Gyroscope : A beautiful health dashboard

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Gyroscope app

Did you know your iPhone knows exactly how many steps you take daily? And that it can list which locations you visit through the day? It also measures how many floors you climbed, your walking distance, and if you have installed health apps, it will also begin to collect heart rate data, blood pressure and even your health records.

The downside is that all of it is inside the Health app, which is as sexy and usable as a spreadsheet!

How do we unlock and get insights from the data?

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Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability

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In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.

It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.

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Avoiding the Modern Plague of Noise Pollution

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Noisy aircraft and highway traffic. What could happen?

Noise pollution characterizes modern society: busy highways and railroads, bad commute traffic, aggressive motorists, construction, manufacturing plants, loud TVs, vacuum cleaners and neighbours. These are numerous, pervasive, persistent and socially significant.

You probably know about the ill-effects of processed food, lack of exercise, mental fatigue, but have you thought about the long-term consequences of noise pollution?

Recent studies show the health effects:

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How To Recognize Burnout

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Burnout manifests itself with underperformance, mood disturbance, reduced motivation, stomach problems, as well as fatigue, anxiety and depression.

It is seen in serious athletes training with high volumes and intensity with little recovery aka overtraining. It’s also experienced by various workers going through chronic life stresses and monotony: stressful job, divorce, kids, bills, nerve-wracking projects, little sense of self-worth etc.

What seemed like an easy task previously requires enormous efforts. Often, there’s psychological breakdown.

Recognizing burnout lets you stay away from injuries or pass the tipping point. This can mean extended years enjoying your work, exercise and family. A well-balanced person wants to recognize early symptoms, which lead to the question:

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Cancer : Working Against the “Bad Luck”

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In my personal opinion, cancer is the worst type of disease.

I remember a friend who was diagnosed cancer. She was your typical urban geek : front-end programmer at a popular tech startup, lover of yoga, non-smoker, vegan and commuting by bike to work.

She is the kind of hip person you see around the latest bio-vegan-gluten-free coffee shop. You think they’d keep forever their slim waists and healthy composure.

Yet the worst came.

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Quieting Down the Phone

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In the past year, I have dramatically decreased my social media and smartphone usage.

When I used to check the facebook frontpage multiple times per hour, I haven’t see it in four months. I used to post “interesting articles” on Twitter at least three times per day. As you can see, the only posts are automated links to this site. I used to like dozens of Instagram pics every day, going from hashtag to hashtag, in the hope of boosting my profile.

This is the same for WhatsApp, WeChat, emails and phone calls. Text me, and I would send a witty reply in seconds.

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The Science of Sleep and Creativity

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Digital painting by Cyril Rolando

Studies link poor sleep with poor health : higher risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and poor immune system. It’s also associated with poor mental health: sleep deprivation disturbs emotional regulation and increases anxiety. It also leads to unhealthy weight gain, poor food intake and increased risk for metabolic diseases.

Good health simply means good sleep. Read more on this.

There is still research however on how sleep is linked to creativity. How can sleep helps us think of new ideas, perceive the world in new ways, or generate solutions to new problems?

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Meditating for balance

Meditation can reduce psychological stress as well strengthen our immune system

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Chances are that you live in a big city with a demanding job, with requests from “customers” and bosses. Your friends and family need attention. You might stress about your health. Worse, there is this thing called the Internet that throws emails, social media notifications as well all sorts of news and trends at you. Look, new shoes to buy. Hey, look at what Trump said yesterday. Oh, new video from my favourite Youtuber. And should I go to this popular event posted on Eventbrite? I’ve had so many Facebook messages about it. Let’s open another tab to check the news!

As a result, the mind jumps from thought to thought all the time. We all treat it like a dustbin to throw in all the requests from the modern world. Every single day.

Few actually realize that this “dustbin” has a limited capacity. When you put too much, it overflows. It will impact your physical health, drive your cortisol and adrenal glands through the roof. This means symptoms of burn out, mental stress or depression years later.

Along with a good diet, rest and physical activity, meditation can help.

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Apple Watch as a health tracker : 6 months review

How does the Apple Watch compare to other devices as a health and fitness tracker?

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Tracking exercise, calories and standing hours with the Apple Watch

I had and used the Apple Watch series 1 for six months before writing this review. I don’t have any relationship with Apple so I consider this as a fair review.

In summary, the Apple Watch opens up exciting opportunities for health tracking for most of us. It’s beautiful, integrates nicely with the Apple ecosystem, and can be augmented in powerful ways with third-party apps.

The Apple Watch is not by any means perfect. There are devices with more functionalities. But it might just be good enough if you are planning to track your overall health and activity.

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