talking to Yourself in the Third Person.

“Rose doesn’t like that.” “Rose will fix this.” If I were to talk like this, especially to myself, it might seem a little nutty. But there might be a good reason to start -- especially if I ever found myself in a stressful situation where I needed to think clearly.  

In a recent study, professors from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan conducted two experiments to find out the effects that self-talk in third person can have on an individual’s mood and emotions. And guess what? Talking to yourself in third person can actually help to regulate your emotions and reduce stress. 

Related: Want Your Team to Collaborate More? The Answer Is Surprisingly Simple.

In the first experiment, participants were presented neutral and disturbing images, and asked to share their feelings in first and third person. By measuring a participant’s neural activity while they shared their reactions, researchers found that people who used their name rather than “I” were less reactive to disturbing images and showed more control over their emotions. In a dramatic example, people who spoke in third person showed less fear when they were presented an image of a man holding a gun to someone’s head.

As an added benefit, third person self talk requires no extra mental effort, compared to other forms of self control. “This bodes well for using third-person self-talk as an on-the-spot strategy for regulating one’s emotions,” explains Jason Moser, MSU associate professor of psychology, “as many other forms of emotion regulation, such as mindfulness and thinking on the bright side, require considerable thought and effort.”

Related: 3 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Spot Liars in Your Emails

The second study also proved this to be true. By measuring the brain activity of participants when they were asked to recall personal painful experiences from their pasts, researchers again found that people who spoke in third person had less negative brain activity and better emotional regulation.

So, how can the simple swap of a name do the trick? Speaking to yourself in third person gets you to think from another standpoint, helping to detach you from a situation. “Essentially, we think referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others,” says Moser. “That helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions.”

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