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Peloton bringing its digital at-home workouts to Canada

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If you’ve joined the cult of Soul Cycle, you know. If you’ve pledged your life to Lagree, you know. And if you’ve found divine intervention at CrossFit, you know that working out regularly can be a religious-like experience.

The proof comes from Casper ter Kuile, a researcher at Harvard Divinity School and executive director at On Being’s Impact Lab, who found a third of Americans under 30 with no religious affiliations still seek elements of the experience. His 2015 study, “How We Gather,” focuses in on open and spiritually-minded millennials who find meaning in the absence of religion. It just so happens, that one of the most surprising places they do that is at their exercise classes.

“People come because they want to lose weight or gain muscle strength, but they stay for the community,” ter Kuile told Vox. “It’s really the relationships that keep them coming back,” he says. But what if there was a way to get the health benefits from a class, and still feel like you’re part of something greater without ever leaving your home? Would that be enough to disrupt the industry? According to Peloton CEO and founder, John Foley, it is.

Like many top-performing businesses, Peloton started with a gap in the market. “My wife and I wanted the product,” says Foley. The need was specific: access to instructor-led group fitness like they had loved 10 years ago, before having kids and less time to hit up their favourite boutique classes. They were hardly the only ones. “People used to buy stationary bikes or treadmills or indoor skiing machines, and they just didn’t work,” says Foley. “It was lonely in your basement. There was no instructor, there was no community, there was no software, content or music.” And so, the idea was born.

“We thought, ‘Could you build a technology platform so that you could consume those classes at home on your schedule, at your location, at your convenience?’” says Foley, of the beginning. “Whether it’s boot camp, indoor cycling, any style of instructor-led group class, the things that make it fun weren’t available in the home offering — until Peloton.” Peloton bikes are the only at-home bike designed to stream live classes produced by Emmy Award-winning producers favoured by Ellen DeGeneres to Kate Hudson and Hugh Jackman, that effectively turns your space into a live spin studio. “This generation is time crunched, and we still want great fitness, but we want it in a more efficient manner,” says Foley of Peloton, which officially launches in Canada on Wednesday.

But as for that religious-like experience of being part of something bigger than ourselves ter Kuile says we’re seeking, that’s seemingly more difficult to build. To do so would require somehow building a strong social connection — and virtually. “People say, ‘You’re at home, you’re missing out on the energy of the other people,’” says Foley. “It’s actually the opposite.” We bring in the energy and the motivation of thousands of people doing the class at the same time with you. You can see them, interact with them, high-five them, video chat with them, you can race against them,” he says. “You don’t feel alone in your basement.”

Instructors also play a key part in engaging riders. In addition to calling out individual riders’ successes during class, the instructors also set the tone for making the classes feel like a safe space. “As an instructor, I allow myself to be vulnerable enough to share my story of struggle and success,” Cody Rigsby says. “The visibility allows our members to see that they are not alone. As they become more comfortable, they start to share their journey and find support along with accountability in one another by connecting through social media,” he says.

While Peloton may be the hottest digital workout on the market right now, it’s hardly the only one. Trainerize, which has been likened to the Tinder of the fitness world, is an online platform that connects trainers with clients. “I feel like it’s the new wave for online coaching,” says trainer Jon Vlahogiannakos. “Instead of just giving people a PDF or an excel sheet, Trainerize covers all the bases with calendars, scheduling, video and a messaging portal,” he says. Vlahogiannakos, who has 36 clients currently using Trainerize, stays in regular contact with all through the app. “If anyone ever has questions, I’m always available through the messaging portal. For those who have a tough time with their own schedules, I’ll input the workouts into their calendars for them.” The company has its own ideas for building community. “Trainerize has introduced a group section,” Vlahogiannakos says. “People can feed off each other,” he says of the new space that allows users to swap tips and recipes and encourage each other.

It comes as no surprise then that as the options for great fitness online have become more efficient, so has the ability to track and share goals, results and health data. Devices such as the Apple Watch provide holistic overviews of your health, and the latest Series 4 has the ability to monitor heart rate and even take an ECG. “As a trainer, for me it’s more than just a workout, I’m coaching and empowering my clients to manage their health to live their best life,” says Barry’s Boot camp and Nike master trainer Eva Redpath. “From activity sharing competitions, auto-workout detection, advanced running features, the watch helps my clients stay connected, be more active and manage their health in powerful new ways.”

The goal, Redpath says, is to close daily activity rings, specifically tailored to users’ activities. “Now, I can actually see and track clients’ work as opposed to their interpretation of what they actually did. This information helps me truly customize their training program, and modify based on their progress and goals,” she explains. “I love that I get notifications in real time that they’ve completed a workout, so that I can cheer them on or push them harder,” Redpath says. “We’re on a health and fitness journey together every step of the way,” she says. “It’s not a quick fix; it’s a long-term tool.”

Correction — Oct. 16, 2018: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly said the Peloton bike live stream classes were produced by Emmy Award-winning NBC sports producers. In fact, the producers came from different television networks.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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