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The future of health and wellness is here—and it can be found in Las Vegas.
As the tech industry descends on Sin City this week for the Consumer Electronic Show (CES)—the world's largest tech trade show—so does all the super cool, mind-boggling, thought-this-was-never-possible gadgets. From industry tycoons to hometown startups, hundreds of thousands flock to Las Vegas for a glimpse into the future. But it’s not all about luxury electric cars and smart TVs. Some of the best tech we saw is in the healthcare and wellness space.
With CES badge in hand, I hit the hotels and convention center to get a sneak peek into the future of fitness and wellness, and all I have to say is “what the wow?!” Here are some of the coolest trends and products I’ve seen over the last few days. Viva Las Vegas—the only place where tech really talks.
Catching your Zzz’s is no longer about your typical memory foam. The new age of sleep is here, and it’s just the beginning of a better nights snooze. Nokia unveiled its latest health product, Nokia Sleep. Coming out in the first quarter of this year, the Wi-Fi enabled Nokia Sleep mattress pad uses an “advanced” center to monitor your sleep cycles. Did we mention it can also control the lights and thermostat in your bed? Talk about pure (affordable) bedroom bliss.
Sleep Number also stepped up their mattress game as they unveiled a Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed™ in a truly dreamy booth space. Using two air chambers inside its mattress to contour to the individual, their smart beds measure and adjust the height to prevent snoring so you can drift into a deep sleep via their Sensing SleepIQ® biometrics. A mattress that uses technology to eliminate snoring? Can we get a heck ya!? I tested it out, and it was crazy comfortable—or maybe it just felt nice to get a moment of shut-eye amongst the CES madness.
CES wasn’t all about mattress technology, though. A French startup introduced Dreem—a sleeping headband that you wear overnight. Available now, the headband not only measures your brain waves and heart rate, but it learns your sleep patterns to help you fall into a sweet slumber. Equipped with breathing techniques and meditation inspired sound-based programs, this OM-amazing sleep gear will help you stock up on that shuteye!
Your basic faucet, that cabinet mirror, a typical toilet—the days of traditional bathroom components are long gone. I discovered bathroom technology that I didn’t even know I wanted at CES. Kohler’s® mega booth was a big CES attraction, as they introduced Kohler Konnect™. The line of smart home products is geared towards technologically-driven, experience-focused bathroom products. Kohler’s Verada® Voice Lighted Mirror easily made it to the top of the list. Featuring a built-in Amazon Alexa component, hands-free light control, and a motion-sensing night light, this mirror will redefine your routine. Don’t just take your face washing or makeup routine to the next level. How about your whole life? Ask Alexa to play music, stream the news, and do household chores before you even brush your teeth.
Simplehuman—best known for their trash cans—showed us a whole new side to their brand with smart mirrors. Designed to help you optimize your look, these mirrors enable you to see yourself in an entirely new (digital) light. Featuring a “tru-lux” light system simulating natural light, The Wi-Fi Wide-View Sensor Mirror also has the wide view side paneled smart mirror, which enables you to look at yourself from any angle while accessing smart features like your lighting presets. Oh, and it has 10x magnification detail for close-up eyebrow tweezing. Don’t look too closely at your pores though! I made that mistake.
Dominated by wearable tech, the fitness space at CES was full of fresh, new finds. From “E-Skin” to Health Tags, how you workout is now about how you wear this tech trend. We are instant fans of Spire Health Tags. Featuring a small piece of tracking technology, you can apply the tags to any item of your clothing. Plus, you don’t need to worry about washing the Spire Health Tag—it’s meant to live in the clothes you wear most. Ah, so that’s why there was a lot of bras and underwear at the booth. Spire keeps you completed connected—monitoring activity, sleep quality, heart rate, breathing patterns and stress.
Japanese startup Xenoma upped their smart clothing game with a comic book-style smart shirt—featuring E-Skin technology—which they released last year at the electronic show. Imagine your torso area being turned into a motion controller, so your movements act as a software inputs for games. Now their technology is sleeker and redefined. Not only will you look like a superhero, but the futuristic shirts for him/her also contain 14 sensors and a running mini-game that is just the right amount of silly. While the running game graphics need some work, Xenoma’s E-Skin was altogether fascinating, tapping into my usually dormant nerdy side. So who’s ready to suit up and sweat it out ?
Stylish smartwatches were everywhere at CES. High-end watch brand Skagen blended technology with fashion in their flashy booth. Despite all the smart styles, Falster took the prize. With the full touchscreen interface, the Falster is a round-screen smartwatch featuring an always-on AMOLED screen, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, and is powered by Android Wear. Launching later this month, I enjoyed the simple and sleek design. Plus, I can choose a mesh or leather straps. Talk about #trending.
For us fashion focused, higher-end, brand-loving tech people, Kate Spade New York flexed their tech muscles with the Kate Spade New York Scallop Touchscreen Smartwatch. Keeping their classic scallop design identity, the tech is good—1.19-inch AMOLED display, ambient light sensor, Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. But what stood out was the watch’s fashion-forward, interactive design. Using an app, you can customize the round watch’s face to compliment your outfit. Day or night, the color of your jewelry, hues of your clothes, the watch will suggest six different faces that work with your look. There’s also a fun component to the face—like a winking eye—which fits the Kate Spade brand. Smartwatches are no longer built to be basic, that’s for sure.
Idaho start-up Black Box VR made quite a splash at CES when they unveiled their full-body workout in the form of a 30-minute virtual reality experience. Complete with a cable-based, strength-training workout machine and a HTC Vive headset, you can get your beast mode on via video game. Currently, the experience involves a virtual arena where you compete against an avatar, and in the future, one another. I waited a while to check out the tech—thanks, news stations—but I was finally able to try a real-life two-minute chest press demo, headset and all. The overall gist? Each chest press shoots out fireballs at the avatar, as the weight you are pulling increases per rep. But yes, you are correct—I was defeating a villain while working on my fitness.
With plans to open a boutique gym in San Francisco, CA later this year, Black Box VR blends mythical with muscle in a gamified environment. I mean, who doesn’t love a virtual crowd of fans cheering you on?
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.