Enjoy Your Holiday Treats And Stay On Track With Your Fitness With Noom

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Well, we are finally in the swing of things guys. The holidays are officially here. Thanksgiving came and went like a flash. But what won’t go in a flash is the big ole meal you ate on Thanksgiving. And the same is true with all the Holiday Treats that are coming in the coming weeks.

Nobody wants to starve themselves on a special occasion. Those Holiday Treats are too appealing to pass up. But it can do a real number to your physical fitness if you’re not careful. It can be hard to lose those few pounds you put on. You’ll need a little help to shed those pounds. Luckily, help is available.

There is nothing wrong with having to reach out and ask for help. We’re not all wellness coaches or trainers, knowing the exact ways to get our bodies into shape. And even then, it isn’t always simple. Everyone is different and can use different techniques that won’t work for the person next to them.

That is why if you need help, you need help that understands how to help each person individually. And that help exists with the fitness app Noom. Noom is a fitness app that knows full well that everyone is different and needs help in specific ways. All of that is obvious right from the jump.

As soon as you sign up for Noom, you will see how personalized it is. You have to take a pretty detailed test that helps the team understand who you are and what your needs are. So when the test is done, you will get results that offer you workout and diet routines to hit the fitness goals you set out for.

Now, there may be some blind spots in any test. Some element in your life that affects how you can do these routines. This is why you need a slightly more personal and human touch. And that is where the on-call wellness coaches at Noom come into play.

Holiday Treats
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Whenever you need help with some routine that is giving you a problem, you can reach out to the wellness coaches on Noom. The personalized nature of this feature means that you can have someone specifically cater a routine to you. No more broad stroke advice. Everything is aimed at you.

There’s help in other areas on Noom too. Personalized help from real live human beings. And that help can be found in the community of other Noom users. Others who have gone/are going through what you are. So when you need a pick me up, these users can give you the emotional boost you need.

If you are using the app and don’t need such personalized help, there are

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Best fitness tracker for Cyber Monday: track steps, activity, sleep and cardio

Looking to get fit in 2020? The best fitness tracker (aka a fitness band, aka “those things you wear that count your steps”) is a decent place to start, especially if you’re trying to stick to New Year resolutions, even though it’s only autumn. Fitness trackers are not expensive but the best Cyber Monday deals brought the prices down even further. 

• Shop the best cheap Fitbit deals on right now. 

With the market extremely well established there really is something for everyone in terms of prices, from around £20 to £200+, with products that do little more than count steps and ‘track sleep’, with varying degrees of inaccuracy, all the way up to devices with heart-rate tracking that are more like scaled down running watches.

After many years of doing very little beyond counting steps, makers of trackers and bands are now realising that many consumers want more useful feedback on how fit they are and how to get fitter. They are addressing this with, it must be said, ‘varying’ degrees of success. Or, if you’re less diplomatic, not much success.

To cut a long story short, if you’re interested in fitness, my strong advice is to get a running watch instead. The term ‘running watch’ is just shorthand – they’re fitness watches that also useful when cycling, hiking, at the gym and even, in a few cases, swimming. 

However, if you must have a Fitbit or similar, get the new Charge 4 or one of their more versatile watches such as the Versa 2. 

But what is the best fitness tracker?

Okay, it’s a Fitbit. Quite hard deciding which, as they are so similar in terms of functionality but at present we rank them like this:

Fitbit Charge 4: best fitness tracker overall. Finally, Fitbit has given runners, HIIT workout heroes and anyone who likes more intense exercise what they want. There’s GPS to track outdoor activity, improved pulse monitoring accuracy and a new points system that rewards SWEAT. 

Fitbit Versa 2: best fitness tracker with smartwatch elements. With fairly good pulse tracking, Alexa, and an excellent app, this is a good fitness band made just big enough to incorporate a smartwatch-style screen and functionality. No GPS built in but you can tap into your phone’s.

Fitbit Versa Lite: best cheap fitness tracker and easily good enough for most people.

Garmin Vivoactive 4: best fitness tracker made by someone other than Fitbit. with built-in GPS, tracking of more intense workouts and impressive accuracy, this is obviously the device that the Charge 4 was built to take on. The look and feel of it, plus the social and app elements are a bit crappier, however.

Fitbit’s app, social network and general ecosystem are just by far the best. Seriously, it’s not even close. Garmin’s new, tightened-up app is a step in the right direction in some ways, but it’s still too sprawling, because it’s designed to be for everyone from 10,000-steps-per-day mums to elite triathletes. 

One

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Best fitness tracker for Black Friday: track steps, activity, sleep and cardio

Looking to get fit in 2020? The best fitness tracker (aka a fitness band, aka “those things you wear that count your steps”) is a decent place to start, especially if you’re trying to stick to New Year resolutions, even though it’s only autumn. Fitness trackers are not expensive but the best Black Friday deals and best Cyber Monday deals. 

• Shop the best cheap Fitbit deals on right now. 

With the market extremely well established there really is something for everyone in terms of prices, from around £20 to £200+, with products that do little more than count steps and ‘track sleep’, with varying degrees of inaccuracy, all the way up to devices with heart-rate tracking that are more like scaled down running watches.

After many years of doing very little beyond counting steps, makers of trackers and bands are now realising that many consumers want more useful feedback on how fit they are and how to get fitter. They are addressing this with, it must be said, ‘varying’ degrees of success. Or, if you’re less diplomatic, not much success.

To cut a long story short, if you’re interested in fitness, my strong advice is to get a running watch instead. The term ‘running watch’ is just shorthand – they’re fitness watches that also useful when cycling, hiking, at the gym and even, in a few cases, swimming. 

However, if you must have a Fitbit or similar, get the new Charge 4 or one of their more versatile watches such as the Versa 2. 

But what is the best fitness tracker?

Okay, it’s a Fitbit. Quite hard deciding which, as they are so similar in terms of functionality but at present we rank them like this:

Fitbit Charge 4: best fitness tracker overall. Finally, Fitbit has given runners, HIIT workout heroes and anyone who likes more intense exercise what they want. There’s GPS to track outdoor activity, improved pulse monitoring accuracy and a new points system that rewards SWEAT. 

Fitbit Versa 2: best fitness tracker with smartwatch elements. With fairly good pulse tracking, Alexa, and an excellent app, this is a good fitness band made just big enough to incorporate a smartwatch-style screen and functionality. No GPS built in but you can tap into your phone’s.

Fitbit Versa Lite: best cheap fitness tracker and easily good enough for most people.

Garmin Vivoactive 4: best fitness tracker made by someone other than Fitbit. with built-in GPS, tracking of more intense workouts and impressive accuracy, this is obviously the device that the Charge 4 was built to take on. The look and feel of it, plus the social and app elements are a bit crappier, however.

Fitbit’s app, social network and general ecosystem are just by far the best. Seriously, it’s not even close. Garmin’s new, tightened-up app is a step in the right direction in some ways, but it’s still too sprawling, because it’s designed to be for everyone from 10,000-steps-per-day mums to elite triathletes. 

One outlier

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Grave-counting satellite images seek to track Yemen’s COVID death toll

LONDON (Reuters) – A first-of-its-kind study using satellite images to count fresh graves and analyse burial activity in Yemen has estimated the death toll there from COVID-19 or COVID-related causes is far higher than official government figures suggest.

Using high-resolution satellite imagery, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) analysed burial activity at all identifiable cemeteries in Yemen’s Aden region and calculated an estimated 2,100 “excess deaths” during the COVID-19 outbreak between April and September.

“This total is best interpreted as the net sum of deaths due to COVID-19 infection and deaths indirectly attributable to the pandemic,” they said. The indirect deaths would be those caused by disruptions to health services or by measures which may have caused problems accessing food, they added.

Humanitarian and global health experts had expected the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Yemen to be severe, not least because the country’s five-year conflict has disrupted already weak health services and led to overcrowding, food insecurity and shrinking humanitarian aid.

But as of 25 October 2020, Yemen, which reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case on April 10, had recorded only 2,064 infections with 600 deaths from the disease.

No comment was immediately available from Yemen authorities on the satellite estimates but the internationally recognised government has said previously that it reports figures daily for areas under its control and nothing is hidden.

Francesco Checchi, who co-led the study, noted that having an accurate picture of COVID-19’s impact “is vital for effective government and humanitarian responses”.

“By estimating excess mortality, we aimed to develop a more accurate estimate of the toll of COVID-19 in Yemen,” he said.

The researchers, whose findings have yet to be peer-reviewed by other experts, also cited other material as supporting their estimates.

In May, videos posted on social media and information from informants reported high numbers of fresh graves, suggesting a spike in burial activity, they said, adding: “The use of mechanical excavators in place of human gravediggers suggested that demand exceeded routine capacity.”

During the same period, the global medical charity Médecins sans Frontières reported a peak in hospital admissions, with a very high case-fatality ratio, and media said a shortage of personal protective equipment had forced several hospitals to close or reject patients with COVID-19-like symptoms.

The research, funded by aid from the UK government, was led by LSHTM and the technology company Satellite Applications Catapult, which specialises in geospatial analysis.

The researchers said they are now conducting a similar study in Mogadishu, Somalia.

“Though our method cannot distinguish direct from indirect virus deaths, estimating excess mortality attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic in a humanitarian setting captures the whole system impact,” said Emilie Koum Besson, who co-led the work.

Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Giles Elgood

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AstraZeneca, J&J vaccine trials back on track in US

Two major clinical trials for experimental Covid-19 vaccines got back on track in the United States Friday — providing a glimmer of hope as the number of cases skyrocket across the country.

Covid-19 has now killed more than 223,000 Americans, and the health crisis is a top issue in the presidential election pitting incumbent Donald Trump against Joe Biden.

AstraZeneca announced that the trial of its vaccine candidate, developed with Britain’s University of Oxford, has resumed in the US, the only country where it remained suspended following a participant’s illness six weeks ago.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today authorized the restart in the US, following the resumption of trials in other countries in recent weeks,” the drugmaker said.

The trial was suspended worldwide on September 6, but resumed shortly thereafter in Britain, and in the following weeks in South Africa, Brazil and Japan, with authorities determining the illness was not apparently linked to the vaccine.

“The FDA reviewed all safety data from trials globally and concluded it was safe to resume the trial,” AstraZeneca said.

The company added it was hoping to have results later this year, “depending on the rate of infection within the communities where the clinical trials are being conducted.”

The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine project is one of the most promising and advanced in the world to combat the global pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of 1.1 million people.

It is one of 10 vaccine candidates being tested on tens of thousands of people in so-called phase 3 trials.

In the United States, the two top candidates vying to get a green light from the FDA are those made by Pfizer and Moderna. Both expect to request approval next month.

Many countries are counting on using the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to inoculate their populations. 

The drugmaker pre-sold hundreds of millions of doses on several continents, and signed partnership deals with other producers to ensure the doses could be made locally.

– ‘No evidence’ vaccine to blame –

Shortly after AstraZeneca’s announcement, Johnson & Johnson said it was preparing to resume recruitment for its parallel trial, which was suspended last week after a volunteer fell ill.

“After a thorough evaluation of a serious medical event experienced by one study participant, no clear cause has been identified,” the group said in a statement.

“The company has found no evidence that the vaccine candidate caused the event.”

Just before Friday’s announcements, a top US official involved with Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine initiative, said he expected the J&J trial to resume quickly.

Paul Mango, from the US Department of Health and Human Services, also said he expected the country to have enough doses on hand to vaccinate the “most vulnerable” Americans before year’s end.

“By the end of January, we believe we’ll be able to vaccinate all seniors,” Mango said, adding that by March or April, “we believe we’ll be able to vaccinate any American who desires a vaccination.”

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WHO’s Tedros Says Countries on ‘Dangerous Track’ in Pandemic | Top News

GENEVA (Reuters) – The world is now at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic and some countries are on a dangerous path, facing the prospect of health services collapsing under the strain, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

“We are at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Northern hemisphere,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track.”

“We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again. As I said it in February and I’m repeating it today: This is not a drill.”

Tedros said too many countries were now seeing an exponential increase in infections, “and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close or above capacity — and we’re still only in October”.

He said countries should take action to limit the spread of the virus quickly. Improving testing, tracing of contacts of those infected and isolation of those at risk of spreading the virus would enable countries to avoid mandatory lockdowns.

(Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Track your dog’s fitness with this Fitbit for your pet

The idea of an activity monitor for humans is pretty old news now, but if you’ve ever wondered just how your pet pooch matches up, then a pet activity monitor could be just what you need. 



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Of course, it’s more than just about curiosity – pet activity trackers are a great way to monitor your pet’s health, especially if you’re not the only one in charge of walkies.

With the PawFit 2 pet tracker, you can monitor your pet’s movements in the form of steps, distance covered, calories burned, active and rest hours and best of all, it can all be personalised for your pet’s age, breed and weight.

Perhaps your pooch has put on a few pounds during lockdown (who hasn’t), using a tracker like this can help you establish exactly how much activity they’re doing and adjust their diet accordingly. If you leave your furry friend alone, you can also see how much activity they’re getting up to while you’re out of the house. 

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The PawFit 2 is easy to attach to your dog’s collar, but crucially, it’s harder to detach thanks to a secure lock. It’s well-suited to all kinds of activities, and is also designed to withstand all weather conditions, too. 

Not only is the PawFit excellent for monitoring activity, though. It’s also great for putting your mind at rest – there’s a temperature alert, a removal alert and a “virtual fence” which means that if your pet wanders outside of a customisable “safety zone”, you’ll also be alerted. 

You can record a voice message for the device which can be played by strangers if they should happen across your escaped pooch, too. Not that you should need it, as you’ll always be able to locate your pet quickly with real-tip GPS plus light and sound tracking – great for those with a flight-risk tendency.

Pawfit has a battery which can last up to 7 days of regular use (it’s impacted by GPS and cellular signal strength). An app (Pawfit Walk) which is compatible with iOS or Android can be downloaded which gives you a range of functions including the ability to start and stop a walk at specific time, note down where and when they stop to drink and eat, take photos and videos during a walk to keep a complete record of their walks and the ability to share your walks with friends and other Pawfit users. 

You can pick up the Pawfit 2 directly from the Pawfit website, complete with an 18 month warranty and 30 day money-back guarantee. It’s also available to buy on Amazon.



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Wastewater coronavirus testing helps scientists around the world track outbreaks

Elsewhere in the world, countries have been expanding their use of sewage sampling. Here are some of their key findings.

Canada

Every morning at 5, a group of scientists in Ottawa receives samples of the previous day’s sewage to test for traces of the coronavirus in wastewater pooled from “over a million souls,” said Alex MacKenzie, a senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute.

MacKenzie is part of a team at CHEO and the University of Ottawa that piloted the program, which Ottawa’s public health department uses to provide daily reports on the coronavirus’s spread. In early October, MacKenzie’s team reported that concentrations of the virus in the area’s wastewater had doubled in the past month and increased tenfold since June.

Other cities and provinces across Canada, as well as several universities, are watching sewage systems for signs of the virus.

Such testing provides crucial information at little cost, MacKenzie said. Each sample costs only several hundred dollars and gives a reliable snapshot of the big picture, and there are few privacy concerns because the tests do not detect individual infections.

“There’s a general realization that we should be doing this as much as possible,” he said.

The model could have applications for vulnerable populations, he said, such as those living in homeless shelters, prisons and elder-care homes, if plumbing systems in buildings or apartment blocks were frequently tested.

While many countries and cities test wastewater for virus RNA, MacKenzie said his team is also looking for the protein that surrounds the genetic matter. The virus’s RNA, he said, “is a fragile beast,” while the protein is sturdier and could provide an even more accurate picture of the virus’s spread.

Netherlands

In early February, over a month before the global pandemic was declared, scientists from the Dutch KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein began periodically testing sewage samples from seven cities and one airport, according to a paper they published in July. Initial tests came back negative. But on March 5, Dutch scientists detected the coronavirus in wastewater at a treatment plant in the city of Amersfoort, about 32 miles southeast of Amsterdam. Weeks later, Amersfoort’s first case of the virus was confirmed.

Since March, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has been taking weekly samples from sewage systems across the country. As in the first study, researchers were able to detect small traces of the virus before cases or outbreaks were confirmed. While the program began with a few dozen sites, since Sept. 7 the institute has been testing systematically each of the country’s more than 300 sewage treatment centers, according to its website.

Hong Kong

During the 2003 SARS outbreak, researchers in Hong Kong were puzzled by the question of how the virus had infected hundreds of people in a 33-story apartment building. Their conclusion: SARS, a coronavirus related to the one causing covid-19, had probably aerosolized and spread through the plumbing system. Scientists narrowed in on a patient zero, who had diarrhea in

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The Most Influential Men in Fitness: Track Mafia’s Cory Wharton-Malcolm

Track Mafia isn’t a running club – it’s a community. “People don’t just come for the exercise. They come for friendship,” says founder Cory Wharton-Malcolm, “Beefy” to his friends and followers. “At Track Mafia, you’ll meet chefs, illustrators, hospital workers, CEOs, TfL workers… Everyone has a common purpose.” On Thursday nights at Paddington Rec’s athletics track, there is no hierarchy. It’s free, and novices train alongside pros.



a man wearing sunglasses: “Beefy” as he's better known talks about how he went from barely being able to jog to head coach (and voice) for the Nike Run Club app


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“Beefy” as he’s better known talks about how he went from barely being able to jog to head coach (and voice) for the Nike Run Club app

Groups such as Track Mafia and Run Dem Crew, for which Wharton-Malcolm has also worked, have changed the face of recreational running. It’s been said that the sport attracts a narrow demographic – slim, middle class, white. These crews are the antidote: a home for those who don’t fit the profile, but take their running no less seriously.

When Wharton-Malcolm took up running in preparation for joining the 2007 London Marathon, he could barely jog to the bottom of his road without gassing out. “My friends laughed and said, ‘You’re fat, you smoke, you eat kebabs. How do you plan to do this?’”

They’re probably not laughing now. Today, as well as fronting Track Mafia, Wharton-Malcolm is a head coach (and voice) for the Nike Run Club app, which during lockdown became the fourth most popular app in the UK. He has acted as a speaker in parliament and Buckingham Palace, talking about how sports can be used to engage young people, strengthen communities and reduce antisocial behaviour.

Championing inclusivity remains his MO, including opening up new pathways into top-tier jobs. “I think a lot of organisations feel, ‘If this person wasn’t taught the way I was taught, then they’re not for us. We’ll have to spend too much time showing them how to do things our way.’ But don’t you want to learn how to do things their way, too?”

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