Fitspiration On Social Media: Is It Helping Or Hurting Your Health Goals?

Social media and health goals.

Social media and health goals.Pexels.com

The hashtag #Fitspo is often seen on Instagram posts touting exercise, healthy living and clean food. It’s popular among celebrities, athletes, lifestyle gurus and people who are marketing their particular brand of ‘good for you’ products and services. The images that accompany #Fitspo are, as one might expect, of fit and healthy people doing fit and healthy things.

The question is; is this really inspirational or does it sabotage the average person as they work towards their own health goals? It seems as if the results are decidedly mixed.

Health related social content can impact viewers’ dispositions about weight

One study has shown that people who were exposed to fitness related social media content were increasingly concerned with their own weight. This concern was aggravated when subjects were exposed to posts of people they perceived to be fitter than they were. According to Dr Anand Thakkar, Chief MD at Chicago Weight Loss Clinic, “more staggering was the fact that this effect was seen even when the nature of the fitness related posts were positive and encouraged healthy lifestyles. If it is well managed, this could be the motivation for viewers of such post to adopt healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to weight and fitness.”

Interestingly enough, this happened less frequently when the viewer perceived the poster as being at a higher fitness level than themselves. Instead, it was more likely for negative thoughts to occur among people who saw themselves at a similar fitness level to the individual making the fitness related post.

[“source=forbes]

Is AI Technology Taking Over the World?

It’s no surprise that AI technology is slowly taking over all aspects of daily life, all around the world. According to The Guardian, almost 80 million jobs in the United States could be automated within the next decade. Although a step forward in technology, companies might start to cut down on their workforce to introduce more automated labor.

From everyday tasks to automating manual labor, AI technology is no force to be reckoned with. According to Forbes, almost 80% of enterprises all over the world use AI technology in production. Leading the AI domination is Asia-Pacific (48%), North America (39%) and Europe (31%).

Almost 95% of business leaders predict that AI will have some sort of impact on human jobs, maybe even the overall productivity of a company by 2030. There are many companies out there that have invested AI technology or are looking to expand on that idea. Let’s take a closer look how some of these companies implement this technology.

Amazon

Amazon (AMZN – Free Report) is always innovating and creating, and it’s no stranger to AI. The company uses a flywheel approach, which helps to keep innovation flowing and allows it to spread to other areas of the company. This approach allows different areas of the company to use the technology. According to Forbes, what is used in one part of the company impacts innovation throughout all of Amazon, hence acting as a catalyst for AI and other machine related technology.

Amazon was one of the first companies to implement AI technology and they have seen success with it. Amazon currently has three products that are powered by AI technology: Alexa, the Amazon Go store, and the Amazon recommendation engine. Through these three different aspects, Amazon has created a well put-together customer experience, mainly using AI technology. Even though each one of the products is part of a different division in the company, they are all able to work together to implement the technology sufficiently.

Google

Having acquired 14 AI startups over the past four years, Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL – Free Report) is a clear leader with AI technology. The company’s largest acquisition of $600 million was U.K. based company Deep Mind. Alphabet has its own research and development branch dedicated to its AI applications called Google AI. The AI branch focuses on conducting research to find the best ways to implement AI to different apps and making it accessible to everyone.

At Google’s recent I/O conference, the company announced several new AI services including Google Duplex (part of Google Assistant) and many new updates to Gmail, Photos and Maps. What intrigued people the most was the company’s announcement on AI technology used with Google Duplex. Recently, Google has rolled out the software to Pixel users. According to Business Insider, with Duplex, users will be one step closer to never having to make a phone call themselves to book an appointment.

Volkswagen

When we think about AI technology, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be associated with Alexa or products and services like that. In a press release from the beginning of this year, Volkswagen (VLKAY – Free Report) announced that it would be working with Aurora, a leading self-driving system company to introduce machine learning and AI technology in Volkswagen Group’s vehicles. Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer, stated in the company’s press release that working with Aurora will give Volkswagen a giant leap forward to become the world’s leading provider of sustainable mobility, including self-driving vehicles.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen introduced its first concept car, a prototype of an autonomous vehicle called SEDRIC. The concept car requires no driver and can take you anywhere with the push of a button. The company has taken the first step towards the future of self-driving cars, using AI technology.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s a car company or tech giant, AI is being used all over many industries. It is already being implemented into our daily lives, so it is only a matter of time until it becomes a large part of our society. Companies are implementing and innovating new strategies one AI technology at a time.

[“source=forbes]

Retail stocks slide as CEOs fail to persuade skeptical investors that outlook is rosy

Shoppers enter Macy's department store on 'Black Friday' on November 23, 2017 in New York City.

Stephanie Keith | Getty Images
Shoppers enter Macy’s department store on ‘Black Friday’ on November 23, 2017 in New York City.

Executives at most of the major retailers were confident in recent third-quarter earnings calls that shoppers will show up at stores and online in full force this holiday season. But skeptical investors were unconvinced and sold off their shares en masse Tuesday.

Shares of Target tanked more than 10.5 percent Tuesday on the heels of its earnings report, as Kohl’s stock tumbled 9.2 percent, Ross Stores fell 9.4 percent, and Lowe’s fell nearly 6 percent. Their lackluster earnings reports also drove the shares of other companies such as Under Armour, Tapestry and Home Depot into the red.

Best Buy was the one major retailer that saw its shares climb for the day, closing up more than 2 percent, after its quarterly earnings and sales topped Street expectations. The electronics retailer’s stock stumbled by nearly 2 percent earlier in the day, falling with much of the companies included in the S&P 500 Retail ETF. The index of retail stocks fell 3.3 percent Tuesday and 11.4 percent over the last eight trading days.

“Everything we are seeing about the consumer is very positive,” Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said on a call with reporters Tuesday. “The consumer is in great shape, there is no doubt.”

Holiday sales are expected to grow near 5 percent this year. Low unemployment in the U.S., coupled with rising wages, are giving companies such as Macy’s and Walmart confidence to predict they’ll sell more this year than in past holiday seasons. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said there is“momentum in the business as we execute our plan and benefit from a favorable economic environment,” according to a statement posted on its web site after it reported earnings last week.

Target CEO Brian Cornell mirrored Joly and McMillon, telling reporters on a conference call Tuesday that consumer spending is still strong.

“There is no indicator as we sit here today that the consumer environment is slowing as we enter the holiday season,” Cornell said.

He raved about the U.S. economy earlier this year, saying it was one of the best he’d ever seen in his career.

The only problem I can find with retail right now is the stock market: Kniffen

The only problem I can find with retail right now is the stock market: Kniffen   13 Hours Ago | 04:23

Still, investors aren’t cheering the news. They’re paying closer attention to pressures on profits. While Target’s third-quarter sales were up, its earnings slightly missed the mark. And Kohl’s beat analysts’ quarterly expectations, but its full-year profit outlook was on the low end of Wall Street forecasts.

“I think there has been some skittishness around retail,” KeyBanc analyst Ed Yruma told CNBC. “Like, is this as good as it gets?”

Investors are starting to look past the holiday season and are already thinking about 2019, he added. There’s the threat of new tariffs on Chinese goods going into place next year, along with predictions the economy may cool and force consumers to pull back on spending. Retailers, meanwhile, are still expected to invest in their websites and mobile apps to keep pace with Amazon and other major e-commerce brands.

“You grow online … you’re going to have some expense structure against your margin because you’re doing things,” Jan Kniffen, CEO of consulting firm J Rogers Kniffen WWE, told CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “That’s a problem with the group, whether you’re Macy’s or Walmart or Target … You’re having some expenses go up because of all the great online business you’re doing, but that’s what you have to do to grow.”

Spending online is predicted to climb more than 14 percent this holiday season, compared with growth of 2.7 percent at bricks-and-mortar retailers. But the majority of retail sales in the U.S., nearly 90 percent, still takes place at stores, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Looking past the holidays, the first and second quarters for retailers across the board should be “pretty good,” Kniffen said. But, “at some point the tax law effects start to slow down, and we’ll start to see that in the business.”

[“source=cnbc”]

New fitness guidelines hope to motivate Americans to exercise: ‘There is always day one’

Story image for Fitness & Exercise news from Fox 59

A report released Monday shows less than one-third of Americans meet new physical fitness guidelines. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The failure to meet the requirements leads to 10 percent of all premature death. That’s why they’re pushing an updated message of move more, sit less.

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar II, released this message:

“Today, about half of all American adults—117 million people—have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Yet nearly 80 percent of adults are not meeting the key guidelines.”

Now, we get it. It’s hard to find time to work out. For Jeremy York, who works to find time to work out each week, he said everybody’s busy.

“You’ve got so much going on with work, but you’ve got to carve out time to get some health and fitness activities in,” said York.

But, what if new updated requirements said your new goal should be 22 minutes.

“How can you be more active in 22 minutes of your day?” said Melanie Roberts with the National Institute for Fitness and Sport.

That’s right, 22 minutes a day. For the first time in a decade, the federal government is updating recommendations for physical activity for adults and children. Roberts is on board with this idea.

“Maybe that builds into 25 minutes a day, and maybe that builds into a more solid routine. We want exercise to become a habit,” said Roberts.

This 118 page report is a push to send home a message. It includes several new science-based guidelines for exercise and its benefits:

  • Additional health benefits related to brain health, additional cancer sites, and fall-related injuries;
  • Immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep;
  • Further benefits among older adults and people with additional chronic conditions;
  • Risks of sedentary behavior and their relationship with physical activity;
  • Guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years);
  • Tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active.

Roberts added one of the most important parts of exercise is to understand the short and long term benefits.

“So that might be thinking more clearly, sleeping better, that immediate effect that exercise gives you and that turns into the long-term benefits of your decreased risk for diabetes, dementia, cancers.”

Children younger than six years old were also included on the report for the first time.

“Over the last decade we’ve noticed they struggle more taking a lap around our track and their struggling with activity into their day,” said Roberts.

The report is now calling on youth sports leaders, along with employers and the medical care industry to motivate people to get healthy.

York, when not at the gym, works in human resources. He said, “Find times to work out during the day, after work and even provide kinds of rewards or motivations.”

According to the guidelines, the lack of physical activity is linked to $117 billion in annual health care costs. To check out the full Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, click here.

[“source=forbes]