Face gyms. Pills that mimic the benefits of exercise. Wearables offering virtual currency rewards. Health and fitness stories dominated headlines this week. But if you’re anything like us, you found it hard to catch all the news you wanted to. Here’s our weekly roundup of the trending fitness stories you might have missed over the last few days.
Tapping into the fountain of facial youth
Our face muscles are a frequently ignored part of our daily and weekly workout routines. But that doesn’t mean they should be—at least according to Inge Theron, founder of the new boutique studio FaceGym.
FaceGym is a revolutionary take on fitness that seamlessly blends beauty and facial workouts in a group class that leaves you both super relaxed and as sore in the face as your body is after an intense workout. Along with a series of warmups and cooldowns, trainers knead and massage participating faces, or conduct laser sculpting sessions and muscle manipulation. These “cheek burpees” stimulate the muscles to enlarge and strengthen them, over time creating an appearance of healthy youth.
Studies show that facial exercises can help women maintain the youthful appearance of their skin even into the latter years, when skin typically loses collagen and elasticity. Just 30 minutes of facial exercises that include puckering and squeezing the cheeks can improve muscle tone for a firmer, fuller face, when done consistently.
The beauty journalist-turned FaceGym founder opened her first location in London in 2016 to combat the aging skin issues she was exposed to while on the job. Her flagship U.S. location opens in New York City later this year.
Making exercise an easier pill to swallow
Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day—or more, if you want to reach bigger goals—is not always an easy pill to swallow. But thanks to some new developments in the science world, it soon could be.
A drug called 516 is being touted as an “exercise in a pill.” Its fat-breakdown capabilities could mean a pill that delivers the equivalent to high-performance training, without lifting a weight or hitting the pavement. The chemical compound is currently being tested as a way to hack the workout process and burn fat rather than carbs, just as the highly-trained bodies of top-tier athletes do. The pill is attempting to trigger the same genetic circuit and process that exercise does, which makes our muscles tear and repair to become stronger.
But don’t give up your exercise routine just yet. This pill is still several trials and even more years away from being approved for human use. Experimental versions of the drug are currently being tested to help kids with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that leads to early death due to the muscles wasting away.
Whether 516 will be approved as a solution only for people unable to exercise or for widespread use remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: users should recognize that just because a pill can replace exercise doesn’t mean it comes without risk. There are plenty of studies proving that exercise reduces the risk of disease. Some high-dose trials of 516, on the other hand, caused cancer in test mice.
Working hard for your sneakers
Virtual currency is spreading like wildfire. And now, it’s also encouraging users to reach their fitness goals with a real reward to sweeten the deal: a new set of sneakers.
The sporty Aura fitness band is one of the latest takes on fitness wearables The device promises to seamlessly blend three trending spaces: wearables, wellness and virtual currency. It’s currently in its Kickstarter phase and is just a prototype, so it’s not available for use just yet.
Word has it that the Aura band will not only count your steps, but also track whatever metrics you care about most, from losing weight to gaining muscle. But don’t think you can cheat the system by inputting numbers on the sly. The Aura band’s seriously smart bioimepedance sensor will enable the wearable to “assess body composition from fat content, muscle mass and hydration levels” with an accuracy of 90%. The company is aiming for even higher accuracy as it prepares for the product’s mass release.
And because there’s nothing like a good competition between friends to keep many of us working out, the product will also connect users with a community as enthusiastic as they are. Users will be able to challenge others to “duels,” plus place bets on goals and challenges—assuming that it all complies with gambling laws, that is.