#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed

The GOQii activity and fitness band pushes you to take that extra step thanks to unique features like one-on-one coaching, the ability to contribute to social causes, on-ground fitness events, and web chats with nutrition and health experts.

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I hopped on to the fitness bandwagon (pun intended 😉 ) sometime in December 2015 when I was gifted a FitBit. Prior to that, I had been tracking using apps like Armour, MyFitnessPal and, of course, Apple Health. I have since become that much more obsessed about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and what not after I started wearing the band. But I recently put my FitBit away to check out another piece of wearable tech — the GOQii. I imagined that I would get back to the FitBit within a few weeks of testing the GOQii. But here I am, three months down the line, still wearing and enjoying the features of the GOQii. Read on to know more about this fitness band that offers a host of interesting and motivational features.

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GOQii in the Power Black variation

A fitness band like no other

I’m not going to get into a review that compares the GOQii to other fitness trackers. That’s because the GOQii is so much more than just a fitness-tracking device. If you browse through the 2016 list of best fitness trackers, you’ll notice that most of the new devices offer a heart rate monitor, while a select few come with GPS functionality. The GOQii offers neither of these features, and it’s safe to say that you won’t even miss them. After all, it’s easy to get caught up with all that data crunching when you start tracking. But the thing about the GOQii is that it lets you immerse yourself in the world of numbers while gently pushing you to change your lifestyle with exciting initiatives.

But first, a little background on the company and the passionate people behind the GOQii band.

GOQii is headquartered in California and has offices in Mumbai and Shenzhen. The company was formed as a collaboration between some of the world’s leading experts who believe that a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is not too difficult to attain. Indian entrepreneur Vishal Gondal (ex-founder of gaming company Indiagames) is the founder and CEO of GOQii. Vishal, who has for a very long time been obsessed about tracking his health and fitness data, says that he experienced the lack of a ‘human’ touch when it came to other wearable tech products. And, that’s how GOQii was born.

Even the company investors are incredibly passionate about fitness. Madhuri Dixit-Nene is one among the list of investors who remain passionate about utilising technology to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. The teams who run the company — from nutrition and fitness experts right up to the tech guys — are just as ardently passionate. But more on this later. Continue reading “#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed”

Review: Garmin Vivofit

Garmin VivofitWe need wearable devices now more than ever. Our fast-paced lifestyles and disproportionate work-life balance has left us with little or no time to work on our wellbeing. We need a device to remind us that our fitness levels are far from fine, and our sleep just about enough. This is why you may have noticed some sort of wearable device strapped on the wrists of a growing number of people; men in well-cut suits included. As much as you might have a high level of disdain for such seemingly unnecessary gadgets, they are, in actual fact, just what the doctor ordered. And before you dismiss this as some sort of corny fitness discourse, one that will con you into wearing a bulky device on your wrist, you should know that there is a new breed of smart wearables hitting the market as you read this. The FitBit has been around for a while and, thankfully, bears no resemblance to some of the hideous smart devices available today. And now there’s the Garmin Vivofit, an equally effective option. Continue reading “Review: Garmin Vivofit”

Workouts for the workplace

Stairway to fitness heaven
Stairway to fitness heaven

Let your workout run into your office hours with this handy exercise guide

Desk jobs and the entire 9-to-5 routine can really take a toll on your body and mind. Add to this those daily fast-food lunches and late dinners and you’ve got all the ingredients for a burnout.

It is crucial to exercise in order to combat the adverse effects of sedentary jobs. But if you are unable to drag yourself out for a walk, jog or post-work gym session, you can incorporate these exercises and easy activities into your workday to remain on top on things. While this set of exercises might not exactly turn you into the epitome of fitness, we highly recommend them in addition to regular workouts, especially if you are a cubicle-bound employee.

Head over to Polka Cafe to read this story in its entirety.

Tried-and-tested Super Asanas

Source: By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Source: By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been regularly practicing yoga after an exceptionally long break. I’ve always loved it, especially the focus that each asana brings during the session and the mental clarity and energy that sticks with me all day long. Strangely, I had never managed to sustain my interest in yoga since the time I started practicing it, which was roughly eight years ago. So I’m really quite happy with this bit of progress that’s happening right now.

Everyone has a favourite yoga pose. I’ve come to realise that I particularly enjoy a mix of the standing and reclining asanas. I feel great after doing each one of them, and sometimes—when I don’t have too much time—I perform just these poses, or, what I like to call Super Asanas. If your excuse for not practising yoga has been lack of time, I’d highly recommend doing just these. You just need to try it to experience the bliss. Here are the Super Asanas that are sure to give you a host of immediate as well as long-term benefits.

Dhanurasana

Also known as the Bow pose, this asana is great if you want to tone your legs, strengthen your tummy muscles, beat stress, open up your chest, neck and shoulders, and add flexibility to your back. Even though I find this particular asana more difficult to perform than most of the other asanas, I still make sure to incorporate it into my daily yoga session. I especially love that feeling when the front of my thighs get stretched as well as that relaxing stretch on my middle and lower back.

Trikonasana

This asana, also known as the Triangle pose, has got to be my favourite! Unlike most asanas, one needs to keep their eyes open for this one. I love how it completely stretches my thighs, hamstrings, sides, shoulders, calves, groin and hips. And, with the my eyes fixed on the different movements (your eyes need to follow the tips of your fingers), I find it to be one of the best stress relievers! After doing 5 sets on each side, you’ll feel energised, focused, balanced and ready to take on the biggest challenges of the day.

Janusirasana

This head-to-knee pose is one of the best ways to stretch your leg, back and arm muscles. I try to hold this pose for five minutes for each leg. I’ve noticed that the more I practice it with a calm mind, the easier it becomes. As the days go by, my ability to hold this pose for a longer time without much muscle tugs, pulls or quivers, has improved. I also try to incorporate Janusirasana during my cool-down session, especially after a heavy leg workout. It’s an excellent way to allow your muscles to relax and cool off after exercising, besides making you more flexible. Don’t forget to exhale as your head touches your knee.

Utkatasana

Even though Utkatasana, also known as the Chair Pose, might look simple, it is actually a tad challenging. But its benefits run high! I love any exercise that involves focussing on a distant point. I’ve found that sitting in an ‘imaginary’ chair has helped to improve my concentration and awareness, along with strengthening my thigh muscles and lengthening my back. Do a few rounds of this asana and you’ll also notice that your posture improves to a great extent.

Surya Namaskar

Performed as a salutation to the sun, this practice is, in actual fact, a combination of asana and pranayama (breathing). I like to try and do at least 25 Surya Namaskars every day. Yes, I know, each Surya Namaskar takes at least a minute (if not more to complete, especially when you hold each pose). And sometimes it can seem like too much of a rigorous workout to even get into. But, once I’m done I can’t help but think about how amazing it makes me feel.

My flexibility has improved greatly as has my stamina because it’s much like a cardio workout (expect a bucket load of sweat). I’ve read that it helps every organ in the body to function to its optimum, besides purifying blood, improving blood circulation and the functioning of nerve centres. I like to start off with 10 sets, holding each of the 12 postures for as long as I can. I practice the next 15 using fluid and dynamic movements.

Shavasana

This asana takes me back to my college days when I first started practising yoga. I can’t, for the life of me, believe that I attended the 7 am yoga class at the Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai! Even today, it’s hard to imagine myself performing a series of contortions at such an early hour. Anyway, by the end of the class, after performing Shavasana, the sleepy-headed me used to enter such a heightened state of relaxation that I almost always fell off to sleep!

Jokes aside, Shavasana—generally performed as the last asana—is much like a cool-down of sorts and has the practitioner lying on his or her back while releasing all forms of muscular tension. There’s not a day when I don’t practice it now (minus the nodding off bit, of course). Whether I’ve done 120 squats or 50 Surya Namaskars, I find that Shavasana is, perhaps, one of the best ways for my body to completely cool itself down after stretching, thereby eliminating the possibility of injuries. I also perform this asana as a pick-me-up when my energy levels are running low on certain days.

* This article is based on my personal experience. Each posture is best explained by your yoga instructor, after consulting with your doctor, should you suffer from any disorders.