Best Black Friday home gym deals: Save on treadmills, massage guns, spin bikes, and rowers – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

2020 will be remembered as a year when home gyms bloomed from the dirt of the pandemic, with rising concerns about working out with others at gyms and fitness studios, which have intermittently closed and opened as coronavirus cases surge across the country. Haven't joined the trend yet? As winter sets in, there's no better time to start running, rowing or cycling inside and at home.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday present two solid opportunities to beef up your collection of exercise and workout recovery gear for your home gym, like a treadmillrowerspin bike or massage gun, or pick up a holiday gift such as dumbbellskettlebells or resistance bands for a fitness-focused friend.

We've identified the best Black Friday sales on exercise gear -- there should be something here for you to consider, whether you have a whole garage for a home gym or just a small corner of a room for workouts.

TRX

TRX Systems are a great way to fit a gym into a tiny space. All you need is a door frame to anchor the straps to and you can perform all kinds of workout moves with just your body weight

One of the top rowing machines around is on sale this Black Friday for $250 off. The Hydrow is like the Peloton of rowing machines -- it has a built-in screen where you can take rowing classes and a premium build. It's also quiet and can be stored upright to save space. Read our Hydrow Rower review.

Myx Fitness

While Peloton isn't having any sales this Black Friday, you can get a deal on one of our favorite Peloton exercise bike alternatives, the Myx. This bike delivers a similar experience to the Peloton, with a 21.5-inch screen and original, in-house fitness programming.

Use the code BLACKFRIDAY to get $250 off the Myx bike on the company's website. Myx Fitness is also including a free tote bag, water bottle and neck gaiter with purchase and guaranteeing delivery in two to four weeks.

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I can't say enough good things about massage guns. These high-powered tools pulsate to break up knots and stiffness in your muscles, whether you're feeling sore from your last workout or just tense from, well, living in 2020. 

For anyone who loves a massage but hasn't been able to get one this year, the Hypervolt is a great gift. It comes with five attachments to target any muscle pain.

Looking for more massage guns? Check out the Theragun Black Friday sales.

Amazon

Manduka's Pro Yoga Mat is one of the most premium mats out there, and it's tough to find on sale. At Dick's Sporting Goods, you can get $24 off the 71-inch size, or $30 off the 85-inch version. Both are thick, soft, easy to get a grip on and work for more than just yoga. This is the mat I use and I highly recommend it.

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Withings' digital bathroom scale goes beyond just measuring your weight to providing detailed data on your BMI, body fat, muscle mass, body water, heart rate and bone mass. It's a must-have for any home gym, especially for those who want to lose weight. 

Bowflex

While not my favorite treadmill of the ones I tested, I can't scoff at this deal for the discontinued Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill. It has all the basic features you need, with a solid build quality. Get it for $1,000 at Best Buy starting on Nov. 28.

This deal is available on Saturday, Nov. 28.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Best SAD light therapy lamps for 2020 – CNET

I love winter, but I feel a sense of dread when it arrives each year. As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, so does my mood and energy level. And now that daylight saving time has ended and the sun is setting around 5 p.m., I know I'm in for several more months of feeling sluggish and down. That's all to say that I deal with seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD or seasonal depression).

As the days get shorter and darker and winter causes overcast weather, we get less exposure to natural sunlight. Doctors believe that the lack of sunlight can trigger a chemical change in the brain, which can make you feel sad, unmotivated, sluggish and, essentially, depressed. When my psychiatrist diagnosed me with SAD, she recommended light therapy, one of the most popular treatments that's backed up with a ton of documented research.

Light therapy lamps try to mimic the extra hours of sunlight from spring and summer that we don't get in fall and winter. To do this, you need a lamp that emits about 10,000 lux of light, which is higher than the artificial light from your home's fixtures and other lamps. A bright sunny day exposes you to about 100,000 lux or more, while you might only get about 2,000 lux of light exposure on an overcast day.

I've tested and evaluated some of the most popular light therapy lamps on the market. Because I'm not a physician or psychiatrist, I can't tell you if these lamps will be effective for treating your depression or SAD symptoms. However, as someone who experiences both and has used light therapy as a treatment, I can recommend which lights are worth your money.

Light therapy isn't for everyone, so it's important to check with your doctor before trying it. Only they can diagnose you with SAD, a mood disorder or depression and prescribe the correct treatment for you. This list was published in October and is updated periodically.

Read more: The 7 best blue light blocking glasses to prevent eye fatigue  

Light therapy lamps


Price Extra features Size of light panel
Verilux HappyLight Luxe VT43 $70 4 brightness and 3 color temperature options, 1-hour timer with 5-minute intervals 6 x 9 inches
Verilux HappyLight Lumi VT31 $40 3 brightness options 4.5 x 7 inches
Circadian Optics Lumos $40 3 brightness options, adjustable stand 1.37 x 6.25 inches
Northern Light Technologies Boxelite $180 Lightbulbs you can change 12.25 x 15.25 inches
Circadian Optics Lattis $70 3 brightness options 2.75 x 8 inches
Verilux HappyLight Alba $50 4 brightness and 3 color temperature options, 1-hour timer with 10-minute intervals 5.5 x 6.5 inches
Theralite $57 Built-in cover/stand 5 x 8 inches
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus $104 Adjustable stand and two brightness options 13.5 x 15.5 inches
Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Verilux is one of the biggest names in light therapy lamps -- you'll find them all over Amazon and the company has a large catalog of models. The HappyLight Luxe has a simple design with a large light panel that takes up nearly the entire lamp. Simple is not meant as an insult here -- the Luxe light therapy lamp has everything you need at a fair price.

Most experts recommend using a lamp with a large light panel -- ideally 12 by 15 or 12 by 18 inches -- to get the full benefits of light therapy. A smaller light therapy lamp can provide the same benefits, but you might need to move it closer to your eyes and leave it on for longer than you would with a large panel. At 6 by 9 inches, the Luxe's light panel gets close to the recommended size without taking up too much space.

It offers four brightness settings and three color temperature settings, which allow you to make the light warm, neutral or mimic daylight. There's also a built-in timer you can set at 5-minute intervals, up to 1 hour. You can mount the light panel on the wall, or use the included stand, which tilts the lamp at an angle. You can also remove the stand and conveniently hook it to the back of the light panel for travel.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

If you're not sure if light therapy is right for you, start with a smaller and less expensive lamp. This is the light therapy device I bought in 2019 and I've used it for several months. It's just like the Luxe light therapy lamp, but more compact and with fewer features.

There are three brightness settings, each delivering slightly different amounts of lux -- 5,000, 7,000 and 10,000. Like the Lux, it comes with a stand that sets the light panel at an angle. The simple design takes the guesswork out of using a therapy lamp. Just set it on a surface close to your face and turn it on.

The VT31's light panel is around 4.5 by 7 inches, so you may need to use it longer than the Luxe to get the same effects. At only $50, it's a good introduction to light therapy.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

I liked this lamp out of the box. It's slim enough to fit in any tight space or crowded desk, and it feels solid. It has a modern look to it that doesn't scream "I am a therapy light," and it folds down when you're not using it. It has a simple power button that cycles through three light levels: low, medium and high.

What makes this lamp different from the rest is that you can fold and rotate the light many different ways to get the perfect angle. You want the light to be at eye level and this lamp makes that easy to accomplish.

The only knock I have against the Lumos is that it has the smallest light panel out of all the lamps I tested, at just 1.37 by 6.25 inches. Again, consult with your doctor on how long you should use a therapy lamp each day -- with the smaller panel on this light, you might need to use it longer.

Can't decide between the Lumos and HappyLight VT31? If you want a therapy lamp that you can keep out all the time that you can position perfectly, get the Lumos. If you want a lamp that you don't have to fuss with, get the VT31.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Depending on where you live, how many hours of sunlight you get each day and your individual mental health needs, your doctor might recommend you get a large light panel. In that case, get the Boxelite. 

It's a 12.25 by 15.25-inch light therapy box that's one giant light panel. Despite its size, it manages to be sleek with a design I don't feel compelled to hide in a closet when it's not in use. The Boxelite light box doesn't have any frills -- there's just an on-off switch -- and I don't mind that at all. What's unique about this light therapy box is that you can change the bulbs when they burn out.

I see this as a good buy for someone who lives far north of the equator in winter, where you get 8 hours of daylight or less, and needs to use a light therapy box daily during fall and winter, year after year.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Let's be real, you buy the Lattice because you want a light therapy lamp that's stylish, not utilitarian. The Frank Lloyd Wright-esqe design is meant to blend into your decor -- even up close, it doesn't look like a light therapy lamp. The light panel is on the smaller side of the options on this list, but I do like that it's up a bit higher to better align with eye level.

Like the Lumos, this has three lighting settings, but that's it for extra features. The light panel measures at 2.75 by 8 inches, so it's on the smaller end. The design is pleasing to look at, but otherwise the lamp feels a bit plasticy for the price. 

Unless you really want a therapy lamp with extra style, you're better off buying the HappyLight Luxe, which has a bigger light panel and more features for the same price.

Also tested

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

HappyLight Alba is the latest therapy lamp from Verilux, and it offers the same features as the HappyLight Luxe in a smaller size and for less money. It has four brightness settings, three color temperature settings and a timer that you can set in 10-minute intervals up to an hour.

The round shape is a departure for Verilux, which traditionally makes rectangle panels. At just 5.5 by 6.5 inches, Alba has a smaller light panel than the VT31. Given that bigger light panels are considered better for delivering as much light as possible in the least amount of time, I'm inclined to pick a bigger lamp, such as the HappyLight Luxe or VT31, over this.

However, you can't beat this lamp for features and price. For $10 more than the VT31 and Lumos, you get the color temperature settings and a timer that neither of those lamps have. Plus, you get a larger light panel than the Lumos. If those settings really call to you, then this lamp is a good buy. Personally, I get by just fine without them.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The Theralite has a clever design, but not enough features to blow me away. This lightweight and compact light box has a 5- by 8-inch light panel, plus a built-in cover and stand, which makes it good for traveling. However, it is considerably thicker than the other lamps on this list. It has one brightness setting -- 10,000 lux -- and a simple on-off switch. I like that you can adjust the angle of the stand, change the height of the light and rotate the light between portrait and landscape orientations.

It's not the best compact therapy light in my book, and I'm not convinced that this is the best travel light either. I'd rather make room in my bag for the Verilux HappyLight or the Lumos, since it can be folded and rotated to make it thin and compact. Both are $5 less than the Theralite. 

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The Carex Day-light Classic Plus lamp is by far the largest lamp on this list, with a light panel that's 13.5 by 15.5 inches. While that's just barely bigger than the Boxelite, the lamp's larger stand makes it take up far more space, measuring 31.1 inches tall, 15.75 inches wide and a full foot deep.

There's an adjustable stand that positions the light panel at eye level or above with the light shining down, which, according to some sources, is important. Still, this lamp is a behemoth and something you'll likely need to make room for in your home. Because it's big and heavy, stashing it away when you're done using it each day isn't practical. 

This bright light therapy lamp doesn't get any accolades for style -- it looks like a 2001 flat screen TV. I could get past the dated design if the lamp felt sturdy, but the fit and finish is sloppy, with gaps between the plastic pieces and buttons to adjust the stand that are hard to press. 

It comes with two light modes: Task (5,000 lux) and Therapy (10,000 lux). Like the Northern Light Boxelite, the Carex Day-light Classic Plus is better suited for someone who gets very little natural daylight, such as someone who works in a windowless office or lives in areas that get limited natural light in the winter. If you don't mind unwieldy size and dated design, and want to save a few dollars from the Boxelite, this will serve you well.

How to buy

The most important features you should be looking at when buying a light therapy lamp are the light intensity and the type of light that's emitted. Research supports using a SAD lamp with up to 10,000 lux as a therapy for depression.

Another key is that you don't want a sun lamp that emits UV rays (or at least filters them out), as that can cause damage to your eyes and skin. While you're not supposed to stare directly into a light therapy lamp, you still don't want to expose yourself to daily UV radiation while trying to treat your seasonal depression.

Size is important, to a point. A bigger light panel allows you to position the light farther away while you're using it, so keep that in mind when shopping. A smaller lamp needs to be closer to your face, and set so it's at your eye level. You might need to spend up to an hour each day using a small SAD light, but just half that with a larger lamp.

As the Mayo Clinic notes, "The effectiveness of a light box depends on daily use, so buy one that's convenient for you." 

How to use a light therapy lamp

As far as how to use a light therapy lamp, you'll need to consult with your doctor or psychiatrist for their guidance on light treatment. Light therapy isn't suited for all kinds of mental health issues -- for instance, many doctors recommend that people with bipolar disorder avoid it. Light therapy can also irritate your eyes or skin if you have certain medical conditions or are taking some prescription medications.

There are, however, some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Position a light therapy lamp about 12 to 18 inches from your face.
  • Use the lamp for 30 minutes in the early morning, ideally shortly after you wake up.
  • Don't stare directly at the light.
  • Go about other activities while using it, as long as your eyes stay within 12 to 18 inches of the lamp.

Some people experience headaches, jitters or insomnia with light therapy, so that's something to look out for.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Black Friday Fitbit and smartwatch deals: Get $50 off Fitbit Charge 4, Fitbit Sense and Versa 2, plus savings on Galaxy Watch and Garmin – CNET

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Largely because they've gotten so much smarter, wristwatches have been making a comeback. Thanks to their ability to monitor your workout activity and health vitals, smartwatches and fitness trackers, such as those made by Fitbit, are seeing a surge in popularity. Most are easy to set up and use -- and bonus: You'll never miss an alert from your phone. 

You'll have plenty of opportunities to snag a deal on some of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers this holiday season. We've got the best Black Friday Apple Watch deals right here and we've rounded up the other top brands -- Fitbit, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Fossil and more -- below. Many of the deals are at Amazon, but these prices appear to be at every major retailer, including Best Buy and Target. Note that pricing and availability were accurate at time of publication, but both fluctuate.

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CNET has dubbed the Fitbit Charge 4 the best all-around fitness tracker of 2020 for its low price, slim design, fashionable and functional straps and solid set of features, including GPS and sleep tracking. 

While it doesn't have a full-color display like most smartwatches, the small design makes it comfortable to wear 24/7, and the battery life lasts about four days, or seven if you turn off GPS. If you're looking to get a fitness tracker for someone who doesn't already wear one, this is a great buy. Read our Fitbit Charge 4 review.

Best Buy

The 2020 entry-level Fitbit Inspire 2 is a slim fitness tracker with just enough features for people who want to keep tabs on their activity levels and stay updated on their phone's alerts. It has a 10-day battery life, sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Fitbit's newest top-tier smartwatch, the Sense, is $50 off this Black Friday at Best Buy. The watch has the most features of any Fitbit yet, and can track your stress, temperature, blood oxygen and sleep. It can also deliver notifications from your phone to your wrist so you never miss a beat. Read our Fitbit Sense review.

Fitbit

Consider the Versa 3 just a small step down from the Sense. It has many of the same features, minus stress tracking and heart health monitoring. Without them, you can save about $80 and still get a quality smartwatch and fitness tracker.

Sarah Tew/CNET

One of our favorite Fitbits, the Versa 2, is on sale this Black Friday at Best Buy. It's a near-perfect mashup of a fitness tracker and smartwatch, with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant on board, at a great price. Granted, this is last year's model, so you miss out on the addition of GPS, Google Assistant and a few extras. Still, we think the Versa 2 is a worthy buy.

This deal will also be available at Walmart on Nov. 25. Read our Fitbit Versa 2 review.

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If you're looking to buy a fitness tracker for a kid, this is your best bet. The Ace 2 is designed for children ages 6 and up to help them stay active with special challenges. It's waterproof, so kids can wear it while swimming, it tracks sleep like other Fitbits and has alerts when your kid is getting a phone call, provided they also carry a smartphone with them.

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If you want to save more than a few dollars and get a Samsung Galaxy Watch that has almost the same features as the Galaxy Watch 3, get the Active 2. It was just recently updated in 2020 to include the EKG feature, plus it can measure your VO2 max and has fall detection. 

It's just a bit smaller than the Watch 3, and according to our review, more comfortable to sleep wearing, if you want to use it for sleep tracking.

Fossil

For a smartwatch that looks more like an old-school watch, check out Fossil's 5e Gen 5 line. These smartwatches have traditional watch details, like metal bezels and crowns. You can snag the 5e Gen 5 Smartwatch with a silicone band for $150, or opt for a stainless-steel or leather band for between $170 and $180. Prices vary depending on the exact model.

These deals are available at both Best Buy and Fossil's website.

Best Buy

Garmin's high-end Fenix 5X smartwatch for runners comes with heart rate tracking, turn-by-turn directions and topographical maps built in. The sapphire version, which has a scratch-proof sapphire screen, is the top of the line, and you can snag one for $200 off this Black Friday.

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The Samsung Watch 3 has top-of-the-line health features, including sensors that can perform an EKG and measure your blood oxygen levels. The stylish design doesn't scream "smartwatch," and it's compatible with both Android and iPhones, which makes it a great gift for anyone.

The 41mm model is $140, and the 45mm model is $170.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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The best gifts to get healthy in 2021 – CNET

If all of your (and your loved one's) health and fitness goals went out the window this year, I don't blame you. 2020 has turned our world upside down and changed everyone's priorities. 

But this year has also brought us plenty of great products to help manage stress, stay active and even keep tabs on our heart health. No matter what health and fitness goals the person you're shopping for has, there's a product out there to support them.

You can help your friends and family get on track again with the gifts below, whether you're shopping for your super-sporty sister or your friend who'd usually rather stay on the couch.

ClassPass

ClassPass gives you access to millions of fitness classes in more than 2,500 cities worldwide. Members can sign up for a monthly workout subscription, but you can also give someone a ClassPass gift card that they can use at any time, making it one of the best fitness gifts you can give someone. 

Given that many gyms and fitness studios are still closed, you can take on-demand or live-streamed workout classes and pay as you go for each class. Many studios are also offering outdoor classes, to help reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The idea of ClassPass is actually really smart because it lets anyone try out a huge variety of fitness classes and experiences without making a commitment to one specific gym or workout studio. It's perfect for anyone who wants to try yoga, dumbbells, strength training, resistance bands, acrobatics, boxing, dance and way more before dedicating theselves to a program.

Read more: Best streaming workout subscriptions

Hydroflask

The Hydro Flask scored the top spot in our list of best water bottles, and for good reason. They're durable, colorful and the insulated design keeps hot liquids hot and cool liquids cool for hours. These water bottles come in many sizes and colors to suit anyone's style and needs.

I can attest that the insulation in the bottle and flat cap really works. I put ice water in my Hydro Flask and then left it in a car in 105-degree Arizona heat for four hours. When I got back, it was just as cold as when I put it in, ice cubes and all. 

Each bottle comes with an insulated flat screw-off cap, but depending on what model you buy, you can also opt for a sport cap, flip cap or straw lid.

Read more: The best water bottles in 2020

Five S

Since spas have been closed most of the year, at least where I live, I haven't been able to get a massage to get rid of the persistent knots in my neck. That means I've been relying on this massager that I've owned for more than a year to get some relief.

It has two massage heads, spaced out perfectly to knead out any tension in your neck, shoulders and even between your shoulder blades. From my experience, it's worth every penny.

Xiaomi

Fitness trackers are great tools to encourage you to move your body and keep track of basic health stats like heart rate. But if you don't have the budget for an Apple Watch or Fitbit, that doesn't mean you can't get a good tracker.

At just around $45, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a great low-cost alternative to the Fitbits and Garmin Vivofits out there. It tracks your steps, your sleep, heart rate, with up to 11 different workout types and more to help you reach your fitness goals. The design is sleek, the screen is bright and easy to read and there are different watch faces to choose from. The battery life on this Xiaomi Mi band can last up to 14 days on a single charge; the Apple Watch can't even come close to that.

Read more: Best fitness trackers in 2020

B Yoga

The 4mm B Mat Everyday by B Yoga is our best overall yoga mat and a great gift for anyone who loves yoga. At 4mm thick, it offers adequate cushion and support. The all-natural rubber surface is slightly textured and grippy. 

Beyond yoga, you can use this mat for pilates, stretching and any other kind of floor workout, such as sit-ups and push-ups.

Read more: The best yoga mats you can buy

Lululemon

These Wunder Under leggings are a favorite among the CNET Health and Wellness team because they are durable and versatile. You can wear them for any kind of workout without feeling too restricted or hot.

Even better, they come in a huge array of colors, sizes and lengths, like this trendy tie-dye pair.

Read more: The best budget-friendly workout clothes

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Unless you're a pro athlete, the Theragun is something you'd probably never buy yourself. This percussive massage gun uses a rapid thumping movement to reduce inflammation. Basically, it gives you the experience of getting a deep tissue massage, but whenever and wherever you want. Perfect for the weight lifter or fitness and workout enthusiast in your life.

Theragun released new models for 2020, and they start at $199 and go up to $600. Despite its small size, the $200 Theragun Mini delivers a powerful massage that anyone would enjoy. If you don't want something as powerful, check out our other percussive massager picks.

Juan Garzon / CNET

If you're looking for a fitness tracker that's full of features and isn't the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is your best bet. It's packed with health and wellness features, including blood oxygen and EKG sensors and a running coach. It also has advanced sleep-tracking, something the Apple Watch still doesn't quite have.

This is a good buy for someone who uses an Android phone, since they aren't able to use the Apple Watch.  Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

If you're shopping for someone who likes the best of the best, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the way to go. It can measure your activity levels, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood oxygen levels and even the ambient sound levels around you.

You can use the watch untethered from a phone with built-in GPS and an LTE data support (you'll need a separate SIM card for the watch though). That means you can leave your phone at home when you go out on a run. Pair it with wireless earbuds for the perfect running, gym or exercise experience. 

It also has fall detection, so that if you take a spill while out running (or just around the house), it can call emergency services for you. That makes it a good buy for anyone with mobility issues.

Looking for a lot of the same features for much less? The Apple Watch SE is $279 and comes with almost all of the same features as the Series 6. You only miss out on the ECG and blood oxygen sensors. Read more.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Feeling anxious? Why online therapy might work better than an office visit – CNET

If you ask Dr. Peter Yellowlees, professor of psychiatry at UC Davis, about the future of medicine, he'll tell you that it's online. "The new normal is that people are going to increasingly obtain health care through the internet," he says. Rather than sitting in a waiting room, and then going into a physical exam, we will eventually be more likely to meet with a doctor through a video call.

In the early 1990s, long before Zoom and FaceTime existed, Dr. Yellowless used video conferencing to meet with and treat patients in Australia, so it's safe to say he's one of the early pioneers of telemedicine. Though the technology has changed, today there are many companies and providers offering the same experience.

Dr. Yellowlees likens telemedicine to house calls, a practice that largely died out last century. While the experience isn't exactly the same, most of the benefits of house calls still remain. "We're seeing people in their own environments [and] it actually improves the relationships we have with them," he says. 

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With telemedicine, he argues, you make the experience of seeing a doctor less inconvenient and intimidating because the patient doesn't have to travel and is in their own space where they feel comfortable. That can be especially helpful for patients who deal with anxiety, agoraphobia or post traumatic stress disorder, says Dr. Yellowlees.

In the age of COVID-19, many of the barriers to telemedicine have come down. Doctors face many privacy regulations that can make telemedicine difficult, but since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Yellowlees explains, there have been massive regulatory changes to address that.

There are still privacy and security regulations in place, which include using secure messaging systems and taking measures to protect a patient's information. But during the pandemic, the US government isn't legally going after doctors and medical practices that aren't using technologies that are fully compliant with HIPAA, the federal privacy law, says Dr. Yellowlees. That makes it easier for doctors to connect with patients online to provide immediate care, without needing to invest in an entirely new system to do so.

Dr. Yellowlees has plenty more to say on the topic. Watch the interview above for the full story.


Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the "new normal."  There will always be change in our world, and we'll be here to discuss how to navigate it all. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Willow breast pump deal: $75 off until Sept. 30 – CNET

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The third-generation Willow allows you to pump discreetly and hands-free.

Willow

For moms who are pumping, the Willow Breast Pump Generation 3 is a game-changer. This wireless breast pump can slip into your bra so you can go about your day -- there are no tubes or wires hanging out. This is the perfect time to buy one, because you can get the Willow for $425, a savings of $75, until Sept. 30. Just use the code EVERYDAYHERO at checkout to get the promo.

CNET's Bridget Carey got to test the Willow during CES earlier this year and was really pleased with the experience. Because it's wireless and slips into your bra, you don't need to find a private space to pump and you don't have to be tethered to a machine for half an hour. That means you can take care of other tasks at the same time -- a big win for moms who return to work and need to continue pumping throughout their work day.

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The third generation of the device collects milk in spill-free bags and closely matches a baby's suction, to give a more gentle experience. In testing the Generation 3, Willow found that, on average, moms were able to pump 20% more milk than with previous Willow models.

With $75 off, now is a great time to buy it, whether for yourself or any new or expecting moms in your life.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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The best neck gaiters in 2020 – CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Neck gaiter, buff, neck warmer. Whatever you call it, this tube of fabric can serve many purposes, from keeping your head and neck warm in cold weather to keeping dust and sweat out of your face. In 2020, they're also being used as face coverings to comply with coronavirus mask orders.

Neck gaiters have long been used by outdoor enthusiasts and Burners alike because they can be worn many different ways -- as a headband, face covering, balaclava, scarf, hood, you name it.

Because they wrap around your head and can cover your mouth and nose without any straps, they've become a popular alternative to the type of cloth face masks you can buy everywhere right now. 

Do neck gaiters reduce the spread of the coronavirus?

Whether they slow the spread of the coronavirus is up for debate. A recent research study suggested that neck gaiters might not capture droplets as well as other types of masks, but it only evaluated one neck gaiter while testing. The study's authors acknowledge that more testing is required to definitively say whether or not neck gaiters are effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Additional research suggests that neck gaiters are effective at containing respiratory droplets, so long as they use multiple layers of fabric.

Whether you're looking for a neck gaiter to protect you against the elements or as a face covering, this list has you, your face and your neck covered.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

This neck gaiter won me over because it's made with a supersoft fabric, comes in multiple sizes and blocks UV rays. The small/medium size is narrow, so it's a great pick if you have a small head and face like me -- I didn't have any issues with it slipping down. It also comes in large/extra large for an average adult head. 

The soft bamboo fabric makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Since the fabric is thin, you'll want to double it up by folding it to use as a face covering. However, it's not the thinnest gaiter I tested and that's a good thing -- it feels substantial enough to keep you warm in cool weather and is also not too thick or stuffy to wear on hot days.

Read more: The best face masks for running

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

This might be the only gaiter I trust to slow the spread of germs. It has multiple layers of fabric, including a filter. Biogaiter advertises that it uses "G95 filtration technology" that filters out "99.75% of all airborne particles size 0.1 micron and larger" in the entire gaiter. That level of protection is higher than an N95 respirator, which blocks up to 95% of particles 0.3 microns and larger.

That protection comes at a cost of style and comfort. There's no way around it, the design on this gaiter is, well, ugly. It's basically a cloth sack without a bottom and it tightens around your head using an elastic cord. In order to keep it from slipping down or riding up right into my eyes, I had to tighten it until it put pressure on my nose, which wasn't comfortable.

I'm not going to write off this gaiter though, because everyone's head is different and it filters the air, something none of the other gaiters I tested claimed to do.

If you're seeking a neck gaiter that plausibly slows the spread of the coronavirus, and you're willing to shell out $60, this is your best bet.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The Buff Original gaiter is longer than the others I tested, which makes it versatile because you can wear it several different ways. The fabric tube is seamless and tagless, and it's lightweight enough that it doesn't feel uncomfortable on warm days. Though it's thin, you can double up the Buff gaiter to give yourself more protection against the elements.

It also blocks UV rays with a UPF 50 rating. If you burn easily no matter how much sunscreen you put on, this is a good gaiter to wear in the sun as an extra layer of protection.

The Buff also comes in a wider variety of prints and colors than most gaiters on this list, and comes in several different styles, include ones that repel insects, block wind and have extra insulation for cold weather.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Smartwool has built a solid reputation for making wool clothes and accessories that are soft enough you'll want to wear them. That's the same for this neck gaiter.

It has two layers of soft wool to help protect your face and neck from cold weather, while also wicking away moisture. The tube is short, so you can't wear it as many different ways as other buffs on this list. It's also wider than most I tested, which meant I had a hard time keeping it from falling down, but it'll fit just fine on someone with an average-size head.

Recommended, but not tested

I wasn't able to test these neck gaiters before publishing, but I'm including them because they have noteworthy features.

Patagonia

While I haven't gotten the chance to test this gaiter, I am calling it out because it's another good option for cold weather, especially when temperatures drop in the winter. Patagonia's a dependable brand and I'm giving it props for using 100% recycled fabric and using fair trade labor to make it.

Banana Republic

If, like me, you have a small head and face, you might struggle to keep some of the gaiters on this list from slipping down as you wear them. This Banana Republic gaiter has a similar design to the Biogaiter, with a drawstring that secures it around your head so it won't move. 

It's also made with a stretchy jersey fabric that I am going to bet is softer than the fabric on the Biogatier. It's also only $15, which makes it cheaper than almost all of the other products on this list.

Also tested

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

In my research, I wanted to see if the inexpensive gaiters that are all over Amazon are actually a good deal. I found this highly rated two-pack for $9 and what came in the mail is pretty much what I expected -- cheap and unremarkable. 

The fabric is breathable, but thin, so it's not all that protective against cold weather, dirt or spreading germs. If you're set on buying a cheap face covering, get a mask instead.

How I tested

I evaluated each of these neck gaiters on quality, design and value. Though neck gaiters have been used during the coronavirus pandemic as a nonmedical face covering, all but one product I tested -- the Biogaiter -- were not designed to slow the spread of germs and do not claim to do so. 

Since I don't have access to labs to scientifically test the efficacy of these neck gaiters as facial coverings, I conducted a match test popularized by Bill Nye. You hold a match or lighter about a foot from your mouth and blow as much as you can to extinguish the flame.

This test is not foolproof nor definitive, but it helps demonstrate how much air gets through the gaiter, and thus, how many droplets might escape. For reference, I have a two-layer cotton mask from Target that passes the match test.

With the single-layer neck gaiters, I doubled them up for the test. The only two that passed were the Biogaiter and the Smartwool neck gaiter, both of which have several layers of fabric. The Biogaiter even passed as I brought the flame closer and closer to my face. I was able to eventually blow out the flame while wearing the Smartwool neck gaiter, but I had to huff and puff hard several times to do so. For the rest, I could blow out the match with one puff.

Now playing: Watch this: What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus...

3:02

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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All the best neck gaiters to buy for 2020 – CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

If you're looking for an alternative to a cloth face mask to give your ears a break from the straps as you do your part to help slow the spread of coronavirus, try a neck gaiter (also called a buff or neck warmer). Gaiters also have a seasonally useful bonus: they can help to keep your nose and face warm in cold weather.

Below, you'll find our current picks for the best neck gaiters.

Do neck gaiters reduce the spread of the coronavirus?

Whether they slow the spread of the coronavirus is up for debate. A a study published in August suggested that neck gaiters might not capture droplets as well as other types of masks, but it only evaluated one neck gaiter while testing. The study's authors acknowledge that more testing is required to definitively say whether or not neck gaiters are effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Additional research suggests that neck gaiters are effective at containing respiratory droplets, so long as they use multiple layers of fabric.

Whether you're looking for a neck gaiter to protect you against the elements or as a face covering, this list has you, your face and your neck covered.

Read more: The best face masks for running

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

This neck gaiter won me over because it's made with a supersoft fabric, comes in multiple sizes and blocks UV rays. The small/medium size is narrow, so it's a great pick if you have a small head and face like me -- I didn't have any issues with it slipping down. It also comes in large/extra large for an average adult head. 

The soft bamboo fabric makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Since the fabric is thin, you'll want to double it up by folding it to use as a face covering. However, it's not the thinnest gaiter I tested and that's a good thing -- it feels substantial enough to keep you warm in cool weather and is also not too thick or stuffy to wear on hot days.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

This might be the only gaiter I trust to slow the spread of germs. It has multiple layers of fabric, including a filter. The Biogaiter advertises that it uses "G95 filtration technology" that filters out "99.75% of all airborne particles size 0.1 micron and larger" in the entire gaiter. That level of protection is higher than an N95 respirator, which blocks up to 95% of particles 0.3 microns and larger.

That protection comes at a cost of style and comfort. There's no way around it, the design on this gaiter is, well, ugly. It's basically a cloth sack without a bottom and it tightens around your head using an elastic cord. In order to keep it from slipping down or riding up right into my eyes, I had to tighten it until it put pressure on my nose, which wasn't comfortable.

I'm not going to write off this gaiter though, because everyone's head is different and it filters the air, something none of the other gaiters I tested claimed to do.

If you're seeking a neck gaiter that plausibly slows the spread of the coronavirus, and you're willing to shell out $60, this is your best bet.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The Buff Original gaiter is longer than the others I tested, which makes it versatile because you can wear it several different ways. The fabric tube is seamless and tagless, and it's lightweight enough that it doesn't feel uncomfortable on warm days. Though it's thin, you can double up the Buff gaiter to give yourself more protection against the elements.

It also blocks UV rays with a UPF 50 rating. If you burn easily no matter how much sunscreen you put on, this is a good gaiter to wear in the sun as an extra layer of protection.

The Buff also comes in a wider variety of prints and colors than most gaiters on this list, and comes in several different styles, including ones that repel insects, block wind and have extra insulation for cold weather.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Smartwool has built a solid reputation for making wool clothes and accessories that are soft enough you'll want to wear them. That's the same for this neck gaiter.

It has two layers of soft wool to help protect your face and neck from cold weather, while also wicking away moisture. The tube is short, so you can't wear it as many different ways as other buffs on this list. It's also wider than most I tested, which meant I had a hard time keeping it from falling down, but it'll fit just fine on someone with an average-size head.

Recommended, but not tested

I wasn't able to test these neck gaiters before publishing, but I'm including them because they have noteworthy features.

Patagonia

While I haven't gotten the chance to test this gaiter, I am calling it out because it's another good option for cold weather, especially when temperatures drop in the winter. Patagonia's a dependable brand and I'm giving it props for using 100% recycled fabric and using fair trade labor to make it.

Banana Republic

If, like me, you have a small head and face, you might struggle to keep some of the gaiters on this list from slipping down as you wear them. This Banana Republic gaiter has a similar design to the Biogaiter, with a drawstring that secures it around your head so it won't move. 

It's also made with a stretchy jersey fabric that I am going to bet is softer than the fabric on the Biogatier. It's also only $15, which makes it cheaper than almost all of the other products on this list.

Also tested

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

In my research, I wanted to see if the inexpensive gaiters that are all over Amazon are actually a good deal. I found this highly rated two-pack for $9 and what came in the mail is pretty much what I expected -- cheap and unremarkable. 

The fabric is breathable, but thin, so it's not all that protective against cold weather, dirt or spreading germs. If you're set on buying a cheap face covering, get a mask instead.

How I tested

I evaluated each of these neck gaiters on quality, design and value. Though neck gaiters have been used during the coronavirus pandemic as a nonmedical face covering, all but one product I tested -- the Biogaiter -- were not designed to slow the spread of germs and do not claim to do so. 

Since I don't have access to labs to scientifically test the efficacy of these neck gaiters as facial coverings, I conducted a match test popularized by Bill Nye. You hold a match or lighter about a foot from your mouth and blow as much as you can to extinguish the flame.

This test is not foolproof nor definitive, but it helps demonstrate how much air gets through the gaiter, and thus, how many droplets might escape. For reference, I have a two-layer cotton mask from Target that passes the match test.

With the single-layer neck gaiters, I doubled them up for the test. The only two that passed were the Biogaiter and the Smartwool neck gaiter, both of which have several layers of fabric. The Biogaiter even passed as I brought the flame closer and closer to my face. I was able to eventually blow out the flame while wearing the Smartwool neck gaiter, but I had to huff and puff hard several times to do so. For the rest, I could blow out the match with one puff.

Now playing: Watch this: What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus...

3:02

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

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Athleta sale: The best clothes to buy that are up to 70% off – CNET

Premium activewear brand Athleta is having a warehouse sale this week, with deals up to 70% off full price. The "secret sale" runs from now until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 27. Items will go fast, so shop now if you want to snag anything.

Athleta makes activewear that's cute enough to wear outside of the gym but performs well for your toughest workouts. The catch is that the brand can be pricey -- full-price leggings can run $100 and up, and tops can set you back more than $50. That's all to say that the best time to buy anything from Athleta is during a sale.

Check out some of the best deals from the sale below. You'll need to enter the promo code "SECRETSALE" at check out to get the biggest discount. All items are final sale and while supplies last -- products can sell out at any time. We do our best to keep this list updated.

Athleta

The deepest discounts for this Athleta sale is mostly a collection of swimsuit tops. I picked this $5 rash guard because it's more versatile than a bikini top. It's a good top for any water workout -- from paddle boarding to surfing -- to protect you against UV rays and getting scraped up by sand. You can layer it over any bathing suit or, if you need more support, a sports bra.

Athleta

An Athleta swimsuit for $15? That seems too good to be true, but it's not. I personally like this tropical print, but if you want something simple, this striped one-piece suit is also on sale.

Athleta

Athleta's ultra-stretchy denim makes these jeans versatile -- you can wear them to brunch or on your bike commute (there's even a small reflective strip in the cuff for cyclists).

Athleta

With fall less than a month away, I couldn't pass up including this plus-size cozy jacket. The soft fleece will keep you warm as you hike or walk outdoors. I have to hand it to Athleta for steadily growing its plus-size selection to cater to more shoppers. There are several more plus-size items in the sale, including these printed tights, this colorful mesh top and this workout tank.

Athleta

This slim-fit tank has a built-in bra and minimal straps that won't get in the way of any of your workouts. It also protects you against the sun with UPF 50+. You can still get it in three colors: black, navy and red.

Athleta

The lightweight Acadia jacket is water-repellent and made from recycled nylon. It has elastic bungee cords at the waist and sleeve cuffs so you can adjust how it fits. While it's well-suited for any activity, I like that it has a motorcycle-jacket vibe, which makes it feel more like streetwear than activewear.

Athleta

These plus-size workout tights/leggings are a great deal at just $35. You can buy them in pink or brown and they come in sizes 1X to 3X. You can also get them on sale for the same price in "regular" sizes.

Athleta

Tie dye is perhaps the most popular fashion trend of 2020, so naturally I had to recommend this crop top, which also provides lightweight support as a sports bra for A to C cups. It's sweat-wicking and breathable to help keep you cool and dry during your workouts.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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FDA approved vs. FDA cleared: Why you need to know the difference – CNET

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for telling us which foods, drugs and medical devices are safe for us to use. Most of us assume that means anything that's been cleared or approved by the FDA has been rigorously tested, but that's not always true.

There's a big distinction between a drug or medical device that's been FDA approved and those that are FDA cleared. Given that more and more tech products are being vetted by FDA, it's important to understand the difference.

I have to tip my hat to John Oliver from Last Week Tonight for the inspiration for this guide. In his June 2, 2019 episode, he covered the dangers of using older medical devices to get FDA clearance, which I'll explain below.

Now playing: Watch this: We tested the Apple Watch EKG against a hospital EKG

4:28

What does the FDA regulate?

For the most part, the Food and Drug Administration evaluates the safety and efficacy of:

  • Prescription drugs for humans and animals
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Biologics (e.g. vaccines, blood products, biotechnology products and gene therapy)
  • Dietary supplements (not all are subject to FDA regulation)
  • Medical devices (everything from wood tongue depressors to pacemakers)
  • Surgical implants
  • Food additives
  • Cosmetics
  • Products that give off radiation (e.g. X-rays, microwave ovens)
  • Tobacco products
  • Infant formula
07-alivecor-kardia-band-for-apple-watch

Before Apple's ECG app was cleared, AliveCor's KardiaBand allowed the Apple Watch to generate an EKG.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What does 'FDA approved' mean?

"FDA approved" means that the agency has determined that the "benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use." Manufacturers must submit a premarket approval (PMA) application and the results of clinical testing in order to get approval.

When deciding to approve a product or drug, the FDA has to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. The FDA is usually inclined to approve a product that has a higher risk if the potential benefit is significant -- like an artificial heart valve that can save someone's life.

What products need to be FDA approved?

FDA approval is usually mandatory to market or sell products in the US that might have a significant risk of injury or illness, but can also benefit your health -- such as prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vaccines and Class III medical devices.

The FDA categorizes medical devices into Class III, Class II and Class I. Complex medical devices that are implanted in your body, life-sustaining, or have the potential to cause significant injury or illness in the body are in Class III. Those include implanted pacemakers, replacement heart valves and even breast implants.

Lower-risk devices and products used outside of the body, like condoms, motorized wheelchairs and bandages, fall into Class II and Class I. For reference, Apple's ECG app for the Apple Watch is in Class II.

What does 'FDA cleared' mean?

Class II and Class I medical devices are usually "cleared" by the FDA, which means the manufacturer can demonstrate that their product is "substantially equivalent to another (similar) legally marketed device" that already has FDA clearance or approval. Those already-cleared products are called a predicate.

For instance, let's say hypothetically Apple wanted to create a pacemaker, using the same design and features of one that already exists. The company could get FDA clearance if it can compare its product to another that's already on the market and demonstrate that it is it just as safe and effective, and works in the same way.

Companies must submit a "premarket notification submission" or 510(k) to the FDA so that it can review the product and clear it. Once the FDA declares that a new medical device is substantially equivalent to a predicate, it is "cleared," and can be marketed and sold in the US.

The system isn't perfect

The problem with the FDA's approval system, as John Oliver pointed out, is that often companies get their product cleared by using older predicates that were later recalled for safety reasons.

Just because a device was FDA approved or cleared does not always mean it is safe. That's why you see ads for class-action lawsuits asking if you or a loved one used a FDA-approved product, and suffered permanent bodily harm or died as a result. Those defective products ended up causing significant health problems, even though they were cleared or approved.

It's important to understand that the FDA does not develop any of the products it evaluates for approval. Nor does it conduct its own testing -- instead, it reviews the results of independent lab and clinical testing to determine if the product, drug or food additive is safe and as effective as it claims to be.

Which consumer tech products are FDA cleared?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of medical tech devices and products that have been recently cleared by the FDA, but a few we've covered at CNET include:

Why does this matter?

More and more tech companies are creating products that can measure vital signs and watch for patterns in your heart rhythm that, in the past, only professional healthcare devices could. We are only going to see more consumer health tech devices in the coming years, and many will be FDA cleared.

Despite the ongoing problems of products getting cleared based on older, unsafe predicates, don't be turned off by that label. Most of these consumer devices won't be invasive or likely to cause significant bodily harm. But if the day ever comes when Apple creates a Class III device, at least you'll be informed enough to understand the implications. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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