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Missing Your Regular Runs Are You?

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Beth Hartman

So, now that the air is getting a bit warmer, and Spring has finally arrived,(Officially) are you feeling a little guilty at not running the way you were used to before the snow began to fall?

Well, I’ve been there with you. There have been times in the past where I succumbed to the temptation of the snooze button more often then I’d like to admit. I went as far as preemptively laying out my running clothes, shoes, headphones, and all of my other must-have running gear, the night before. Trying my best to cover all basis, I synced my favorite running playlists, and go to sleep dreaming of my feet pounding the pavement in the morning — this is the best way to start my day, or at least it was.

Life can get pretty hectic when you have a demanding job, a family, pets, and various extracurricular activities, but you know that you feel on top of your game and like the best version of yourself when you’re able to get a run in. For me, and I’m guessing like you, running isn’t just another item on an endless to-do list — it’s our favorite part of the day, and it makes you feel alive. Running is non-negotiable, or at least it was back in the fall. But I learned it’s important to anticipate life’s curveballs and have a plan B in place in case your scheduled workout gets derailed. Alarm clock mishaps, inclement weather, meetings that run late, family obligations...all of these have the power to throw off your running routine. And they’re the oldest excuses in the book of “Reasons Why I Skipped My Run Even Though I Love Running and It’s My Favorite Part of the Day!”

Much like shoes, it’s out with the old and in with the new when it comes to excuses. We all know to retire shoes when they’ve logged around 300 miles, so it’s time to retire the typical excuses you’ve been using for far too long.

If you like to run after work, there are naturally some obstacles in place that can make a regular run difficult to maintain on a regular basis. Let’s face it, I don’t like to leave work if what I wanted to get accomplished for the day remains unfinished. I’d rather have my plate cleared so that I can start fresh the next day, ready for what that day’s workload delivers. But that means skipping my after-hours runs or if I do get it in, I’m feeling rushed or I may scale back my run time so I’m not neglecting my family obligations as well.

While you may love running after work, at this time in your life that running schedule might feel untenable. You have two options here: gradually train yourself to become a morning runner, or proactively block off time on your calendar a few days a week after work. Seeing the blocked off space in your calendar might serve as a gentle reminder to make the most of your time at the office and really focus on the most important tasks. Nowadays, it’s possible to fill your entire day with to-dos, but try honing in on the things that absolutely must get done every day. You’ll likely find there are things that can wait until tomorrow, so you can lace up and hit the road guilt-free. Then you’ll come in energized and refreshed the next day, ready to rock.

If you’re trying to get back in the grove of running again, but you're feeling a bit down on yourself because your gait is not what it used to be prior to taking some time off, don’t fret it. Especially if you're competing with your work environment. I know, I’ve been there and my job requires me to travel from time to time to show my face and press the flesh so that we maintain good client relationships. But that also can play havoc with my wishful routine of running on a reg. basis.

If you’re feeling down on yourself about a “slow” pace, not running is probably the worst thing you can do! Think back to why you fell in love with running in the first place. Think of how you feel before, during, and after a run. With the advent of so much running technology, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers game. In order to get back to where you were, it’s time to lace up and get back out there. Running for the sake of running is sometimes just what you need to snap yourself out of a funk, so make a plan to get back out there regardless of your pace. That doesn’t mean you should not be aware of how you are doing, pace wise, or how much distance you are putting behind you. In fact, that’s probably just the opposite of what you should be doing if you’re trying to get back into the running, swing of things again. If you don’t have a good activity monitor or better yet, one that has a reliable heart rate monitor incorporated in its tec-based architecture, you should have one. A good reliable one is the Fitbit Alta HR Activity Tracker  It Automatically tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes & hourly activity. While being of the newest in the Fitbit line it has the new Purepulse heart rate monitoring technology so that you can better track your calorie burn, gauge exercise intensity, and see resting heart rate trends.

You know that no matter your speed, style or where you start, you end up in a happier place when you run. You feel like the best, most confident version of yourself when you make you're running a priority, again. Hopefully, some of these solutions are just what you need to break free of the day-to-day things that have been holding you back so you can get back to doing what you love: running.

See you on the trails!

 

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So, Why Do I Need To Have An Activity Monitor…. Refresh My Memory!!

Posted on March 16, 2017 by Beth Hartman

Now here at HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com, we like to think of ourselves as a company that wants to help everyone live a healthier lifestyle. We do that by making available the best, the most popular and latest health related products in the field in one easy to shop on-line shop!

We especially cater to promoting and of course selling wrist-based monitors that provide you with the best data you need to monitor your progress and in turn reach the goals you’ve set for yourselves. And we applaud you for that. The healthier you are, the better you will be as a person, father, mother, son and daughter to the ones you care about.

So we are just putting down here below a few reasons why you should be wearing an activity monitor if you haven’t made that commitment as yet,,,, and we need to ask, why haven’t you??

Activity trackers are ideal for any minor or major fitness goal. This includes training for a triathlon, losing weight and keeping fit. A fitness tracker acts like a personal trainer that you carry around.

The best way to ensure that your fitness goals are fulfilled is through tracking your daily activities and measuring your performance constantly. It is a great device for newbies in the health and fitness sector and people who do not exercise regularly.

Keep track of your progress
The urge to know how much you have achieved in your fitness training project is natural. This is because it boosts your motivation levels. These trackers assist in keeping a record of your exercise statistics, generate infographics and reports. A good fitness device will include tools such as; calorie counter, step counter, distance tracker, speed and heart rate monitor.

Free workout trainer and tips
Some individuals may lack the funds and time to workout in a gym or hire a personal trainer. For such individuals, it may be hard to plan a workable fitness routine and adhere to it religiously.
Luckily, fitness tracking devices offer different workout ideas that are tailored to cater for your current fitness level.

In addition, some activity trackers offer a wide range of features to help you get the most out of your training data, like the Fitbit Blaze  which tracks your workouts, monitor your performance stats, and gauge your progress.

Helps in setting achievable goals
The best way to ensure that you achieve the best exercise results is ensuring that you set realistic goals that are achievable.
For example, wanting to move from a sedentary lifestyle to complete fitness within one month is unrealistic. An activity tracker assists you to set and achieve realistic goals within the recommended time frame. This ensures that you do not get demotivated or tempted to quit halfway.

Monitoring your health
Research has proven that most doctors are recommending mobile health technology to patients to help in managing their health on their own. They view fitness trackers as beneficial for overall daily self-care.

Through recording your heart rate, burned calories daily and tracking every step you take, you are able to monitor your health and adjust accordingly. Self-tracking devices allow you to adhere to a healthier diet, exercise more and sleep better. It really is a win-win situation.

Habit formation
After monitoring your activity and sleep patterns and recording how they affect your overall health, activity trackers recommend easy to make changes and manageable activity goals. The changes and goals are designed to enable you to incorporate healthier habits into your daily routine.

These changes may include replacing a coffee break with an afternoon walk. As you achieve the set goals, you are allowed to level up and add other healthy habits to your daily routine. We all need that little push from time to time, but if you get into the habit of monitoring your stats its going to be much easier to maintain that healthy mindset and get yourself up and moving more and more each day

User-friendly fitness tracker interface
The main reason behind using a fitness tracker is to boost your daily workouts and make them easier to achieve. An easy to use tracker is very motivating towards achieving your health and fitness goals. Most trackers feature inbuilt screens, vibrating alarms, statistics and history tracking. These features make it easy for users to monitor their progress at a glance without being distracted from their workout sessions. A good example of this is the new Mio Slice Activity Heart Rate Monitor Is the first wearable that provides all-day heart rate tracking and a PAI score - the most meaningful way to track all your activity, motivating you to stay healthy.

Helps you to stay motivated
Exercising includes having good and bad weeks. We all experience them because sleep and activity patterns vary across the weeks and months. The main aim of having, and more importantly using a fitness tracker is to determine such habits that are easily maintainable to enable you in achieving your long-term exercise goals. No matter what for of physical activity your doing to push yourself as hard as you can. One such device is the Garmin Vivosmart HR+GPS This Activity / Heart Rate Monitor does it all for you witht the convenience of having your workout coach right there on your wrist!
Moreover, most activity tracking devices, like this one, allow you to share your progress with friends on social media and create private workout groups with competitive goals.

Quantified Self-Concept
The Quantified Self-Concept sounds a lot more intense than it really is.
The idea is simply that using wearable tech to collect detailed data about everything you do, eat and feel will reveal patterns and correlations that can help you improve your life. This way, you, yourself are in control of how you will function in a healthier fitter manner, each and every day. Again, your choice to make but a healthier life and style of living is the end result you wanted, right?  So what are you waiting for?

Monitor Your Diet Regularly
Diet is like the backbone of fitness, and apps can help one to monitor food intake and diet plans regularly. People usually cut calories and fat and start focusing on high protein foods to help lose weight. Fitness trackers can help to track the food intake as well. If you have for example a Fitbit Blaze Blaze   or other activity monitors   or heart rate monitors, you will be able to track your food consumption and the calories you have burnt. Each of these types usually has calorie counting built into their tiny mainframe to keep you current with what you are taking in, calorie wise and also how many calories you are burning off each and every day.

Bottom Line on why you should be using a Fitness Tracker!!
There’s solid research proving that simply keeping track of what we do can significantly improve our health. Self-tracking can actually make us follow a healthier diet, sleep better and exercise more- simply by letting us know the areas we need to improve and if we are actually improving them. Fitness trackers provide this feedback in real time.

So that is our lesson for the day, for those of you that are health conscious, we are probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but for those new to our blog, we hope this info. will be helpful.

Some of us need just a little push to keep us motivated and making a goal and using today’s technology to help us get to it is a no brainer. And we hope YOU take advantage of what technology has to offer. And we at HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com  will work to bring you the latest in health monitoring devices and other health-related products to help you achieve your goals of reaching and maintaining a healthier you!

 

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Winter Months and The Increase in High Blood Pressure

Posted on March 08, 2017 by Beth Hartman

We all know that the winter season brings us the coldest days of the year, it’s natural to keep an eye on outside temperatures to make decisions about outdoor apparel and transportation. If you are among the one in three adults in the United States with high blood pressure, you should also check your blood pressure frequently, particularly in winter. Based on the numbers, you may need adjustments in your lifestyle as well.

A study conducted by the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., revealed that blood pressures are higher in winter months. Published earlier this year in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, the study reviewed health records of 443,632 veterans nationwide during a five-year period. The research showed that blood pressures were consistently higher during the winter in 60 percent of the veterans studied.

Because the study’s data also revealed that the pattern held true even in southern climates with milder winters, the researchers speculated that perhaps sedentary lifestyles and weight gain during winter months might be partly to blame. Other physicians and researchers feel that stress and food choices with high fat or sodium may be potential culprits for higher blood pressure at this time of year.

Let’s Talk Numbers
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) involves blood that travels through arteries with an increased force. If the heart is pumping against high pressure for a long time, like any other muscle it thickens and eventually becomes less effective. Damage can occur to the heart or other organs such as the brain, kidneys, and eyes. Over time, hypertension raises the risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.”

Blood pressure is measured as systolic pressure (when the heart is contracting over diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes between heartbeats. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. Hypertension is diagnosed at 140/90 or higher (130/80 if you are diabetic or have kidney disease). If your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139, or your diastolic pressure is between 80 and 89, you are considered at risk or “pre-hypertensive.”

Should You Be Worried?
High blood pressure is often referred to as the ’silent killer’ since it may occur for decades with no symptoms.

More than 20 percent of those with high blood pressure are unaware that they have it, and more than half of those with hypertension are not treating it, according to the American Heart Association.

While most people have no symptoms at all, if blood pressure rises to very high levels, you may experience a headache, dizziness, blurred vision, shortness of breath, or abdominal or chest pain. Unfortunately, a number of people only find out that they have hypertension after they suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Knowing the risk factors for high blood pressure is one way to evaluate your chance of developing the disorder.

Age is one of the biggest risk factors since arteries narrow with the years, which naturally increases blood pressure. So, even if your blood pressure has been fine in the past, regular checks are still needed.

The following factors can increase your chance of developing high blood pressure:

Age: Generally, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure increase up to middle age. By age 50, the diastolic pressure levels off, while the systolic pressure continues to increase.
Gender: High blood pressure is more common in men up to middle age. Women are more prone to hypertension after menopause.
Genetics: High blood pressure often runs in families.
Race: More than 40 percent of blacks have hypertension, and it often develops earlier in life.
Weight: Those who are overweight or obese have a larger volume of blood, which increases pressure on artery walls.
Alcohol: Having more than two drinks a day can elevate blood pressure.
Smoking: Chemicals in tobacco can damage and narrow arteries.
Sedentary lifestyle: Inactivity causes higher heart rates, which elevates pressure on arteries and makes the heart work harder.
Poor diet: A diet that is high in salt, fat, and sugar can raise the risk of both high blood pressure and obesity.
Other conditions: High cholesterol, sleep apnea, diabetes and kidney disease all increase the risk of hypertension.

Frequent Testing is Key
Blood pressure cuff in the shape of a heart, You know the drill; every time you visit the doctor, a nurse checks your blood pressure. This is not just a formality — it’s an important medical precaution. And for those who have a high risk for hypertension or already have high blood pressure, once a year is not enough.

If you have borderline or high blood pressure, it’s well worth investing in an at-home blood pressure kit. You are more apt to take regular readings if you can do so at home.

It is recommended that those with blood pressure monitors take them to their physicians to check the monitor's accuracy as well. HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com has a wide variety of Blood Pressure monitoring devices that you can select from. The traditional kind to ones small enough to fit around your wrist and are automatic so they are easy to use and provide accurate readings at a glance. To check out the full line of Blood Pressure Monitors and accessories, just click on this link and see how easy it is for you to have your readings right in your own home.

It is also recommended that patients check their blood pressure at various times of the day and in different situations. If you take medication and your reading is lower in the morning and higher later, you may need to speak with your doctor about changing the time that you take your medication. Additionally, if you start to identify stressful situations that trigger elevations in your blood pressure, it may serve as a motivation to make positive lifestyle changes such as exercising and general stress reduction.

Improving Your Numbers
The reason for frequent blood pressure readings is to aim for early diagnosis and treatment. If your reading is high, you’ll also need to come back for more frequent checks, and your physician will discuss lifestyle changes with you. Actions that can help to reduce blood pressure readings include:

Maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise regularly (30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, five days a week).
If you smoke, quit.
Eat a heart-healthy diet, such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, which is low in fat and sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
Avoid excess alcohol, having no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.
Manage stress.

Raising Awareness, Lowering Risk
Because blood pressure counts rise in winter, frequent checks and wise lifestyle choices are even more imperative now.

See your physician regularly, exercise and eat well, and, if you do need hypertensive medication take it as it is prescribed. Prevention is the best medicine to keep blood pressure in check and avoid life-changing cardiac events.

With the right choices, whether you are currently hypertensive or not, you can be in fine shape to emerge from the winter doldrums and greet the spring!  Which if you look at the calendar, spring is just around the corner.  But, high blood pressure is with you every season of the year, manage it-----manage YOUR LIFE!

 

 

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Running During the Winter Months, Some People Think It’s the Best Time Of Year To Run

Posted on March 01, 2017 by Beth Hartman

Ok, it's now March 1st and while the meteorologists are hyping that for them it's the first day of Spring, we all know that at any time the shoe can drop and we can be looking at another 6inches to a foot of new snow, even with the climate change hype!  

One thing we should all be doing, winter, spring, summer or fall is to continue with our exercise routines, especially if we like to run!  

A lot of people embraced running, jogging or walking as part of a resolution, back on January 1st. to finally get themselves in better shape. Some hopefully, took the pledge to a better healthier lifestyle a year or two past. Unless you belong to a

gym or visit an enclosed area to walk like a mall, you get yourself going and head out in that cold, crisp air. There are some people that never take their running shoes out of the closet, once the temperatures dip below 35degrees.

Those that are serious about maintaining their running routines embrace the winter months. For them, there is just something special about getting outdoors in the winter months that make them feel great after they run.

A lot of people have set themselves goals to reach for the up-coming year. Maybe a half-marathon or a full marathon or maybe even a Spartan race to see if there up to it. Well to get themselves in shape or get themselves worked up to their physical peak, continuous running, even in the cold can help them achieve their goals. And we all need a goal to focus on, right?

Set a Specific Goal: There is nothing more motivating than to train for a race or specific goal. You can plan to run a 5K, half marathon or reach a number of miles every month. You'll have instant motivation in knowing you have to train for the race or hit your target mileage. Reward yourself when you reach your goals, then set another one.

The Right Winter Apparel: Having the right apparel makes all the difference in the world. Layering is the key to avoiding over- or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind; pants, tights, and top that wick the moisture away from your skin; and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely—like fleece—that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin. We are lucky to have a great line of outdoor gear that can help you to be more visible during the winter months. The Proviz line (https://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/collections/proviz-all) will help keep you warm, dry and visible to oncoming traffic to help keep you safe.

Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves, tights and a few long-sleeve shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don't need many layers in most winter conditions.

Dress for 15 to 20 Degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.
Run During Light and Warmer Times of Day: If possible, run during daylight hours so you can absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter. You'll get your miles in during the warmest time of day and come back with a smile on your face

Stay Low: Shorten your running stride and keep your feet lower to the ground. You will run more efficiently and reduce the risk of slipping, falling or straining muscles. Choose to run on fresh snow rather than ice or packed snow. You will get better traction on fresh snow and reduce the chance of slipping. Watch out for snow-covered cracks and holes in the road.

Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.

Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket to avoid freezing.

Start into the Wind: Start your run into the wind so you have the wind at your back on your way home. You'll avoid getting chilled by the wind after you've been sweating.

Above all, keep your eyes open and take in all that Mother Nature brings during the winter months. There is something about the way the snow glistens upon the hills that make running in this season something to behold. So gear up, warm up and hit the roads and trails and enjoy, enjoy the beautiful winter running season!

 

 

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How to Exercise Outdoors in Winter Weather

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Beth Hartman

Let’s face it — it’s tough to find the motivation to exercise outside these days. During the work week, sometimes both parts of our daily commutes are completed in darkness. And while winter sunshine is appreciated, it doesn’t do much to warm us up. But before you give up on the idea of venturing outside for a round of physical activity and instead restrict yourself to the crowded, stuffy gym for the next few months, it may be worth giving the idea of a winter workout a second thought.

Exercisers are often concerned about the possible safety hazards that come along with chilly sweat sessions, but there is surprisingly little to worry about. Simply suiting up appropriately with enough layers made of moisture-wicking fabrics keeps the body at a healthy temperature and functioning the same way it would in any other workout environment. Sure, a slippery moment on an icy running path could lead to injury, but exercising outside during the wintertime actually provides some benefits that may not be achieved as efficiently elsewhere.

If you can pull yourself away from that cozy seat in front of the fireplace and shut off the tv, you’ll reap some benefits of exercising out in the cold weather — and you might even learn to embrace it.

You’ll burn more calories.

As your body works harder to regulate its core temperature with the outside, you’ll burn a few more calories during your wintry workout compared to one conducted indoors. While the calorie burn varies with each person’s body mass and the extremity of the temperature, it can be a nice morale booster, that you’re pushing yourself more in that cold outside air.

You’ll strengthen your heart.

Cold weather also makes the heart work harder in its task to distribute blood throughout the body. For an unhealthy heart that struggles to manage the additional stress, this process can exacerbate illness and injury. But a regular exerciser with cardiovascular endurance can make their heart muscle even stronger with these cold-weather sessions, better preparing their body for more strenuous workouts in the future — not to mention other non-exercise stresses in life.

You’ll drink more water.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important factors in minimizing the dangers of cold-weather workouts, or for that matter any time of year workouts as well. The body continues to sweat, but that sweat evaporates more quickly into the chilly, dry air, making it seem as though the body is losing less water. Drinking water before, during and after cold-weather workouts helps maintain peak performance, protect the body from injury and stay warm from start to finish. Don’t wait to feel thirsty to hydrate! And remember, it’s always important when exercising out in the cold that you wear moisture wicking materials so that your body stays warm while the sweat that happens, keeps away from your skin.  You can check out one of our lines of running gear by clicking on this link  and you can check out the Proviz line of outdoor jackets.

You’ll build a tolerance for the freezing elements.

It can feel downright painful to force yourself out into the elements for that first workout you try in the winter season, but rest assured that over time, it does get easier. According to chief coach of the New York Road Runners organization John Honerkamp, it’s important to adjust your expectations as you acclimate rather than push for your typical, temperate-weather performance. Pay particular attention to the amount of effort you’re putting forth rather than hitting certain time, distance or other performance goals, and try to just enjoy the process.

You’ll remember the importance of warm-up and cool-down routines.

Proper warm-up and cool-down movements are crucial to keeping the body in top fitness shape, but they become even more important when it’s cold outside. Keeping the body loose, limber and warm for a chilly workout can help prevent painful twists, sprains, tears and other injuries. Winter workouts will encourage you to become a pro when it comes to full warm-up and cool-down routines, the former to keep your internal body temperature elevated, and the latter to reduce unnecessary tightness inspired by the chill in the air.

You’ll get a dose of vitamin D.

Sure, it may be cold, but that doesn’t mean the extra sun exposure won’t supply you with the same critical nutrients it does throughout the warmer parts of the year. The relative benefit also feels more substantial in the wintertime since the amount of natural light is already so restricted. Just remember to wear your sunscreen (yes, even when it’s freezing) after your skin is exposed for 10 to 15 minutes.  Oh, did we mention, you won’t be getting the benefits of soaking up those vitamin D infused rays of sun in any gym, no matter how many florescent lights they have on!

You’ll feel happier and more energized.

Cold-weather exercise also has the ability to boost one’s mood, thanks to the lack of humidity (which creates that heavy air feeling in the summer months) and the stimulating aspect of the chill. As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness following your workout in the cold.  Now tell us, isn’t that a great way to get motivated, especially if you make your cold weather runs, jogs, and walks in the early morning.  If you remember, we did a blog a while back on why exercising in the morning can provide you with several benefits instead of working out after your workday.

Naturally, offering these tips we are taking into account that you are already in basically good physical shape. If you haven’t done so, please check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, especially one that pushes your body a little harder by exercising outside in the cold.

Now that we covered the medical aspects, what are you waiting for, get off that couch and go and dig out your running gear out of the closet, get dressed, (in layers) and go and enjoy the winter season’s fresh, clean, crisp air!

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