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Adding resistance bands to at-home workouts growing East Coast fitness trend

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Sara Ericsson

COVID-19 threw a wrench into much of 2020 and shifted the world, including gym spaces, to our homes.

With this shift came at-home working and working out, with anyone looking to maintain fitness having to do so within their own walls. This time seems to have also spurred interest in different workouts and fitness tools, with Google data showing resistance bands were the most-Googled exercise tool in 2020.

Data shows interest in resistance bands – essentially, elastic bands commonly used for strength training – peaked in March and April, which coincides with the pandemic’s first wave in Canada.

It’s something Nova Scotia-based personal trainer Rick Horsman says makes perfect sense for a couple of reasons: first, because the tool is easily accessible and plastered across social media, and secondly, because it’s easy to add to any at-home workout.

“Gym gear is very expensive but you can spend very little on resistance bands and get a great workout at home,” he says.


Denee Gallant Ramsay led virtual gym classes over Zoom when her Rustico gym, Eternal Fitness, was shut down during the first wave of COVID-19. She says many of those workouts included resistance bands, thanks to their versatility and affordable prices. - Contributed
Denee Gallant Ramsay led virtual gym classes over Zoom when her Rustico gym, Eternal Fitness, was shut down during the first wave of COVID-19. She says many of those workouts included resistance bands, thanks to their versatility and affordable prices. – Contributed

An affordable option

Horsman doesn’t remember a time when resistance bands weren’t a part of the workout scene and he says they’ve been around for all of his 14 years in the fitness industry.

Horsman is the personal training and resistance training leader representative for the Nova Scotia Fitness Association and also runs his Rick My Trainer fitness studio in Cole Harbour, where many of his classes incorporate resistance bands.

“Resistance bands are great mainly because they are accessible, affordable, and versatile,” he says.

The tool is one that many other trainers incorporate into their personal and class workouts, in a variety of ways. Prince Edward Island gym owner Denee Gallant Ramsay used resistance bands in her live virtual classes over Zoom when her Eternal Fitness gym in Rustico was closed during the pandemic’s first wave.

Gallant Ramsay, whose fitness classes provide individualized programming in group settings, says resistance bands provided a simple and effective solution to at-home workouts and allowed these classes to still be individualized, with each person using their band in different ways.

“These bands are the best bang for your buck. They are convenient and cheaper than other gym equipment,” she says. “These mean you don’t need a bunch of weights to get different resistances.”

Who can use them?

Resistance bands come in different sizes, shapes, and levels of resistance, with each being intended for different skill sets and uses. Horsman says common types include loop bands and tube bands with handles. Others, like heavy-duty monster bands, are more of a niche category.

Gallant Ramsay says this range means there is a resistance band for everyone and every ability, meaning they can be used to assist an athlete attempting a pull-up or a senior in physiotherapy or rehabilitation, and are great for all ages.

“There are bands with very light resistance, which can be used by seniors or individuals who maybe have an injury and need a light resistance. As long as you keep proper technique and body positioning, anybody can use them,” she says.

Other common uses for loop and tube resistance bands include leg and glute workouts, or bicep curls. Horsman says that with the variety of bands comes a variety of workout possibilities, meaning band users should take some time and research different routines that might work for them.

“Generally, it’s a low-impact and potentially low-intensity alternative for the general public,” he says.


At the start of the pandemic, East Coast residents began searching for ways to use resistance bands in at-home workouts. - RF Stock
At the start of the pandemic, East Coast residents began searching for ways to use resistance bands in at-home workouts. – RF Stock

Not the only solution

Horsman says resistance bands are a tool that can be very gentle or really tough, depending on how they’re used. This is why he says it’s key to research routines before attempting them.

The personal trainer also cautions against using resistance bands as a single tool in fitness, as using any one exercise without combining it with others can have serious ramifications.

“You don’t build your house with only a hammer,” says Horsman.

Roy Sullivan is the owner of Reps Fitness gym in St. John’s, N.L., and says he recommends people view resistance bands as a great compliment to their existing fitness regime, as the tool should be one of many elements incorporated into a workout.

“If someone biked all the time, it’s a very one-directional view of working out. We should also walk, jog, row, ski – you’ve got to mix it up and keep your body guessing,” he says.

Sullivan says the only major drawback of resistance bands is how the tool becomes more resistant as it is used, meaning the further someone pulls a resistance band, the harder they have to pull. Sullivan says this increased resistance can lead to asymmetrical muscle growth.

“If I have a resistance band and I do a standing bicep curl, and curl it towards my shoulder, the resistance gets stronger as my arm goes up – it’s not consistent throughout the entire movement,” says Sullivan.

Fitness and pandemic

Whether it’s a workout that includes resistance bands or not, Gallant Ramsay says finding a routine that you enjoy is vital to maintaining a fitness routine.

“Fitness is about longevity, so find something you enjoy, whether it’s dance, workout videos, or one-on-one personal training sessions through Zoom,” she says. “If you don’t like it, you’re not going to do it.”

Horsman says a fitness routine can be a great way to help control or get rid of stress, which he says many people are likely facing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. He says the added benefit of finding a workout regime and sticking to it can also give someone a feeling of accomplishment.

“People feel better mentally, their blood pressure is often regulated and their stress goes away. The mental health benefits of working out is probably the most beneficial part,” he says.

Sullivan says this boost to a person’s mental health is the least-recognized but most important aspect of a fitness routine. The feedback he hears from his gym members of how their workout routines have helped them manage their stress during the pandemic proves that a routine – and one that includes resistance bands – is a little thing that could help people in a big way.

“Fitness gives you mental clarity and improves your mental health. This is what is most important, especially during these COVID-19 times,” he says.

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Source: – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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New photos reveal more details about Google’s Pixel 9 Pro Fold

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Google’s secret new line of Pixel 9 phones isn’t that big of a secret anymore. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) released new photos of the phones including the Pixel 9 Pro Fold from almost every conceivable angle.

Android Authority found the photos in the NCC archives and uploaded galleries of each of the four phones including the Pixel 9, 9 Pro, 9 Pro XL and 9 Pro Fold. They reveal some interesting details about the new Pixel phones.

The charging rates will be a little faster than the last generation of Pixel phones: Taiwanese authorities measured 24.12W for the base model, 25.20W for the Pro and 32.67W for the 9 Pro XL. The Pixel 9 Pro Fold, however, was the slowest of all of them at 20.25W. These numbers don’t often match up perfectly with the advertised ratings, so expect Google to be promoting higher numbers at its event.

Speaking of chargers, it looks like Google needed a bigger charger to power its new phones. Photos included in the NCC leak show each phone will come with a wall charger that’s around 45W depending on which model you purchase. The charger’s plug moved from the middle to the top of the brick.

The Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold can fully unfold.
NCC/Android Authority

The latest photo dump also shows the 9 Pro Fold unfolded for the first time. Google has moved the selfie camera to the inside screen for a wider field of view. The 9 Pro Fold also has a slimmer top and bottom, a reduced fold crease on the display and a full 180 degree unfolding angle to make a screen that’s just over 250mm or just under 10 inches.

These photos are the latest in a very long list of leaks of Google Pixel 9 photos. The last Pixel 9 leak came down yesterday showing two prototype models of the base and XL models. Google might look into buying a new combination lock for the high school locker where they apparently keep all their unreleased gear.

 

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Apple Wallet now supports Canada’s Presto card, with Express Transit

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Apple Wallet now supports the Presto transit card used in Ontario, Canada. The card can be used for travel in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

The digital version of the card includes the Express Transit Pass feature, meaning that you can tap in and out without having to authenticate …

 

Ontario’s Presto card

The Presto contactless smart card system was first trialled back in 2007, and started the full rollout in 2009. The card can be used across 11 different transit systems in the areas covered.

Apple Wallet support was first promised many years ago, but things went quiet until a “coming soon” announcement back in May of this year.

Although the contactless terminals allow the use of credit and debit cards for regular fares, a Presto card is needed for monthly passes and discounted travel.

Apple Wallet support now available

The company made the announcement today.

Tap to ride with PRESTO on iPhone and Apple Watch.

Traveling around town just got easy with your PRESTO in Apple Wallet. With Express Mode, you don’t need to wake or unlock your iPhone or Apple Watch or open any apps to use PRESTO in Apple Wallet. Just hold your device near the reader to pay and go.

Ride, even when your iPhone needs a charge

If your iPhone needs a charge, PRESTO Card in Apple Wallet will still work. Power Reserve provides up to five hours of support, so you can still ride.

Reload on the go. 

With your PRESTO card on your iPhone and Apple Watch, you can easily load funds, right from Apple Wallet or PRESTO App. No need to visit a customer service outlet.

Extra security. Built right in 

PRESTO in Apple Wallet can take full advantage of the privacy and security features built into iPhone and Apple Watch. Your PRESTO card is stored on the device, which means Apple does not see when you use it—helping keep your data private and secure.

If you lose your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can use the Find My app to lock and help locate the device and suspend your PRESTO card or remotely erase the device and its cards.

Mobile Syrup reports that you can choose between adding your existing card to your Wallet, or creating a new one.

There are two ways to add a Presto card to Apple Wallet. You can either buy a new card or move your old one over using the Presto app.

That being said, for simplicity’s sake, unless you have a discounted Presto agreement like a student or senior plan, I think most riders will be happy just making a new card in Apple Wallet and loading funds from that app.

As with any digital card or pass, you can use either your iPhone or Apple Watch, but because each generates a unique virtual card number, you need to use the same device at both ends of your journey.

Express Transit feature

To minimize delays, Presto offers Express Transit support. This means that you don’t need to authenticate using Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone, and you don’t need to double-tap the side button on your Apple Watch. Simply hold your device close to the pad and you’re good (a number of clues are used to detect fraudulent use).

Express Transit also has the advantage that it continues to work in Low Power mode, so you’ll still be able to complete your journey even if your phone or Watch is almost dead.

Image: Presto

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The OnePlus Pad 2 Wants to Be the iPad Air of Android Tablets

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The original OnePlus Pad was a decent all-around Android tablet, but it was not amazing in any one area. Now, OnePlus is back with a new tablet device that packs more power, has a better screen, more speakers, and a higher starting price. OnePlus offers an Android tablet alternative that costs less than the latest iPad Airs, though it seems like it’s hewing very close to the rendition from 2023. 

The OnePlus Pad 2 is a one-size-fits-all 12.1-inch 3K tablet. At $550 for 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, it’s $70 more than the first OnePlus Pad, though it starts with more memory and twice as much internal storage as the first go around’s paltry 128 GB. It’s bigger than the 11.6 LCD on last year’s Pad, though now it’s beefed its resolution to 3K (3000 x 2120) with a stated 600 nits typical and 900 nits peak brightness. It has a variable refresh rate between 30 and 144 Hz, though it’s still an LCD screen, the same as the 2023 OnePlus Pad.

Just like last year’s version, the new Pad supports Dolby Atmos, but it boasts a six-stereo speaker configuration on either side of the device. It may not be as specifically sound-tailored as the Lenovo Tab Plus, but what’s promised is a solid middle ground. 

Last year’s tablet used MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU, which was good enough for most applications but not exactly top of its class. The Pad 2 is now powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chip. Gizmodo has already experienced some of the chip’s capabilities in Samsung’s latest foldables, and already it’s very promising. We haven’t yet had the chance to compare a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 tablet to Apple’s latest iPad Air with M2, though on the whole, M2 usually performs better than Qualcomm’s mobile chips in bare benchmark tests. How much that matters depends on what programs you expect to use on your tablet. 

Image: OnePlus

Every device maker thinks they need AI to compete, and OnePlus isn’t an outlier here. There are promised “AI Toolbox” features like AI text-to-speech and recording summaries. The AI Eraser 2.0 will also work like Google’s Magic Eraser to remove unwanted photo elements. 

There’s a new $99 OnePlus Stylo 2 and a $150 Oneplus Smart Keyboard to accompany the new tablet. Despite the size and price difference, there will be many similarities between last year’s and the 2024 model. The Pad 2 has the same 9,510 mAh battery as last year’s, plus the 67W “SUPERVOOC” fast charging. It promises 43 days of standby time, though in our experience, the first Pad’s lifespan and promised “one-month standby life” was far more modest in practice, lasting most of the day before needing a recharge. 

With a bigger screen, the upcoming Pad 2 is slightly heavier than last year’s rendition. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, so it’s exactly between the 11- and 13-inch iPad Airs or slightly more than the base 11-inch Galaxy Tab S9 (and far less than the humongous Tab S9 Ultra). It will be relatively thin at 6.49 mm, but it’s not beating the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm or the iPad Pro 13-inch’s holy grail 5.1 mm.

The first OnePlus Pad didn’t exactly break new ground in any one category, though it did show Android tablets had legs. We’ve seen attempts from Goole and its Pixel Tablet, though that, too, wasn’t the pioneer of Android tablets. A better chip and more speakers do seem promising, though, in its effort to be everything to everyone, we’ll need to see if it manages to stand out in any area.

The OnePlus Pad 2 is now available for preorder. It should be available on the OnePlus website starting July 30 and on Amazon starting August.

 

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