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"I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you're good at." - Louis C. K.

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"We now have evidence that a social media fad has led to catastrophic results." - Dr. Elvin Montbard, Harvard University

An Unusual Experience: A Terrifying Day in Boston

For Boston resident Megan Brown, January 11th should have begun as a typical weekday morning. Megan Brown woke up to her alarm at 6 am in her North End apartment and then things went terribly wrong. She was awake and conscious, yet unable to move. Her body lay completely still as her alarm continued to ring.

Her roommate, Ali Sherwin, recalled, "I knew something really weird was going on because Megan was an early riser who always jumped out of bed to get a head start on her day before leaving for work. It seemed very strange to hear her alarm blaring for a few minutes without interruption. I don't think I had ever heard it for more than 10 seconds."

Sherwin, understandably concerned, knocked on Brown's door, and, lacking a response, rushed in. She found her roommate and friend of eight years lying completely still with her eyes open. Sherwin, a physician at Tufts Medical Center, checked Brown's pulse and breath, both of which seemed normal, and then began to gently shake Brown. After several minutes of increasingly frantic attempts to help her friend wake up, Sherwin said, "Megan finally began blinking nervously, took a deep breath, and asked me why she couldn't move. She was terrified." Sherwin had called 9-1-1 and an ambulance arrived soon after Brown's temporary paralysis ended. Brown was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for testing and evaluation.

At first, the medical staff believed that Brown was experiencing sleep paralysis, a state in which individuals endure a brief inability to move, typically a few seconds. However, after realizing that by the time Brown was able to move, nearly 20 minutes had elapsed, the staff knew that something else was going on. More tests were done, including an evaluation of Brown's recent activities. Brown had taken part in four "Mannequin Challenges" as an organizer and participant, and that fact began to become more of a focus of the medical investigation. Brown was documented as the first case of hyper-extended sleep paralysis (HESP). The medical community is now worried that an outbreak may afflict tens of thousands of people over the next few months.

The Mannequin Challenge: All Fun & Games

The Mannequin Challenge, in which participants remain motionless while the camera filming them weaves its way around and between them, became a viral social media phenomenon last fall. It was popular in diverse groups across the globe, with participants including the Portugal national soccer team and star Cristiano Ronaldo, NBA superstar Steph Curry and his wife, singer-songwriter Adele, and Michelle Obama.

Gym Mannequin Challenge

The above video shows why the Mannequin Challenge became so popular: it is fun, allows for creativity, and looks really cool. As you can see, everyone in the video looks like a mannequin, carefully holding unique poses as the camera sweeps around them.

An estimated 22 million Americans have participated in the challenge since it began last October.

Long-Term Effects: A Warning From the Scientific Community

Megan Brown's case seemed like an anomaly at first. Over the last two months, however, similar cases were documented in Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv. While the Mannequin Challenge appears to be a playful and innocent activity, new research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that participants are at-risk for experiencing hyper-extended sleep paralysis (HESP).

Sleep paralysis itself is not uncommon: 40 percent of Americans are affected at some point during their lifetime and six percent endure recurring sleep paralysis. Yet sleep paralysis does not last very long and is considered uncomfortable yet safe. NIH has reported 62 cases of HESP in which otherwise healthy individuals have experienced "consciousness without mobility" for 15 to 50 minutes at a time. In all cases, those affected had participated in at least one Mannequin Challenge event.

HESP can be dangerous -- and extraordinarily scary -- for those afflicted. Harvard Medical School neurologist Dr. Franklin Lestar noted, "the most disconcerting finding is that there does not seem to be any discernible predictor for which Mannequin Challenge participants will be afflicted." Therefore, there is no way to know which of the millions of people worldwide may experience hyper-extended paralysis the next time they wake up.

Early Hypothesis on Triggers for HESP

While the consensus is that the Mannequin Challenge causes HESP, the exact relationship between the event and the disorder has not been established. University of Pennsylvania neurologist Dr. R. Anthony Harris shared his hypothesis in the American Journal of Medicine. He argued, "As silly as it sounds, the old wives' tale we tell our children that 'if you keep making that face, it will stay that way forever,' has some truth. However, it is not the body that stays that way on its own. It is the mind that creates neuro-sensogenic loops that prevent the brain from communicating with the body and instructing it to move.

There is ample evidence to support Harris' position. A (notably small) study conducted by the Mayo Clinic closely monitored the brain activity of six individuals who have experienced Mannequin Challenge-induced HESP for 10 consecutive days and nights. Four of the study's participants experienced at least one episode of HESP during the study, and, in each case, the brain was firing neurons that were unable to transfer due to an expansion of synaptic clefts. Mayo Clinic Senior Director of Research Dr. Sally Chung said, "The brain knows what it wants to do, but it is unable to send the signals far, which effectively creates a series of 'unanswered calls.'" Chung says that eventually, the clefts shrink, which ends the HESP incident, therefore bringing mobility back to the individual afflicted.

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Core Flyte Rap Video

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Core Flyte & BOSU Rap Video

Check out our amazing customers combining Core Flytes and BOSUs for awesome exercises.

Learn more about Core Flytes here.

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"Change is the end result of all true learning." -Leo Buscaglia

A new year brings changes we can all adapt to. January is a time where the gym is a little more crowded, but aside from that, it's business as usual. 2016, for some of us, was a year of routine. We counted reps, pushed hard, and felt the satisfaction of putting in a good workout. Inevitably, with all this focus, certain trends might have slipped under our radar. Luckily, we can give you a heads up for what can be expected in 2017.

Wearable Technology

While Flyte Fitness continues to pave the way for mechanical ball transfer gym technology, computerized gym-tech will also have a huge role to play in the coming year. It's hard to imagine computers in the gym. However, over the past few years, they have been steadily entering the exercise room. In 2017, we can be sure that trend will continue to effect the lifestyle of gym-goers - but how exactly?

According to The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the biggest exercise science and medicine organization in the world, wearable computer tech will dominate 2017. Their survey, which gathers information from fitness professionals of all types, examines new technology and how it will influence the way we train. Wearable tech includes GPS devices, heart-rate monitors, and smart watches. These devices tend to be more geared toward cardiovascular exercises. For our workout routines, monitoring progress in terms of time and exertion is important. Wearable tech lets us do just that. Now, we can measure steps, heart-rate, reps, time (that one's easy), and location via these devices. Experts in the industry are working to integrate AI too. By capturing data from your workout and comparing it to your existing health patterns a computer will, in the not so distant future, be able to suggest the right workout schedule to meet your goals.

All this change is happening so quickly. Fortunately, our gyms aren't run by super-humanoids (yet). But in the meantime, here are 4 more trending workout related topics for 2017:

Body Weight Training

In addition to computer tech, another emerging gym trend is body weight training. This type of training requires little equipment, leading to convenient and less expensive workouts. Although humans have been using this method for a while, only recently has it really started to catch on. We recommend adding instability into these workouts with Core Flyte. This works more muscle groups, adds an extra creative challenge, as well as improves balance. When creating Core Flyte, portability was also a goal of ours. We wanted to keep the convenience of body weight training, but give the results of a multi-machine gym workout.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

It can be good to speed things up from time to time. High-Intensity Interval Training uses short bursts of energy with limited recovery time. This workout style will continue to make headlines in 2017. It's tiring, but effective. HIIT has both cardio and muscular benefits, which is one of the reasons it's become so popular. In addition to that, we've also noticed people tend to be more satisfied with their workouts after HIIT sessions.

Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals

If you're interested in a fitness career, we have good news. ASCM predicts that fitness education and certification programs will continue to grow. Because the health and wellness field is becoming more complex, there is an increasing need for professionals to lend their advice. Speaking to a fitness professional (or just a fellow gym member) helps to open our eyes to new exercises and muscle groups.

Strength Training

Although we can all appreciate a good cardio, there's nothing like hitting the heavy weights.

Linking low-reps strength training without adding too much weight by adding instability is what we love! Instability can mean that by only adding a little more weight, the exercise can become exponentially more difficult. In the coming year, we hope to discover new strength challenging options that integrate Flyte Fitness with all types of other gym equipment.

Final thoughts

It's thrilling to see the volume of customer videos with newly discovered Core Flyte applications! And it's great to communicate those innovative ideas back to the Flyte Community. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for daily updates! Send us your unique Core Flyte applications - you might set the next big trend in fitness!

Be Flyte Fit,

Jeff Latimer

Marketing and Customer Engagement Manager

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Learn About The Core Flyte V2 launch

We are excited to announce the launch of Core Flyte V2!

Inspired by NASA, the V2 takes Core Flytes to the next level, with:

- Less friction on ball transfer units for more fluid movement

- Re-engineered top for more comfort

- A new carrying case

Order your Core Flyte V2 training tools now! (Note: the V2 is only available on our website. Our partners, including Amazon, do not yet offer it).

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