The 2020s are expected to be good for green energy. At the 2010’s end, renewables powered the equivalent of 43.5 million homes in America. Solar and wind generated tens of billions in investments and hundreds of thousands of jobs each. By 2025, the global industry for renewables is predicted to reach $1.5 trillion. If it happens, that will be incredible growth over a very short timespan.
While governments are supporting this growth, many strides are demand driven. Over 70% of Americans think clean energy should be prioritized. Half would purchase green energy for their personal consumption if given the option, and nearly all of that half would be willing to pay an average of $15 more per month for that privilege.
Climate awareness is motivating this choice; three quarters of Americans want to reduce pollution and provide a better life for future generations. On the economic side, 58% of Americans also think renewable energy will improve the economy, and nearly half think wind or solar will be cheaper than coal by 2028.
How will companies be able to fulfill demand for clean energy? The most important thing for them to invest in is batteries. Most renewable energy sources can’t be captured at all times. Solar energy has to be captured during the day, while wind energy is captured when it’s windy outside.
However, consumers use electricity during nights and still days as well. Power-generated at one time needs to be stored for when it’s needed another time. Right now, that is not happening. As of 2019, less than 5% of behind-the-meter solar systems included a battery.
So what’s been happening instead? Up until recently, net metering has been a popular practice for homeowners with solar panels. Residential solar sells excess power to their utility company on days when they generate more than they need. Utility companies dislike this system because they say it allows homeowners to use their infrastructure at no cost.
In 43 states, changes to residential solar regulations are likely to bring an end to net metering. As the practice is phased out, homeowners with solar panels will need a power storage system for their investment to be viable. In other words, they want a battery.
Batteries fill the gap for renewable energy on all fronts. Residential buildings store energy for evening use and backup power, industrial sites can reduce power waste from energy production exceeding consumption, and telecoms can have backup power at cell towers and data centers to increase data security. Everyone benefits from adding a battery to their renewable power system.
However, renewables shouldn’t just use any battery. Right now, the most popular battery type is lithium-ion. These batteries were first invented in 1912. They have not undergone drastic change in the 109 years since. Today, they fuel everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. Next year, lithium-ion batteries are expected to fuel 61% of demand.
Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries suffer from several limitations that make them a poor fit for power storage. For starters, these batteries don’t last long in terms of storage and full discharging will only result in even shorter lifespan. From a safety perspective, these batteries may also explode or catch fire while in use or after disposal.
Even worse, lithium-ion batteries are not environmentally sustainable. Both production and extraction abuse the water supply, leading to dry farms and contaminated bodies of water. Variation in materials makes recycling lithium-ion batteries a difficult, costly endeavor. Lithium-ion batteries are still the best choice for mobile applications, but they should not be used for energy storage.
Instead, green energy companies should consider vanadium flow batteries for their energy storage needs. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, vanadium flow batteries don’t degrade anywhere near as quickly. With annual maintenance, they have over 25 years of useful life, during which they can be fully charged and discharged throughout.
Vanadium flow batteries are also a safer alternative because they are non-flammable and non-explosive. Most importantly, they are a sustainable choice for batteries. 100% of electrolyte in a vanadium flow battery is reusable in a new battery. Recycled vanadium is every bit as functional as freshly mined vanadium, too. The future is not just in green energy, but green batteries as well.
Your home is where you feel the safest and most comfortable. It’s your very own sanctuary. Big investments or purchases like a house require upkeep and regular maintenance to ensure everything is in good condition.
If you’re taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment, whether by eliminating single-use plastics or opting for reusable cotton rounds, then you can go a step further and convert your home into a green space.
Building an eco-friendly home brings about many advantages for the environment and your own (e.g., increases your property’s resale value, less maintenance over time, and reduces house bills). With the wealth of resources you can find online, it’s easier to create a more efficient and greener home now more than ever.
If you’re planning to get started with this sustainable home journey, we’ve got you covered. Below are some cost-efficient tips for an eco-friendly home that will instantly upgrade your space. Let’s dive into it!
Consider shopping for pre-owned items
Conserving energy and water isn’t the only way to be environmentally-friendly. Purchasing pre-owned home items instead of new ones is also an excellent way to save Earth.
New products use virgin materials and consume more energy to build. Additionally, you’re keeping the secondhand or used items from going to the landfill. You can also ask your relatives or friends to let you know if they’re going to replace a piece of furniture to see if they could hand them down to you instead of throwing them away.
Catch rainwater for gardening
If you have a home garden and lawn, then you’ll probably agree that your water bill wouldn’t cost as much if you didn’t have one. Plants need regular watering, which requires you to use a lot of water to keep them alive. Thankfully, collecting rainwater solves this predicament.
You can get a rainwater barrel to harvest water. Leave it out when it’s about to rain, then use the collected water for your garden and lawn. Not only does this help you conserve water and reduce your bill, but it also makes your plants happy.
Invest in solar panels
One of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly is by using renewable energy like solar power through solar panel technology. In a nutshell, this technology captures sunlight and converts it into electricity.
Solar energy is free, except for the installation and purchasing of solar panels. While the initial upfront costs of installing solar panels run expensive, it can save you a significant amount of cash on your electricity bill in the long run, especially if you will rely on it one hundred percent.
Opt for environmentally-friendly appliances
If you have the money and think it’s time, swap your old home appliances with eco-friendly upgrades. Choosing energy-saving appliances may seem like an expensive move, but it will make more financial sense over time.
Energy-efficient home appliances operate and perform just as well as standard models, but they consume less energy. This green change will help lower your carbon footprint while also saving you big bucks.
Replace regular light bulbs with LED bulbs
Something as simple as switching your light bulbs with LED light bulbs will make a massive difference in the green home you’re creating. With energy-efficient light bulbs, you use less electricity and replace it less frequently since LED light bulbs last longer than your traditional bulbs. Talk about saving more money while saving mother Earth.
Plant your own herbs
Growing your own herbs is worth a try, whether you already have a garden or not. Herbs don’t take a lot of space and can survive in small pots. They are also relatively low maintenance since you can place them inside the house by a sunny window.
With this, you can make your favorite dishes tastier with fresh herbs. They smell heavenly as well, making it a big plus if you plan to grow them inside the house.
Get a recycling bin and compost bin
This upgrade doesn’t cost much, and you’ve probably started recycling already if you have long begun switching to a sustainable lifestyle. Recycling glass bottles, papers, jars, and other household items prevent these things from adding to the landfill. You can repurpose bottles for your propagations, reuse jars as containers, and turn paper into wrappers.
On the other hand, a compost bin allows you to eliminate leftovers and turn them into fertilizers for your plants. You can find compost bins designed to be neat and odor-free. It’s a fantastic way to reduce household waste.
Wrapping it up
No matter how big or small steps you take turning your home into a more eco-friendly space, your contribution will bring drastic changes to the environment and make the world a better place for future generations. Imagine if there are hundreds of people like you with the same mindset. A small upgrade like using rainwater for watering plants already makes a big difference for the environment.
How ironic is it that the species considered as the most intelligent in the entire universe is on the verge of destroying its only home. Last month several teenagers, among other people took to the streets to protest about the lack of action by political leaders on the issue of climate change. Whether people may choose to believe it or not, climate change is happening for real and is a more complex problem than it seems.
We can understand some part of the problem from the fact that a mere 16-year-old Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg had to come to the UN and enlighten the world leaders about the seriousness of the issue.
According to recent research by NASA, the leading cause of rapid change in the climate is the emission of greenhouse gases that lead to the phenomenon of global warming. As we try to look behind its roots, we find that there is a 95 percent probability that human actions in the past 50 years have warmed the planet.
This and more recent cases have shaken the world and made us realize the importance of stern measures that must be taken to combat the challenge. The climate change issue is an existential crisis, and the sooner everyone realizes it, the better it would be.
But, it’s not just strict policies that can cause an impact and save our only home. We are far more advanced than we were decades back. Thanks to all the technology that we’ve developed, we can now look beyond our planet to conduct research and study the solar system.
This technology can also be utilized to tackle the issues of climate change. One such cutting edge technology that has penetrated every sector of the economy and every other walk of life is Artificial Intelligence.
A research paper that proves this theory came into the limelight this year. Titled ‘Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning’, the paper is written by some of the pioneers of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It highlights the utility of machine learning and AI for battling the climate change crisis.
Understanding the impact of AI-powered niches like neural networks, GANs, image processing, computer vision, etc. have caused around the world, it’s a great idea to use them and find solutions for situations like global warming.
Why Not AI for Climate Change?
Until now, we have limitedly used AI’s potential to drive business growth, aid doctors in the healthcare sector or reform the travel experience. However, since the climate change issue has escalated beyond the point that we can solve it through the political wand, we need AI’s intervention to take charge. Because if we can use technology for almost everything, why can’t we use it to fight one of the scariest battles the world is witnessing?
One of the authors of the paper, David Rolnick, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, highlighted the fact that the research paper was a ‘call to arms’. The motive of the article was to bring researchers together and give a thought to the climate change problems that machine learning can contribute to.
Although physics-based models have been used in climate change predictions, they are bottom-up approaches and forecast only based on physical boundary conditions. General circular models or GCMs were developed by the numerical representation of atmospheric physical conditions.
Similarly, Earth System Models (ECMs) consider features like biochemical cycling and atmospheric chemistry. They are advanced GCM models used for current climatic studies. However, these models suffer from significant forecast uncertainties, which is why researchers began exploring neural networks and other advanced algorithms for the job.
But, those who see the disciplines of AI as a silver bullet might also be heading in the wrong direction. Artificial intelligence and machine learning need not necessarily provide an ultimate solution to the problem. But they help us see beyond the issue by offering valuable insights. Once we have the ideas at hand, both the government and the private sector can deploy cutting-edge technology and policies to drive the battle against climate change.
Artificial intelligence through ML techniques and powered devices help in the scenarios where we are uncertain and want to start a chain reaction that will approach the climate change issue in two ways. In one way, it will reduce any further deterioration of the environment.
While in the other way, it will provide futuristic solutions to improve the conditions and maybe even restore the ecosystem to a certain extent. A learning-based AI could do much more than crunching CO2 emission numbers. It could record those numbers, study causes and solutions, and ultimately recommend the best fitting solution.
With climate change happening all across the world, more and more heating and cooling systems are being put to use. They demand a ton of energy and account for half of a residential’s energy requirements. However, with smart AI-based thermostats in the picture, this issue could be approached in a better manner.
Smart thermostats automatically adjust the indoor temperature setting by analyzing external temperatures and humidity settings. Nest’s learning thermostat is an example of an AI-powered device that works on a Wi-Fi connection. The smart thermostat also uses fans whenever necessary and automatically adjust the temperature of your home depending on whether you’re at home or not.
It also tracks user behavior and learns from manual adjustments so that it’s better able to adjust temperatures. Research indicates that using smart thermostats for the home can lower energy consumption by up to 15 percent annually.
A lot of American households have large landscapes around them. In other instance, agriculture is extensively practiced in various parts of the world. All of this leads to a massive amount of water consumption. While agriculture is fundamental to life, green landscapes have their own perks.
Statistics suggest that American households use about 320 gallons of water per day, out of which 30 percent is used for maintaining these landscapes. Meanwhile, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s freshwater withdrawals.
Using a smart AI-backed irrigation system can save a significant amount of water and help conserve a part of the environment. Like other devices, they work on a wireless internet connection and stay up to date with the local weather of the area.
These devices understand when to not irrigate the lands during a downpour or after a storm. Based on the manual irrigation pattern of a user, these devices learn and suggest a schedule for optimal water usage. It can be used to maintain the desired level of moisture in the soil and help an individual conserve water to a great extent.
Pesticides not only harm the soil but also deplete it of certain essential nutrients. Moreover, the crops harnessed from such soil lacks nutrients. Artificial intelligence can be put to use in such a scenario to identify and fight specific insects without harming the others. The technology that is being commercially used in some parts of the world, uses image recognition to identify and treat harmful pests without harming the natural environment around it.
Smart Pest Controls can significantly lower the costs for a farmer and prevent the collapse of a useful colony of insects that are fundamental to the food chain and environment. Similarly, using this device can enable farmers or other concerned technicians to click a picture of a pest and upload it to find out the best treatment methods against it.
IoT Energy Meter
Energy conservation is a must for the conversation of the environment. The IoT energy meters can help track energy consumption with its smart sensors. They just need to be clamped into electrical circuits to start tracking the amount of energy being consumed.
It is easy and convenient to install in households and sends data securely over the Wi-Fi. They charge directly from circuit panels and do not require a battery. One such system is developed by Verdigris technologies.
Leading Organizations Developing AI-based Systems
Health of Forests
Forests are the most important parts of our planet, which is why their conservation is our utmost priority. SilviaTerra, an AI-powered tool developed by Microsoft, uses satellite images to predict the sizes, species, and the health of forests. This is helping to save countless hours of manual fieldwork, which now researchers can put in improving the quality of green cover on the planet.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Data Centres
No matter how powerful we consider the company Google to be, it could seldom do anything to reduce its carbon footprint. The point is that Google’s widespread services across the world call for a large number of data centers. These data centers take up a lot of energy for their cooling process, leaving a massive amount of carbon footprint in the environment.
To address this issue, Google recently collaborated with a company called DeepMind to build an AI-powered system. This new neural network-based tool could teach itself to use a bare minimum amount of energy to cool down Google’s data centers.
As a result, the tech titan was able to cut down their emissions by 40 percent. Moreover, there was also a 15 percent reduction in total power saving. Due to the general approach of the algorithm, the two companies also plan to work together on building more energy-saving applications in the future.
Self-configuring Pollution Forecasts
Unless we measure the impact of climate change, it is difficult to understand whether we’re impacting anything. A plethora of cities fail to measure their emissions, and as a result, fail to take measures to reduce them. Having said this, another tech giant IBM laid the foundation of the Green Horizon Project.
The Green Horizon Project is an artificial intelligence-based system that creates self-configuring weather and pollution forecasts. It was created with the vision to help cities become more efficient in terms of energy in today’s generation. The project found ground truth through its implementation in China, where it helped the city of Beijing reduce their average smog levels by 35 percent.
Images of Weather Events
Researchers at Cornell University created an artificial intelligence-based system to produce images before and after an extreme weather event takes place. Even though it might not sound like a problem-solving technology on its own, it is very helpful when it comes to studying the impact of climate change.
Researchers can use these images to predict the impact of certain climate changes, therefore, helping prioritize efforts towards adequate measures. The research used a niche of AI known as General Adversarial Networks (GANs) for the job. GANs are basically network-based algorithms that help in generating statistics or new pieces of information.
Energy Consumption of Commercial Buildings
Among the world’s top carbon emission contributors are commercial and industrial buildings. But with AI-based remedies, energy savings mode can be utilized. Verdigris Technologies, which developed numerous award-winning AI systems, joined forces with global electrification leader ABB. This combined Verdigris’ machine learning solution with ABB’s connected low-voltage switching fabric products.
In its entirety, the goal here was to foresee unexpected surges in power consumption for commercial buildings. It is ABB’s first energy forecasting and intelligent alerts app for building a sustainable environment that aims at reducing the energy consumption of commercial buildings between 10-20 percent.
Earth Science AI
Earth’s climate change is not just impacting the atmosphere. It is also deciding the fate of several businesses, societies, and countries. The London-based tech firm Cervest has designed an AI platform called Earth Science AI to predict the impact of climate change. The platform analyzes billions of data points to forecast how changes in the climate will impact the future of countries and individual landscapes, anywhere across the world.
The three years of research combines AI, machine learning, and statistics with modeling techniques from Earth sciences such as meteorology, hydrology, and atmosphere science. The beta version of the platform is expected to launch next year.
AI Technologies with the Potential to Fight Climate Change
Machine Learning is one of the most popular technologies under the umbrella of artificial intelligence solutions that can be used to combat climate change. It can help draw conclusions based on a plethora of data one throws at it.
Having said this, predictive analysis is one of the fundamental elements that can help in learning the existing data and forecasting results based on it. Machine learning can help generate statistical models such as regression analysis for climate change forecasting.
General Adversarial networks are gaining popularity these days. Thanks to their statistics and new information generative capabilities, they can now be used to look at what houses appear before and after a weather event takes place.
GANs can be used to generate images that depict accurate, vivid, and personalized outcomes of climate change. A better version called Cyclic GANs collects the training data to extract the mapping function in order to generate realistic images.
Neural networks are one of the best technologies that have emerged out of machine learning. They take the training data as input, whether or not they are labeled, only to learn from them and process a series of output known as trends. For example, neural networks can take the temperature data of 30 years and predict the rise and fall for the next ten years.
Deep Neural Networks or DNNs can be used for a time series analysis along with detection and rigorous classification. In spite of their great potential, DNNs have been seldom used for climate change issues. The accuracy of the best global model is found to be 97 percent using LeNet for the convolution neural networks.
Computer vision is the discipline of AI which helps computers gain a high-level understanding from digital images and videos. It automates the task performed by human vision. Computer vision can be used to analyze images obtained from satellites and send signals about any alarming situations to researchers. For example, they can look at satellite images of forests and investigate whether there is a possibility of a fire within a short time.
BIM and Parametric Estimation Algorithms
Building Information Modelling or BIMs have existed for years but are seldom used to design energy-efficient architectural marvels. Parametric design and building information modeling go hand in hand when designing buildings.
Parametric design is basically a process based on the ML algorithm that allows specific variables to be manipulated to alter the outcomes of an equation. The three-dimensional model-based technology, when powered with parametric estimation algorithms, can help build cost and energy-saving architectures.
The Two Approaches to AI
But solving any problem takes time. The insights and knowledge that we now have about climate change took more than 40 years of rigorous study. In such a long time, the human race has at least been possible to study the climate and deduce that climate change exists.
If humans put another forty or fifty years of research, who knows, we might come up with nature-friendly solutions that require less energy and resources. But the question is, with the ongoing crisis, do we have this much time left? The answer is obvious, and that’s why we need machines to do this job much faster and more accurately.
As we proceed to harness the potential of artificial intelligence for climate change, we find two different approaches that can be utilized. While one is the rules-based approach to artificial intelligence, the other is based on learning. The rules-based approach is more focused on quantitative results. For example, it can help scientists compile specific data analytics, crunch numbers, etc.
The motto of this approach is to solve simple problems with if-then statements in their code. For climate change, it can help scientists find answers to complex issues within a short span of time.
The learning-based approach is a more qualitative approach to solving a problem. It is unlike the rules-based approach that has no memory capabilities and solves problems defined by humans. Instead, the learning-based method diagnoses a problem by interacting with it.
For example, if you ask the rules-based AI for a garment, it will help you find one based on the size and preference you’ve mentioned. On the other hand, when you assign the same task to a learning-based AI, it would instead study your past purchasing patterns to find out the correct size, color, or nature of the garment you are probable to like.
For climate change, both the approaches of Artificial intelligence can serve as saviors. One can tell you about the number of carbon footprints you’ve left in a day, week, month, or a lifetime, while the other can study these to find its sources and suggest ways in which you can reduce them.
AI-Powered Initiatives for the Future
In the practical scenario, there are presently only a handful of ways where machine learning and artificial intelligence can be applied.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Predictions of Electricity Consumption
Electricity is one of the primary renewable resources of society. But, since we’re going to need even more of it with growing time, AI algorithms must be able to predict our requirements. Although some of the algorithms already exist that can forecast the electricity demand, we need improved versions of them that can help operators schedule the resources. These must be able to predict the electricity demand in real-time by taking the local weather, household behavior, etc. into account.
Finding More Sustainable Materials
There is a need to find materials that can store, harvest, and utilize energy more efficiently. When done manually, the process of finding such materials is laborious and time-consuming. However, with machine learning to the rescue, it can be accelerated and new materials with desirable designs, structure, properties, etc. can be discovered or created. For example, we could find a material that can absorb excess carbon dioxide emissions or the one that can store solar energy more efficiently.
Optimizing Transportation and Freight
Transportation and freight require a significant chunk of energy, in terms of fuel, etc. With the ever-changing destinations across the world, transportation must be able to cater to them. With machine learning, we could develop a model that studies the freight trends and find ways to bundle shipments. This can help in minimizing the overall trips and demonstrating resilience when transportation is disrupted.
Promote Electric-Vehicle Adoption
We find a lot of electric vehicles existing today than they were decades ago. But, their adoption is still a matter of concern. One of the issues that hamper adoption is battery usage. AI-based algorithms can help in increasing adoption by improving the battery management so that the vehicles can last for a longer duration with one successful charging. They can also predict overall charging behavior so that grid operators can make decisions and manage load more appropriately.
More Environment-Friendly Buildings
With intelligent control systems in the picture, we can help make the energy consumption by buildings even more efficient. For example, a smart system could analyze weather conditions, occupancy, etc. to adjust heating, cooling, ventilation etc. needed in an enclosed space. AI could also communicate with the power grid and control the supply of power depending upon the requirements. One such example of this use case is the AI platform developed by Verdigris technologies.
Better Estimates of Energy Consumption
Very few people today have an idea about their carbon footprint. When it comes to buildings, this number is close to none. Artificial intelligence-based algorithms can help estimate the energy consumption of buildings from satellite imagery, etc. and determine it for an entire town or city.
With this information, it would be more convenient to develop effective mitigation strategies and reduce greenhouse emissions on a city’s level. Moreover, with the assistance of computer vision, this method can also be utilized to maximize the efficiency of energy consumption and find out the precise footprint of a building.
Enhance Tracking of Deforestation
Deforestation results in nearly 24 percent of greenhouse emissions today. It is one of the reasons that our planet is getting warmer and warmer with each passing year. But, tackling and preventing it can be a real hassle when it is done manually. Satellite images and computer vision algorithms can together work and find out any illegal encroachment at the earliest.
The loss of tree cover can also be identified by fitting sensors in the ground that can warn the authorities of any chainsaw sounds, etc. Moreover, we can also extend this idea to drones that can monitor extensive forests or green areas and send any warning signs before something like a fire breaks out.
One of the best things about artificial intelligence is that it can help refine images and reconstruct meaning out of it. AI-backed image processing helps in finding meaningful information in images that might not be visible to the naked eye.
This approach can be extensively applied to the detection of wildfires in forest areas. Chooch AI, a San Francisco-based technology company, is currently working on the development of an artificial intelligence-based system that could decrease the time between fire upsurge and the moment it is first spotted.
The platform uses hyper-detailed imagery obtained from satellites for evidence of wildfires. These images, when refined using AI, could lead to earlier fire detection and conservation of lives and green cover.
Encourage the Idea of Precision Agriculture
No matter where you go around the globe, all you can find in terms of agriculture is one crop dominating and growing on a swath of land. Also known as a monoculture, this practice has been helping farmers exercise more control over their fields with tractors and other necessary tools.
However, monoculture is also responsible for depleting the soil of its essential nutrients and leaving it less fertile. To combat this problem, farmers use nitrogen-based fertilizers that only add to the existing carbon emissions. AI-based models can, on the other hand, help farmers identify and manage a mix of crops that regenerate the soil and reduce the need for any fertilizers.
The purpose of artificial intelligence remains to assist the human race in combating the climate change crisis. We cannot leave it on machines to come up with an all-encompassing solution to a particular problem. But, with their intervention in the existing problem, we can hope for a positive future outlook.
The only idea is to start right away and not wait for the next Amazon fire to break out or the next city to suffer from water scarcity. The sooner we realize that we might be nearing the doomsday, the faster it is for us to build models and deploy artificial intelligence disciplines to fight the battle. Maybe, we could even use AI to predict the doomsday? Only if this is what it takes to drive a response from us.
“No pain, no gain” is a famous mantra in the fitness community, but it’s important to know where to draw the line. A little soreness usually means that you’re pushing yourself and building muscle, but not all pain comes with positive results. In fact, if you don’t know how to recognize bad pain, you could be causing potentially serious injuries.
Read on to learn the difference between good and bad pain so you can feel empowered to push yourself to the limit, without crossing the threshold into harmful territories.
Why Do You Get Sore During and After Exercise?
In order to recognize good pain, you need to know why it happens in the first place. Soreness is usually caused by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This phenomenon is completely normal and usually occurs between 24 and 48 hours after strenuous physical activity, according to WebMD.
While you exercise, your muscles contract, causing microscopic tears in your muscles, as well as inflammation associated with these minor injuries. The soreness you feel after an intense workout is actually your muscles being repaired and growing back even stronger. However, if the pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days, there may be a more serious underlying injury.
How to Recognize Bad Pain
It’s important that you’re able to recognize when bad pain occurs. That way you can seek treatment, adjust your workout routine, and consider pre-and-post workout supplements that empower your body to heal faster. As a general rule of thumb, when you feel pain, it’s a good idea to back off and allow yourself to heal. This is especially important if the pain is caused by an injury.
Typically, good pain isn’t focused in one specific area, but spread out. For example, it’s normal for your legs to be aching after climbing a large flight of stairs, but if just your right ankle is in pain, that’s a sign of a strain or other injury. An immediate jolt of pain is also a bad sign, as good pain tends to manifest slowly over time. If you feel sudden pain, you should stop what you’re doing immediately.
Good pain can be unpleasant, but it’s usually fairly mild and tolerable. If the pain is overwhelming, it’s probably not caused by delayed onset muscle soreness. Shooting pain and numbness may also be signs of an injury. You should also pay especially close attention to pain in the joints, especially the shoulders, knees, and ankles.
Embrace Proper Techniques
No matter how much exercise you do in a week, it’s crucial that you take the time to learn proper techniques. Once you develop bad habits, it’s difficult to break them, so be vigilant. Make sure you always stretch and warm up before a session, and then give yourself plenty of time to cool down and rest afterward. Nourishing your body with proper nutrition between your workouts will also help in muscle recovery and reducing discomfort.
If you feel like you’re performing exercises correctly, you may want to talk to a professional trainer for advice and guidance. The potential risks just aren’t worth the rewards. Once you know that you’re exercising properly, you’ll feel much more confident and inspired to push yourself.
How to Treat Bad Pain
There’s no single best method for treating a sports injury. Everyone’s body is unique, and injuries can take countless forms. In most cases of mild injuries, simply taking a break for a few days and resting up should have you feeling better. That said, even a minor injury can lead to complications, so be sure to speak to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned.
If simply relaxing isn’t cutting it, you may want to try the PRICE method:
PRICE is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to protect the injury with a bandage, cast, or splint, stop using it, apply ice every few hours, wrap it (snug but not too tight), and keep the injured area lifted, if possible. Be sure to talk to your doctor about pain relief options if you’re struggling with pain management.
Once the injury has subsided, you may require rehabilitation. Harvard Health Publishing recommends two days of rehab for each day of inactivity due to injury. During the rehabilitation phase, your injury may be vulnerable, so it’s critical that you only perform the proper rehab exercises recommended by a qualified professional.
Prevention Is the Key to Sustainable Exercise
There’s no denying the many physical and mental health benefits of exercise. At the same time, even a minor injury can cause major complications. One injury can lead to another, causing a snowball effect that can be tough to overcome. The best approach is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
Be mindful before, during, and after each session. Over time, you’ll become more in tune with your body and how it reacts to various levels and styles of exercise. When in doubt, tap out! An extra five minutes isn’t worth months or even years of pain. Work smart so you can work hard. That’s how you keep your active lifestyle sustainable.
If you have ongoing joint pain or are dealing with arthritis, osteoporosis or other health concerns, be sure to check with your primary care doctor with any concerns prior to starting a new workout routine.
“Chakras” – if you’ve attended a yoga class, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it there. You might have even heard it in some movies or shows when they speak about the blockage or aligning of the chakras. Perhaps, someone has given you advice about working on a particular chakra. Regardless of how you were first introduced to chakras, hearing about it is a long way from knowing and understanding. Of course, you’re not the only one who may be new to this. In that case, let’s delve into the subject of chakras further.
The History Of Chakras
With the increasing popularity and awareness among the masses on yoga and philosophy, Chakras are now a familiar subject.
With its roots in the land of saints and yogis – India, chakras are a complex system of the ancient energy form. Initially, they found their mention in the Vedas (ancient holy manuscripts) several years ago.
The word ‘chakra’ denotes wheel. In Sanskrit, it is known as ‘cakra’ and it relates to the various points of energy within the body. They can be considered as the spinning disks that are the source of energy. The chakras are supposed to remain open and in alignment since they are the elements corresponding to the major organs in the body, bundles of nerves and those zones of the body that influence the physical and emotional health.
How Many Chakras Are There?
While there are some who talk about 114 chakras in number, running along your spine are 7 main ones and these chakras are the ones mostly referred to when they are mentioned.
Each of the seven chakras include a corresponding color, name, number, a particular zone of spine and focus on health.
Chakras (7 Main Energy Centres) – A Comprehensive Overview
Chakras can be called the energy centers found in the body. They are present alongside the spine within the astral body. They start from the bottom of the spine and go upwards, towards the crown part of the head.
As each chakra corresponds to the physical, emotional,spiritual, and psychological facets of the life form, it is so explained that any malfunction or blockage in these chakras may result in disorders that may be physical, emotional or psychological by nature. On the other hand, when there is a conscious awareness and these chakras are balanced, it is said to result in sound health and well-being of the individual. And so, asana practices aim towards the stimulation and balancing of these energies in the body.
The Seven Chakras – How To Balance And Stimulate Them
Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)
Muladhara Chakra or root chakra is found at the bottom of the area of the spine. It is located at the base of the spine amid anus and genitals. The color radiated by this chakra is red and the element it characterizes is the earth. The emotions of self-sufficiency, ambition, stability and survival characterize it.
When there is an imbalance of this chakra, feelings of instability, lack of any ambition or purpose, insecurity and fear and frustration emerge. On the contrary, when this particular chakra is balanced, the individual feels balanced, stable, energetic, confident, strong and independent!
The postures that work to balance this chakra are: Mountain pose or Tadasana and Tree Pose or Vrkshasana.
Swadhishthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra)
Situated along the lower abdomen, the Swadishthana Chakra represents the second chakra. Orange is the color that it radiates, characterizing the element of water. This chakra features the fundamental needs of self-worth, creativity, desires and sexuality. An imbalance in this chakra results in lack of energy, dearth of creativity, emotionally explosive feelings and obsession with thoughts that are sexual.
However, a balanced Swadhishthana Chakra may yield positive feelings coupled with intuition, compassion and satisfaction. This chakra can be worked on by the practice of the balancing asanas such as Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) and Crow Pose (Kakasana)
Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)
Seated above the area of navel, Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra characterizes the element of fire and therefore, the color radiated by this chakra is yellow. The energy and emotions of aggression, anger and ego are the features in this chakra. When there is an imbalance in this chakra, the consequences reflect physically via liver problems, digestive issues or diabetes.
It can also have the emotional reflections in the form of depression, low or no self-esteem, perfectionism and anger. Balancing of this chakra brings about energy, focus and confidence in the individual who is seen to be more productive. One can work on this chakra through asanas such as Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), and Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).
Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)
Anahata Chakra, or Heart Chakra, as so implied by the name itself, is situated in the region of the heart. It is represented by the color green and characterizes the element of air. This Chakra features the emotions such as compassion, love, passion, attachment and trust.
When there is an imbalance in this chakra, emotion-related problems such as anxiety, lack of trust, fear and jealousy, anger and so on emerge in the individual. A harmonizing of this chakra leads to feeling more optimistic, motivated,friendly, compassionate, caring and understanding. Some of the poses that help in balancing the Heart Chakra are Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setubandhasana)
Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)
This fifth Chakra is found on the base part of the throat. It is represented by the color bright blue and characterizes the element of space. The throat chakra features the ability to communicate, faith, expression and inspiration.
An imbalance in this chakra may lead to lack of expression of thoughts, weak feeling, quietness and timidity. The balance of this chakra results in positive expression of self, satisfaction and creativity. Poses such as Plough Pose (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) stimulate the throat chakra.
Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
Ajna Chakra (pronounciation – ‘Agya Chakra’) is situated amid the eyebrows. Represented by the color indigo blue, the chakra is element free. This chakra is applied often as a point of concentration or focus while practicing asanas. This is to enable greater awareness and concentration.
It has been mentioned that when one meditates on the Ajna Chakra, it lets one get rid of his past life karma while liberating him from it and provides intuitional know- how. Its characteristics include self-knowledge, understanding, intuition, insight and intelligence . An imbalance in this chakra may lead to problems of physical nature such as eye strain, blurry vision and headaches.
One might get feelings of ego or, in contrast, being non-assertive or apprehensive about success. The balancing of this chakra leads to freedom from the attachment to the materialistic aspects of the world and a fearless attitude towards death. The asana Headstand (Shirshasana) stimulates the third eye chakra.
Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra)
Situated in the crown region of the head, the Sahasrara Chakra is the seventh chakra. This particular chakra also does not characterize any element and is represented by the color white and/ or violet. This chakra is considered the core of energy, dynamic thought, enlightenment and spirituality. It paves way for the cosmic consciousness and internal surge of wisdom. When not in balance, feelings of frustration, lack of joy and destructive thoughts might manifest. This chakra can be balanced through the practice of Headstand (Shirshasana).
Yoga and the Chakras
As per spiritual science and traditional Indian medicine, the physical body is not only composed of organs, muscles and bones. Rather, there are energy layers surrounding this physical body, which are interlinked metaphysical levels that generate the electromagnetic field of the body – the aura . It has been referred to as the “spiritual body,” “etheric body”, “light body,” or also called the “subtle body”.
Yoga For The Chakras
Each of the chakras utilize yoga as a basic means to balance themselves out as the alignment is created within the physical body through this art form. The subtle body can be rebalanced by practicing the asanas or postures which help to balance the physical body and stabilize it. The chakras are, thus, realigned and the behaviour can be regulated to cope with the outdated patterns, habits and beliefs.
A Fine Balance
The regular practice of yoga is an enjoyable journey that can lead you to the path that will align your chakras. It is yoga and meditation which can help in the balancing of the physical, mental and spiritual being within. Your energy centers will get purified, thereby fostering a sound health, well-being and happy life.
On a serious note, to learn more about chakras, how to perfect them and gain their invaluable insight, you can join a yoga school in India – the birthplace of yoga. There are conducting yoga teacher training programs that will enlighten you on this subject along with other essential aspects of yoga, while also letting you gain a rewarding career in the field of teaching yoga. So, create a life changing experience through a comprehensive yoga course and look forward to a life with positivity and enthusiasm.
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung
Electriphi, a provider of charging management and fleet monitoring software for electric vehicles, has joined the scrum of startups looking to provide services to the growing number of electric vehicle fleets in the U.S.
The San Francisco-based company has just raised $3.5 million in seed funding from investors including Wireframe Ventures, the Urban Innovation Fund, and Blackhorn Ventures. Lemnos Labs and Acario Innovation also participated in the round.
“Twin Rivers Unified School District has the largest fleet of electric school buses in North America, and our ambition is to transition to a fully electric fleet in the coming years,” said Tim Shannon, transportation services director, Twin Rivers Unified School District, in a statement. “This is a significant undertaking, and we needed a trusted partner that could provide us state-of-the-art charging management and help us with data collection and monitoring.”
There are several companies pursuing this market — all with either a bit of a head start, significant corporate backers, or more capital. Existing offerings from EVConnect, GreenLots, GreenFlux, AmplyPower all compete with Electriphi.
The company is betting that the experience of co-founder, Muffi Ghadiali, a former senior director at ChargePoint who led hardware and software development for fast charging infrastructure, can sway customers. Joining Ghadiali is Sanjay Dayal, who previously worked at Agralogics, Tibco, Xamplify, Versata and Sybase .
There’s also the sheer scale of the opportunity, which is likely to see multiple companies emerge as winners.
“There are millions of public and commercial fleet vehicles in the U.S. alone that we rely on daily for transportation, delivery and services, ” said Paul Straub, managing partner, Wireframe Ventures. “Many of these are beginning to consider electrification and the opportunity is tremendous.”
Regular training provides an opportunity to strengthen the cardiovascular system, increase endurance, and keep the body in good shape. Any workout that makes the heart work in a fast mode is related to cardio loading.
Here are the best low impact workouts for your cardiovascular health:
If you like running but do not want to train outdoors in bad weather, you can head for a treadmill. It allows you to exercise in a more comfortable environment, particularly during the winter season.
Choosing a bowflex treadclimber, you will burn more calories than you would on an exercise bike, stepper, and rowing machine. If you compare the track with an elliptical trainer, there is no consensus on which one burns more calories. The figures are approximately equal.
An elliptical trainer will appeal to those who do not like running but want to burn as many calories as possible. This trainer simulates climbing stairs or skiing.
With an elliptical trainer, you can move large handrails, reducing the load on the legs and increasing the tension of the body and arms.
Some elliptical trainers can work in stepper mode.Their movements resemble stair climbing.
Compared to running on a track, the load on the joints is minimal when exercising on a stationary bike. This is one of the reasons why it’s considered a gentle and safe form of cardio even for people recovering from injuries.
However, only the lower body works on the exercise bike. The arms, shoulders, and body are devoid of even the insignificant load that falls on them while running or using simulators like the elliptical and rowing ones.
Although it looks like it provides the simplest and most natural load for the body, running is not suitable for everyone. Any person can start running, but whether he will benefit from it depends on many factors.
If you are overweight, have problems with your legs joints or have poor physical fitness, you need to be very careful when choosing a load. If you prefer running, you need to gradually increase the intensity of your training. Although running will not help you build up muscles, it can be enough to keep them in good shape.
Running at the slowest pace requires more effort than quiet cycling. This makes cycling a great start for people with poor physical fitness. Unlike running, there is no shock load on the legs while cycling. This is another pro for people who are not accustomed to serious workloads. Moreover, cycling at speeds up to 15 kilometers per hour is helpful for people with varicose veins.
Swimming is a perfect workout for overweight people and those who have problems with joints. The probability of getting injured while swimming is low since the load on the joints is minimal.
Swimming can help strengthen the legs, arms, shoulders, and back. It can strengthen your abdominal muscles, too.
Any cardio load has a positive effect on the respiratory system, but swimming definitely outperforms other sports. While swimming, exhalation is not carried out into the air, but into the water.
It’s a denser environment, which requires more effort. The swimmer needs to hold his breath for a certain time after inhalation. Due to this training, the lungs’ capacity increases and breathing becomes fuller and deeper.
This trainer simulates climbing stairs.
There are several types of steppers:
The classic compact simulator — it comes either without handrails or with two types of handrails and a display.
Balancing stepper with expanders — this enables you to turn from side to side while allowing both legs and arms to be involved in the movement.
Rotary stepper with a rotating handle — it allows you to completely rotate the body from side to side while walking.
Depending on the simulator, different muscle groups are trained.
The classic stepper mainly loads the legs muscles, calves, hips, and buttocks. The simulator with expanders, meanwhile, provides pressure on the arms and abs. It also improves your sense of balance. In addition to the legs, the rotary stepper also trains the muscles on your back, chest, and shoulders.
This is a great option for someone bored with doing cardio exercises alone.
Aerobics includes active walking, jumping, exercises for stretching, and working out different muscles on the floor. Dance aerobics can include elements of a variety of dance styles. Examples include Latin dance, mamba, hip-hop, zumba (this is just a mix of aerobics and dance) and many others, at the discretion of the coach.
Step aerobics is a popular choice as well. The exercises are performed on elevations and include active walking on the steps with tilts of the body and hand movements.
Why Cardio Training Is Important
Cardio training develops the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also improves the endurance and aerobic capabilities of a person.
Moreover, they are needed for:
Increasing the intensity of the cardiovascular system
Cardio exercises are necessary for everyone. The right choice of cardio load and the right intensity can increase aerobic performance without compromising muscle.
The Delta EcoFlow is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible claimed features. Most are true, some are not.
Device like the Delta offer incredible battery storage capacity. Designed for more than just recharging phones and tablets, these can run refrigerators, pumps, power tools and medical equipment. They’re great for emergencies, camping and general use where power is not available. Similar devices have been on the market for some years so I was eager to verify EcoFlow’s claims.
The EcoFlow Delta can recharge from a wall outlet to 80% in an hour. It’s amazing. The GoalZero Yeti battery of a similar size takes 25 hours. This capability means the Delta can be used and then reused more than competitors.
The device is currently on Kickstarter where it quickly acquired over $2 million from over 2,000 backers. The device’s features listed on the Kickstarter page are clear, but after testing a pre-production unit, I found several of these advertised capabilities and features misleading or false.
The Delta is the latest product from EcoFlow. The company’s founder, Eli Harris, says it’s “The world’s strongest battery generator.” I found the Delta to be a competent battery generator with similar capabilities to competitors but it’s hampered by loud fans.
In short, if you need a battery generator that can recharge much faster than others, the Delta is a great option. Otherwise, the GoalZero Yeti makes more sense for most people.
Battery generators are a safe and more portable option than their gas counterparts. There are no harmful fumes or fuel allowing them to be used indoors, nearer the appliances or tools. Most often (though not with the Delta) they’re silent, too, making them perfect for a camping or hunting companion.
In real-world operation, this quick recharge time could come in handy. Say, on a construction site or in an emergency incident where power is still available, but out of reach of an extension cord — situations where loud gas generators are generally used. While the Delta is louder than other battery generators, it is not as loud as a gas generator.
The Delta battery comes packaged with a warning that the battery must be fully charged before use. I generally ignore warnings, but I followed this one and immediately plugged it in. Instantly, fans whirled to life and the screen popped on displaying the current charge levels and how long it would take to get to 100%. The Delta was at 30% and would take 45 minutes to fully recharge. It worked as advertised and 45 minutes later the battery was at 100%.
Recharging the Delta battery was a noisy affair. The fans are loud and continue to run after the battery is fully charged. Compared to a GoalZero Yeti, this was a shock. The Yeti is silent where the Delta is not. I keep a Yeti 1400 in my basement, plugged in and ready to use. But with the Delta, even when the battery is fully charged, loud fans still run presumably to keep the unit cool. EcoFlow says the shelf life on the Delta is over a year where the GoalZero Yeti is six months. To me, I would rather have the battery constantly plugged into power so I know it’s ready to go when needed.
The Delta recharges without an AC power inverter (a power brick); it uses the same sort of cable as a desktop PC. The company says by passing through the inverter directly, the Delta can increase charging speed to more than 10 times the traditional AC to DC adapter cable. This also means it’s easier to replace a lost charging cable.
The Delta is much lighter than competing products and its design makes it easier to move. EcoFlow says it’s rugged, and it feels the part. Even my pre-production sample feels tough and ready to go to work. Large rubber pads keep the battery in place and the tough plastic feels more durable than competing products.
There are a handful of plugs and outlets around the device, including USB, USB-C and six AC outlets. It’s a lot and similar in capacity to large gas generators. Most battery generators have much fewer AC outlets, though I’ve often supplemented the capability with small power strips.
The Delta is currently on Kickstarter for pre-order and exceeded its goal. I fear a good amount of backers will be upset to learn several notable advertised features are false or misleading.
The Delta is not silent. Under operation, either recharging a cell phone or running a power tool, loud fans run on both sides of the battery. These fans run when recharging the battery, too — even when the battery is fully charged. The Kickstarter page and video lists throughout that the Delta produces no noise.
These fans detract from the appeal of the Delta battery. They’re loud. You have to raise your voice to speak over them. Because of these fans, I wouldn’t take the Delta camping or use it in the backyard for a quiet get-together. During power outage situations, I wouldn’t want to sleep near it. But I would use it for power tools — like EcoFlow does in one of its demo videos.
Only one of the four videos on the Kickstarter page allows potential owners to hear the Delta battery. The third video on the page shows the battery powering a hammer drill. Six seconds into the video, the drill stops running, and the battery’s fans are audible.
There are a handful of competing batteries that operate without noisy fans. I’ve taken GoalZero’s Yeti batteries camping and they’re great despite their heft. They’re truly silent and can still recharge from solar panels and car batteries. I’ve used battery generators from Jackery, too, and those are also silent.
I spoke with Ecoflow CEO and Founder Eli Harris during the run-up of this review. He was clear that Ecoflow’s main competitor is not other large batteries, but rather small gas generators available from Honda and others. And that makes a lot of sense. Those are the best selling generators available and widely used for emergency and convenience. These small generators are loud, and the Ecoflow Delta is quieter than those options while still offering most of the power capabilities.
When asked why the Kickstarter page is misleading, he said “that fallacy has never been called out” and he would check with his team about the use of “superlatives and blanket statements.” Three days later, the Kickstarter page still lists the false claims.
EcoFlow claims the Delta battery can run a variety of power tools, including drills, circular saws, power washers and welders. I found this capability hit or miss. Despite some tools being under the claimed amperage and wattage of the Delta battery, the battery wouldn’t power my small or large circular saw or power washer. EcoFlow also claims the battery can recharge a Tesla; it doesn’t recharge my Chevy Volt.
Many tools require extra power when starting up, and I found most of these surge requirements to exceed the capabilities of the Delta battery. This is the same with other batteries like the GoalZero Yeti. In fact, I couldn’t find one tool in my workshop that the Delta powered and the Yeti did not; they worked the same for me, and I have a lot of tools.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying. The EcoFlow Delta has impressive capabilities mainly around its recharge capabilities. This makes it an attractive option for the right use. It’s compact and solid. It has a lot of outlets and is easy to move. This could be a lifesaver in emergency situations where a person still has access to power.
The Delta has some downsides just like other battery generators. It doesn’t offer a dramatic increase in electrical output over competitors so don’t expect this battery to power larger devices. Don’t expect a silent operation, either. This massive battery is loud though, I admit, that’s a relative term. It’s louder than other battery generators but less loud than a gas generator.
I would rather have a silent battery generator that recharges slowly versus a noisy, fast-recharging battery. I use my battery generators camping and around the house when the power goes out. The Delta makes sense on a construction site or when providing power is priority. I just can’t get over the loud fans.
We all know that water is good for us, but the reasons are sometimes a little fuzzy. Even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that we can easily form.
The truth, however, is that we don’t focus enough on this habit. This is why we end up drinking lots of coffee, soda, alcohol, fruit juices, teas, milk, and a bunch of other beverages. And despite all those fluids, we still end up dehydrated which isn’t good for our health.
I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now, I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and beer with dinner once in a while.
Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):
Water is one of the best tools for weight loss. it doesn’t have calories, unlike high-calorie drinks, like sodas, juices, and alcohol. It’s also a great appetite suppressant.
Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking plenty can help your weight-loss regimen.
Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of heart attack.
A study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. That’s in comparison to people who drank less than two glasses.
Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.
Another symptom of dehydration is headache. In fact, when we have headaches, it’s often caused by not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
Drinking water can clear up your skin, but it won’t happen overnight, of course. Drink a healthy amount of water for a week and you’ll notice its good effects on your skin.
Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly. Water can help cure stomach acid problems. It can help treat constipation, too.
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities. It can slow you down and make it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during,and after exercise.
How to form the water habit
So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.
Here are some tips that have helped me:
Know how much water you need
This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons.
That amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages. It also ignores a person’s body weight which is an important factor in figuring the right amount. It also varies if you are sick or exercise.
Plus, it’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty because you’re already dehydrated by then.
Best is to form a routine. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, and a glass in between meals. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise, too. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.
Carry a bottle
A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again and keep drinking.
Set a reminder
Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour or set a periodic computer reminder. that way, you won’t forget to drink water.
If you would normally get a soda or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.
Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled water at a fraction of the price.
Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time. That way, it will get through your system in time.
It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it.
Tracking increases awareness and helps ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log on an index card or a notebook and create a mark for each glass of water you drink.
For cyclists, the primary target of doing strength exercises is to train in the same motion as in cycling together with one’s upper and lower body, while improving overall muscular endurance and core strength.
Strength training generates a stronger support system for a cyclist’s prime movers while riding a bike. If you have aerobically stronger core and muscles, you will gain more potential in increasing power and consequently experience less fatigue while cycling.
Now that you understand why strength training is helpful before cycling, you might wonder what those strength exercises are.
Below are the 8 strength exercises for cyclists you can try.
Lie on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders with hands and forearms on the floor.
Raise your hips off the floor, straighten your back, tighten your abs, and rest on your toes.
Keep this position for 40-60 seconds and do two-three sets.
Front plank focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis or TVA muscle, and upper and lower back. In cycling, the front plank can help you to build both strength and muscle endurance that you need in order to ride in aero position or in the drops powerfully.
What you need:
Stand tall while carrying a barbell over your shoulders.
Bend your hips and knees until your thighs can form a 45-degree angle.
Repeat the sequence and complete 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions.
Here’s one thing to note:
Expect that the last few repetitions during the last 3 or 4 sets will be hard to complete but still ensure that you will make it through the last rep. Half squats work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It would build strength for sprinting and climbing.
Single Leg Hip Bridge
Lie on the ground (placing a yoga mat would make you more comfortable) with your one leg bent while lifting the other one off the ground.
Raise your hips up in the air while contracting your glute muscles like you’re pushing through your heels.
Hold the position for a second or two before going down.
Do two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side of your legs.
Single Leg Hip Bridge can be done at any time, but it is the best pre-workout to do to wake up your glutes before a strength workout, especially if you have been sitting and inactive for a while. Aside from that, it also improves speed, endurance, and strength used while cycling.
Lunges with Bicep Curl
What you need:
Resistance band or dumbbell
Stand in an upright position with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand.
Execute a lunge position: straighten your back, step one leg forward and bend the knee to a 90-degree position, while your leg in the back should be straight.
While on it, do a biceps curl with both arms.
Repeat the same with the opposite leg forward.
Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions in every leg.
Lunging with bicep curl is an excellent workout when you want to develop strength in your biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and deltoids. These four muscles are utilized when there is a need to stand and accelerate cycling.
Sit with your feet flat on the floor and with your knees bent forward.
Execute a V-position: Raise and extend your legs out forward, and lean your upper body backward.
Stretch your arms away from you so you can tighten your lower abdominal muscles.
Make sure to relax your shoulders and keep your back straight.
Hold the position for 10 seconds and do it for 5-10 repetitions.
Boat pose mainly focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis and lower back. As a result, you will feel less fatigue through strengthening the muscles that can improve your lower back. Also, this workout will allow you to encounter less pain and feel more comfortable while on aggressive cycling positions.
Single Leg Reach
What you need:
Three water bottles or cones
Place three water bottles or cones in a triangular form.
While on a single leg stance, slightly bend your knees to do a squat and slowly reach down towards the left cone and return to a standing position. Do the same with the remaining bottles or cones.
Repeat the same sequence with the other leg.
Complete a set of 10 repetitions.
Single leg reach workouts focus on your hips and core and improve your balance on the bike, which is essential to develop bike handling and endurance. This strength exercise also works with your proprioception, also called as ‘sense of self,’ or the body’s awareness of movement and position in space.
What you need:
Cable column machine
Stand across a cable column machine. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and knees are slightly bent.
Take the handle and do a standing row, while keeping your body still as much as possible. Do not lean forward nor backward to lift more weight.
Finish 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Single-arm row enhances the muscles of your shoulder, back, and hips. It also strengthens the scapular region, which is a common area of fatigue caused by hunching too much on the bike. As a result, cyclists can avoid injuries and ride longer without discomfort.
Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
What you need:
Lie on the ground (with yoga mat is recommended) and place your handles in the handle cradles.
Raise your hips and curl your heels (almost like pointing your toes) towards your hips
Do not drop your hips as you are bending your heels.
Finish two sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Exercise ball hamstring curl is one of the TRX routines (Total Resistance exercises) that strengthens your lower back and hamstrings. Strengthening hamstring and quadriceps is significant to enhance upstroke while in a pedaling motion and avoid lower extremity injuries.
Overall, these strength exercises for cyclists can help you prepare your body.
Imagine a moving tower made of huge cement bricks weighing 35 metric tons. The movement of these massive blocks is powered by wind or solar power plants and is a way to store the energy those plants generate. Software controls the movement of the blocks automatically, responding to changes in power availability across an electric grid to charge and discharge the power that’s being generated.
The development of this technology is the culmination of years of work at Idealab, the Pasadena, Calif.-based startup incubator, and Energy Vault, the company it spun out to commercialize the technology, has just raised $110 million from SoftBank Vision Fund to take its next steps in the world.
Energy storage remains one of the largest obstacles to the large-scale rollout of renewable energy technologies on utility grids, but utilities, development agencies and private companies are investing billions to bring new energy storage capabilities to market as the technology to store energy improves.
The investment in Energy Vault is just one indicator of the massive market that investors see coming as power companies spend billions on renewables and storage. As The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, ScottishPower, the U.K.-based utility, is committing to spending $7.2 billion on renewable energy, grid upgrades and storage technologies between 2018 and 2022.
Meanwhile, out in the wilds of Utah, the American subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is working on a joint venture that would create the world’s largest clean energy storage facility. That 1 gigawatt storage would go a long way toward providing renewable power to the Western U.S. power grid and is going to be based on compressed air energy storage, large flow batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and renewable hydrogen storage.
“For 20 years, we’ve been reducing carbon emissions of the U.S. power grid using natural gas in combination with renewable power to replace retiring coal-fired power generation. In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generation, we need the next step in decarbonization. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100% renewable storage, is that next step,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO of MHPS Americas.
Energy Vault’s technology could also be used in these kinds of remote locations, according to chief executive Robert Piconi.
Energy Vault’s storage technology certainly isn’t going to be ubiquitous in highly populated areas, but the company’s towers of blocks can work well in remote locations and have a lower cost than chemical storage options, Piconi said.
“What you’re seeing there on some of the battery side is the need in the market for a mobile solution that isn’t tied to topography,” Piconi said. “We obviously aren’t putting these systems in urban areas or the middle of cities.”
For areas that need larger-scale storage that’s a bit more flexible there are storage solutions like Tesla’s new Megapack.
The Megapack comes fully assembled — including battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC breaker and controls — and can store up to 3 megawatt-hours of energy with a 1.5 megawatt inverter capacity.
The Energy Vault storage system is made for much, much larger storage capacity. Each tower can store between 20 and 80 megawatt hours at a cost of 6 cents per kilowatt hour (on a levelized cost basis), according to Piconi.
The first facility that Energy Vault is developing is a 35 megawatt-hour system in Northern Italy, and there are other undisclosed contracts with an undisclosed number of customers on four continents, according to the company.
One place where Piconi sees particular applicability for Energy Vault’s technology is around desalination plants in places like sub-Saharan Africa or desert areas.
Backing Energy Vault’s new storage technology are a clutch of investors, including Neotribe Ventures, Cemex Ventures, Idealab and SoftBank.
A YC startup called GBatteries has come out of stealth with a bold claim: they can recharge an electric car as quickly as it takes to full up a tank of gas.
Created by aerospace engineer Kostya Khomutov, electrical engineers Alex Tkachenko and Nick Sherstyuk, and CCO Tim Sherstyuk, the company is funded by the likes of Airbus Ventures, Initialized Capital, Plug and Play, and SV Angel.
The system uses AI to optimize the charging systems in electric cars.
“Most companies are focused on developing new chemistries or materials (ex. Enevate, Storedot) to improve charging speed of batteries. Developing new materials is difficult, and scaling up production to the needs of automotive companies requires billions of $,” said Khomutov. “Our technology is a combination of software algorithms (AI) and electronics, that works with off-the-shelf Li-ion batteries that have already been validated, tested, and produced by battery manufacturers. Nothing else needs to change.”
The team makes some bold claims. The product allows users to charge a 60kWh EV battery pack with 119 miles of range in 15 minutes as compared to 15 miles in 15 minutes today. “The technology works with off-the-shelf lithium ion batteries and existing fast charge infrastructure by integrating via a patented self-contained adapter on a car charge port,” writes the team. They demonstrated their product at CES this year.
Most charging systems depend on fairly primitive systems for topping up batteries. Various factors – including temperature – can slow down or stop a charge. GBatteries manages this by setting a very specific charging model that “slows down” and “speeds up” the charge as necessary. This allows the charge to go much faster under the right conditions.
The company bloomed out of frustration.
“We’ve always tinkered with stuff together since before I was even a teenager, and over time had created a burgeoning hardware lab in our basement,” said Sherstyuk. “While I was studying Chemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, we’d often debate and discuss why batteries in our phones got so bad so rapidly – you’d buy a phone, and a year later it would almost be unusable because the battery degraded so badly.”
“This sparked us to see if we can solve the problem by somehow extending the cycle life of batteries and achieve better performance, so that we’d have something that lasts. We spent a few weeks in our basement lab wiring together a simple control system along with an algorithm to charge a few battery cells, and after 6 months of testing and iterations we started seeing a noticeable difference between batteries charged conventionally, and ones using our algorithm. A year and a half later of constant iterations and development, we applied and were accepted in 2014 into YC.”
While it’s not clear when this technology will hit commercial vehicles, it could be the breakthrough we all need to start replacing our gas cars with something a little more environmentally-friendly.
The ancient Chinese thought a lot about the relationship between the body and the environment. This helped them create a holistic system that nurtured wellness. They called it feng shui.
Early feng shui practitioners studied medicine, astrology, meteorology, and aesthetics. They supplemented it with lots of practical observations of the world around them to come up with their guiding principles, many of which hold up remarkably well in contemporary times.
So, what are those principles? How do they affect the use of feng shui for harmony in the home?
One of the main ones is about flow or what the Chinese call chi (also spelled qi). Chi is all about movement, breath, and energy force. It is integral to the study of Chinese medicine and martial arts.
The role of chi in spatial design
For one, there should be just enough space for the energy force to flow easily and freely. A good floor plan ensures a circuitous and even flow between and within rooms. Stagnant energy (i.e., in a basement apartment or a room teeming with clutter) or overpowering direct energy (i.e., at the head of a T-junction) can have detrimental effects on your health, relationships, and/or finances.
On the other hand, imagine the feeling you get when you enter a well-designed spa. With every object chosen and placed intentionally, it captures the flow of gentle chi and immediately invites guests into a state of serenity.
About Yin and Yang
Another guiding principle is the harmony between yang (active) and yin (passive) elements.
Certain rooms should emphasize the yang (office, living room) whereas others should foreground the yin (bedroom). All rooms, however, should incorporate both the yang and yin in harmony. This could be reflected in the color scheme, proportion of different objects, and in the lighting of the room.
An example of this is a bedroom that features restful colors, such as greens and blues for the walls but incorporates enough warm colors. You can use a pop of orange or bronze in the accessories to offset too much coolness in the overall design. Most good designers can naturally harmonize the different elements to create a general sense of balance and elegance.
Finally, good feng shui practitioners showcase elements of nature throughout their designs. Feng shui recognizes and harnesses the power inherent in natural objects: the living dynamism of plants, the solidity of rocks, the brilliance of metal, the mobility of water, and the warmth of fire.
Even indoors, these elements can emit their special properties and influence the energy of a space. For example, plants and fish tanks could energize your living room and enrich your social life but might not bring about the most restful sleep in your bedroom. Metal elements, symbolizing wealth, should be sprinkled liberally near the entryway or in an office to usher in prosperity.
So, when you’re considering lifestyle changes to promote improved well-being for you and your family, consider the interior design and feng shui as much as you think about your diet and exercise. Seek inspiration in the photos of the beautiful spaces that populate Instagram or in your favorite e-magazine.
Ask yourself what feelings these photos invoke and try to emulate the designs in those projects. Think about how well your space flows, how well the various design elements work together, and how the space functions and feels.
Place natural elements throughout your house, tapping into their energy. Just like our body, our homes need consistent loving attention in order to be the soft landing place that nurtures us for our life journey. That’s the basic idea in using feng shui for harmony in the home.
While java love is widespread, some people can’t handle the jittery effects of coffee. Why is it that some people can chug coffee like water while others can’t have a single sip without feeling like their hearts are going to pop out of their chest? Dr. Marilyn Cornelis from Northwestern University explains the genetic reason behind this phenomena. Read more…
The days when solar panels used to be a rare and exotic source of energy are gone. Their popularity is growing and a lot of people are now choosing it as their main source of electricity.
Before installing this system that is supposed to lower energy bills, people are usually curious about the average efficiency of solar panels and the price. If you are one of these people, you’re probably wondering if they are really profitable and how much you can save.
Here are some of the most important facts you should know about solar panels for home.
What is the price of solar panels?
The price of solar panels might be different depending on the state you live in as well as your desired size. The more panels you need, the higher the price tags become.
The average price for solar panels is about $4 per watt. A whole system can be as big as 5 kilowatts, which means it can cost you almost $19,000. That may seem too pricey, but it is worth it in the long run.
If you fear that this price won’t fit in your budget, there are ways for you to spend less on solar panels. Government incentives, for example, can reduce the cost of solar panels.
How to Spend Less on Solar Panels?
Federal investment tax credit is a way to make the price of solar panels lower. It can also save you some money on installation. Except for a national rebate, there are also regional discounts. If you add both, the price can be reduced significantly.
For example, if you have a house in Austin, Texas and want to install a large 7-kilowatt solar panel system, it would cost about $26,000. The city’s rebate will reduce $800 per kilowatt and you will save about $6,000. Thanks to the federal tax credit, you might be able to save an additional $6,000.
All in all, you’ll probably save more than $10,000 in total. So, before installation, consider checking the government incentives you can get in your city.
How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels?
The main reason to install solar panels is that it allows paying less for the electricity. How much exactly can you save?
Depending on the size of your system, you can save from $150 to $200 per month. The solar system pays for itself in a period of about 7 to 15 years. It is a good result considering the fact that it can serve you for 20 to 30 years.
The competition on the market of solar panels is growing, making them more affordable. If you also use the incentives and rebates, it becomes possible to install solar panels for less than $10,000.
Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?
While making a decision about solar panel installment, it is important to think not only about the cost of the system, but also about the amount of sun in your area. Both direct and scattered sunlight is good for solar panels, but there still should be enough sunny days to feel the benefits.
Before installing a solar panel system, it might be a good idea to check a specialist’s opinion and find out if your state is suitable for solar energy usage. Another crucial factor is the location of the house and the roof.
Make sure it is possible to provide panels with good exposure. Check where the roof faces, the number of trees and presence of constructions that are situated around. In case the location is not satisfying, solar panels can also be installed on a garage roof or you can use a ground-mounted system.
Solar panels installment requires a lot of time but if you pay attention to all the details it might become a great investment.
With over a population over 90 million strong, a prime location, topography and climate, one would assume a country like Egypt would be perfect for solar energy. The nation’s average level of solar radiation is between 2,000 to 3,200kWh per square meter a year, but this country on the verge of the African Sahara still imports enough gas to operate electricity generating plants all over… Read More
Sleep. An important and inevitable physiological body function. An effortless activity in past years but an increasingly difficult one in the present day.
Many people in our contemporary society are struggling with sleep — correctly termed insomnia — in their daily lives. The lack of it has been shown by scientist to have a ripple effect on the overall productivity and health outcomes of individuals.
Sleep has increasingly become elusive partly due to tremendous changes in sleep-wake patterns and technology that has infiltrated in every human living space including bedrooms. A change in work operations has taken a more white-collar approach with the same technology making work easier through mechanization of work. The result is often people who sit behind computers and devices the whole day with minimum physical activities.
Worse still, the mobile technological gadgets evolution has hooked people onto their laptops, mobile phones, and tablets while they are traveling, dining, and even when they retire to bed. The lack of physical exhaustion and the addiction to mobile devices at bedtime has led to the steadily increasing problem of inadequate sleep.
This article will present rather unempirical solutions that will sure help in getting over the trouble of going to sleep.
Make yourself tired
Lack of adequate physical activity may in the long run affect your sleep pattern. Increasing your physical activity ensures your body is literally tired and leaves it craving for rest.
Ways of increasing your physical activity may include taking a jog, walking to work (for considerable distances), standing in the office (if that is allowed) and hitting the gym. Indeed, the gym is the most effective way of ensuring you crawl right home and to bed after gym. The intense exercises ensure you are exhausted, and you will find yourself falling asleep even on the couch too sleepy even to walk to bed. But hey, we want to sleep, don’t we? A shower after a physically exhausting day will ensure you sleep even before you know it.
Think about sleep
The second solution has something to do with the mind. Whenever you retire to bed and have trouble falling asleep, think about sleep. Yes, tuck warm, pull on your blankets and think about nothing else than sleep. Allow yourself to drift and fall into that pitless abyss of darkness that is sleep. Think of nothing but the darkness, the good feeling of finally relaxing and letting go of all worries. Drift in the wave of calmness and think how amazing it is to sleep. You will be in deep sleep before you know it.
Hunger is no friend of sleep. From the rumbling of one’s stomach to the body’s physiological response of craving for food, a person will be preoccupied with nothing but thoughts on how they should wake up and grab something to eat.
Thus, ensure you eat your fill two hours before bed time. It also helps to have hot meals and a hot non-caffeine drink. Being full has something to do with blood pulling to the stomach to meet the demanding needs of digestion that will often leave you drowsy. This explains why many people will be sleepy in the afternoon after having a hot meal over lunch. The same is applicable during supper and may greatly help in getting sleep.
Any changes in the sleep-wake pattern have also been shown to impact a person’s sleep. An unhealthy sleep pattern, such as sleeping too late into the night, may lead to the problem of insomnia.
Revisit your recent sleeping and waking hours and pinpoint any deviations. In case there are any changes, work on normalizing them by ascribing to your usual hours. This may not be instantaneous, but it works over time.
Avoid staying up late and ensure you get at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep well within the night. Put your phone in silent mode, disconnect from the Internet, and disable notification alerts that may ultimately interrupt your sleep.
Lastly, wild as it may sound, allow yourself to get bored in bed. By this, I mean do not use your phone at the first sign of insomnia. Once you take your phone and start chatting or simply surfing the internet, sleep becomes even more elusive. This also means staying away from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Instead, allow yourself to drift into your thoughts, fantasize about things, and also allow yourself to drift in your imaginings. Reminiscing and trying to recall childhood memories in surreal states also helps. This is one of the most effortless yet very effective ways of finding sleep when insomnia strikes.
In conclusion, the methods presented in this paper may not be scientific or empirical, but they sure do work great. Having ascribed to them personally, I can assure you that you will be asleep sooner than you expect.
Ensure you get physically exhausted by doing simple things like taking a walk in the evening or going to the gym. Once you get to bed, think about sleep and allow yourself to drift into space. Avoid going to bed hungry and lastly, do not be afraid of getting bored in bed. This will mean ditching your gadgets including mobile phones and laptops and embracing the serenity of the night calm.
Using these methods will ensure that insomnia becomes a thing of the past and staying up at night will become your new challenge. That is what we want, don’t we? Go ahead and fall asleep.