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Fitness trackers and watches: The key to intentional wellness



Fitness trackers and watches: The key to intentional wellness

By Police1 Staff

A consistent, intentional wellness strategy is crucial for first responders due to the physical and mental demands of the job.

Maintaining health and wellness helps you perform at your best, manage stress and reduce the risk of injury on or off the job.

Fitness trackers and watches can play a significant role in supporting wellness goals by providing real-time health data, tracking physical activity and promoting healthy habits.

Features to look for in fitness trackers and watches

  1. Heart rate monitoring. Continuous heart rate tracking helps monitor cardiovascular health and workout intensity
  2. Sleep tracking. With the prevalence of sleep disorders in first responders, the ability to analyze your sleep patterns and quality to ensure restful recovery periods is essential to any wellness plan
  3. GPS. Helpful for planning running, biking or hiking routes and making sure you can find your way back even in unfamiliar areas, GPS tracking can also help measure your distances
  4. Water resistance. Consider how you’ll be using your device and if water resistance (for all-weather activities) or waterproof durability (for swimming) is a must for usability in various conditions
  5. Battery life. With your demanding schedule, a long battery life will ensure your device can keep up with you all-shift long
  6. Compatibility. Ensuring your fitness device can sync easily with smartphones and other health apps will help with comprehensive data tracking

Top choices for fitness trackers and watches

Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 5 enhances workout routines with a daily readiness score, stress management through an EDA sensor and heart health tracking with ECG capabilities. It monitors vital health metrics like SpO2 and skin temperature, and has a built-in GPS for real-time pace and distance tracking. It offers up to 7 days of battery life, 24/7 heart rate monitoring and sleep quality insights.


Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 extends advanced health, safety and activity features, offering temperature sensing, ECGs on demand, irregular rhythm notifications, detailed sleep stage tracking with REM, core or deep sleep stages, and insights into both physical and emotional well being. It also delivers workout metrics and has safety features like fall detection and crash detection, connecting to emergency services when necessary.

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WHOOP 4.0 with 12 Month Subscription

Professional golfer Nick Watney, the first player on the PGA Tour to be diagnosed with COVID-19, credits his WHOOP device with flagging his high respiratory rate – leading to him getting tested and despite his lack of symptoms very early in the pandemic.

WHOOP 4.0 is a comprehensive fitness and health monitoring device designed for first-time members. This package includes a 12-month WHOOP membership, 4.0 hardware, Onyx SuperKnit band and a wearable, waterproof battery pack. The WHOOP device continuously monitors various physiological data such as heart rate, respiratory rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, daily activity and sleep.


The WHOOP system is personalized, offering insight-driven recommendations to improve overall health and optimize performance. Users can log daily behaviors in the WHOOP Journal, which helps identify habits that impact sleep and recovery. WHOOP is also FSA/HSA eligible.

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Fitbit Inspire 3

The Fitbit Inspire 3 offers a suite of health and wellness features, including a daily readiness score to gauge your physical readiness, active zone minutes to monitor exercise intensity and 24/7 heart rate tracking. With over 20 exercise modes and automatic exercise recognition, it motivates you to stay active.

For stress management, it provides a daily stress management score, mindfulness and relaxation breathing sessions, along with notifications for irregular heart rhythms and SpO2 levels. It also offers automatic sleep tracking, a personalized sleep profile and a daily sleep score. It boasts up to a 10-day battery life.


Garmin Vivoactive 4


The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is designed for fitness enthusiasts who seek a comprehensive approach to monitoring their health and fitness. It offers a wide range of features including body energy monitoring, animated workouts directly on your wrist and Pulse Ox sensors. Its sensors are capable of tracking over 20 biometrics, ensuring personalized health data. The battery life? Up to 8 days in smartwatch mode and up to 6 hours in GPS and music mode.

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Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Need an Apple Watch on a budget? Look no further. The Apple Watch SE includes essential health and safety features like fall detection, crash detection, emergency SOS, and notifications for irregular heart rhythms and abnormal heart rates, but does not offer the more advanced features found in the Series 9, such as ECG and temperature sensing.

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Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa features sleep stage tracking, a daily readiness score for workout or recovery days, built-in GPS for phone-free activity tracking and active zone minutes for exercise effort recognition. It includes enhanced heart rate monitoring with PurePulse 2.0 and boasts over 6 days of battery life.

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Oura Ring Gen3 Horizon – Smart Ring

If you’re looking for a different option, the Oura Ring is a discreet-yet-powerful tool for anyone looking to enhance their understanding of personal health and well being.

The smart ring offers a comprehensive look at your sleep, activity, stress and heart rate. It monitors over 20 biometrics and is compatible with both iOS and Android – allowing for integration with popular health apps. The ring has a battery life that can last up to 7 days on a single charge, providing a week of continuous health monitoring without the need for frequent recharging.

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How fitness trackers and watches can improve wellness

Fitness trackers and watches offer several benefits:

  • Monitoring vital signs. Track heart rate, sleep patterns and stress levels to stay aware of overall health
  • Activity tracking. Keep tabs on steps, calories burned and exercise routines to ensure adequate physical activity
  • Health alerts. Receive notifications for irregular heart rates or reminders to move, helping prevent prolonged inactivity
  • Goal setting. Set and achieve fitness goals with personalized insights and progress tracking

Police1 is using generative AI to create some content that is edited and fact-checked by our editors.

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🤫 The Secret to Staying Fit at Your Desk: 6 Essential Under-Desk Exercise Machines



🤫 The Secret to Staying Fit at Your Desk: 6 Essential Under-Desk Exercise Machines

Los Angeles, has a thriving startup ecosystem with numerous accelerators, incubators, and programs designed to support and nurture new businesses. These programs provide a range of services, including funding, mentorship, workspace, networking opportunities, and strategic guidance to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas and scale their companies.

Techstars Los Angeles

Techstars is a global outfit with a chapter in Los Angeles that opened in 2017. It prioritizes local companies but will fund some firms based outside of LA.

Location: Culver City

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, early stage

Focus: Industry Agnostic


Notable Past Companies: StokedPlastic, Zeno Power


Grid110 offers no-cost, no-equity programs for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, including a 12-week Residency accelerator for early-stage startups, an Idea to Launch Bootcamp for pre-launch entrepreneurs, and specialized programs like the PledgeLA Founders Fund and Friends & Family program, all aimed at providing essential skills, resources, and support to help founders develop and grow their businesses.

Location: DTLA

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage

Focus: Industry Agnostic


Notable Past Companies: Casetify, Flavors From Afar


Idealab is a renowned startup studio and incubator based in Pasadena, California. Founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Bill Gross, Idealab has a long history of nurturing innovative technology companies, with over 150 startups launched and 45 successful IPOs and acquisitions, including notable successes like Coinbase and Tenor.

Location: Pasadena

Type of Funding: Stage agnostic

Focus: Industry Agnostic, AI/Robotics, Consumer, Clean Energy


Notable Past Companies: Lumin, Coinbase, Tenor

Plug In South LA

Plug In South LA is a tech accelerator program focused on supporting and empowering Black and Latinx entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area. The 12-week intensive program provides early-stage founders with mentorship, workshops, strategic guidance, potential pilot partnerships, grant funding, and networking opportunities to help them scale their businesses and secure investment.

Location: Los Angeles

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, seed

Focus: Industry Agnostic, Connection to South LA and related communities


Notable Past Companies: ChargerHelp, Peadbo

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator is a three-month program based in Los Angeles that provides healthcare startups with $100,000 in funding, mentorship from over 300 leading clinicians and executives, and access to Cedars-Sinai’s clinical expertise and resources. The program aims to transform healthcare quality, efficiency, and care delivery by helping entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, offering participants dedicated office space, exposure to a broad network of healthcare entrepreneurs and investors, and the opportunity to pitch their companies at a Demo Day.

Location: West Hollywood

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage, convertible note

Focus: Healthcare, Device, Life Sciences


Notable Past Companies: Regard, Hawthorne Effect

MedTech Innovator

MedTech Innovator is the world’s largest accelerator for medical technology companies, based in Los Angeles, offering a four-month program that provides selected startups with unparalleled access to industry leaders, investors, and resources without taking equity. The accelerator culminates in showcase events and competitions where participating companies can win substantial non-dilutive funding, with the program having a strong track record of helping startups secure FDA approvals and significant follow-on funding.

Location: Westwood

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage

Focus: Health Care, Health Diagnostics, Medical Device


Notable Past Companies: Zeto, Genetesis


The KidsX Accelerator in Los Angeles is a 10-week program that supports early-stage digital health companies focused on pediatric care, providing mentorship, resources, and access to a network of children’s hospitals to help startups validate product-market fit and scale their solutions. The accelerator uses a reverse pitch model, where participating hospitals identify focus areas and work closely with selected startups to develop and pilot digital health solutions that address specific pediatric needs.

Location: East Hollywood

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, seed, early stage

Focus: Pediatric Health Care Innovation


Notable Past Companies: Smileyscope, Zocalo Health

Disney Accelerator

Disney Accelerator is a startup accelerator that provides early-stage companies in the consumer media, entertainment and technology sectors with mentorship, guidance, and investment from Disney executives. The program, now in its 10th year, aims to foster collaborations and partnerships between innovative technology companies and The Walt Disney Company to help them accelerate their growth and bring new experiences to Disney audiences.

Location: Burbank

Type of Funding: Growth stage

Focus: Technology and entertainment


Notable Past Companies: Epic Games, BRIT + CO, CAMP

Techstars Space Accelerator

Techstars Space Accelerator is a startup accelerator program focused on advancing the next generation of space technology companies. The three-month mentorship-driven program brings together founders from across the globe to work on big ideas in aerospace, including rapid launch services, precision-based imaging, operating systems for complex robotics, in-space servicing, and thermal protection.

Location: Los Angeles

Type of Funding: Growth stage

Focus: Aerospace


Notable Past Companies: Pixxel, Morpheus Space

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Olympians are super fit. That doesn’t mean we’re healthy



Olympians are super fit. That doesn’t mean we’re healthy

I competed at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as an elite rhythmic gymnast, and after training from the age of six until I was 22, I thought I had developed all the necessary habits for a healthy life: how to eat right, exercise, handle my emotions and take care of my body.

But upon retiring, I struggled to run for more than a minute on the treadmill, and I couldn’t tell when I was full or hungry. After having access to the best mental health resources and physical therapists the world could offer, why was I suddenly having trouble with the basics? Hadn’t I been trained to know my own body, mind and the connection between the two – better than most?

I’d been skinny, all muscle and capable of managing pain for so long. But that didn’t mean I knew what being healthy meant.

Though an overall bill of health might look different for an athlete in peak training form as compared to a retired one, experts say balance is what matters the most. Every aspect of health – physical, mental and emotional – needs to carry equal weight.

Katie Spada, a former college synchronized swimmer turned registered dietician and nutritionist, says that due to the rigor of extreme fitness, athletes are not always as healthy as people might think.


All athletes, Spada observes, will be objectively “healthy” in certain respects, such as having a lean body mass, low resting heart rate and low blood pressure. On the other hand, they might be “unhealthy” in terms of underfueling – female athletes, for example, can develop reproductive health issues due to not having a menstrual cycle while training, which could impact their fertility down the line.

Olympians are defined by a single-minded focus, discipline and perfectionism. But these traits can so easily become toxic during an athletic career, and especially after. You can’t always tell who’s healthy just by how they look, what they say, or even what they do. Doing the right things, like drinking enough water or sleeping eight hours, is undoubtedly important. But health is so much more complicated than that.

Health as ‘fitness’: the fallacy of perfection

When I retired, I was confused about why the habits I equated with health – precise food intake, constant exercise, proprioception – weren’t carrying over into my new life.

“A lot of times when we see fitness, we think health,” says Alexi Pappas, a runner in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, author and advocate for mental health in sport.


“But it’s like comparing apples to oranges,” Pappas says of the transition to retirement. “It’s a little bit myopic to say that the only thing that’s changed is that you’re not competing, when in reality everything’s different.”

Athletes can also be perfectionists, which means that guilt often functions as motivation.

By letting go of hard goals in favor of soft ones, my understanding of health has become more flexible, and ultimately more sustainable. Photograph: Courtesy Laura Zeng

“The recommendation for the average adult is 150 minutes of exercise a week, but most athletes do that in one day, or in one session. So there’s a big gap once athletes retire, because they are known for these behaviors, and they get [rewarded] for being disciplined or motivated,” says Spada. But if athletes continue to aim for this same expectation when it no longer makes sense, that same behavior will get diagnosed as disordered.

An Olympian is used to fine-tuning themselves meticulously every day. The challenge is to readjust expectations, because any new routines will inevitably be less rigorous than the old ones. Exercise for enjoyment, or for basic health, is a concept most athletes have to relearn. We are trained to know what we’ll be doing every day for years, not how to live a life without structure or timeline.

Though this discrepancy always poses a risk, it only becomes an issue for most athletes when they become “Narps”, or what collegiate student-athletes affectionately call “non-athletic regular people”.


It takes kindness, compassion and outside help to realize that sports are not real life. Eventually, it becomes less about regaining control than it does about accepting present circumstances. “When people struggle with their post-athletic career, they need to look at their bigger life and ask themselves, ‘Am I happy with the life choices I’m making? Am I happy with my life?’ Because if they’re not happy with their life, they’re never going to be happy with their body,” says Pappas.

Why balance and mental health are key

Athletes have to remember to incorporate social and emotional balance into their life, because it isn’t the default.

Based on her experience with her post-athletic clients, Spada suspects that chronic stress is one of the leading predictors for future health issues.

“Having that constant level of stress is going to impact you. Stress precedes free radicals, which is what creates cancer, and can lead to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The body has to manage that stress somehow, and oftentimes, it leads to autoimmune disorders, which is probably the most common disease I’ve seen in athletes so far.”

Spada says someone whose physical health is improving, but whose mental health is deteriorating, doesn’t count as being healthy. In nutrition, both the physical impact food has on one’s body and the mental relationship one has to food are equally important. “If you don’t feel confident making food choices mentally, it’s not going to benefit you physically,” she says.


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Counterbalancing rigid training schedules is important for athletes who are still competing too: Jessica Parratto, a 12-time USA Diving National Champion on her way to Paris for her third Olympics says she needs to “feel balanced in order to be successful”.

She makes space for activities that make her “feel human again and ‘normal’,” like eating junk food or hanging out with friends. “The longer I am hyper focused on being the most regimented, healthy athlete I can be, the more chance there will be for burnout,” she says.

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Dr Roberta Kraus, president of the Center for Sports Psychology in Colorado Springs, has worked with elite athletes for over 30 years. She helped lead the Pivot program, a United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee initiative that helps athletes transition after they retire from sport, equipping them with career resources, financial literacy education and access to psychological services.

The single-minded focus of an Olympian, so instrumental to breaking records and achieving athletic success, can prove destructive in the face of life choices that follow. In the aftermath, most athletes don’t know where or how to redirect their focus, while the people who helped manage every element of their professional life are no longer responsible for helping them.

Kraus believes that “just like drug testing is required [once athletes become elite], mental health coaching and seminars on how to manage life after sport” should be required too.


Kraus has also observed a proliferation of “snowplow parents” – parents who invest so much time and money in their child’s pursuits that they begin to feel entitled to some equity in that success – leading to less independent and resilient young people. In addition, she says, coaches don’t want to discuss retirement with Olympians while they’re still training, because they worry “they’re going to derail the athlete’s attention”.

Most athletes start young, and never learn how to apply the soft tools they’ve gained over the years to other spheres of life: how can discipline lead to a job opportunity, or single-minded focus help with decisions about the next stage of life?

“We don’t show athletes the bigger picture,” Kraus says. “We only show them what it’s going to take to get on the podium.”

Rethinking the relationship to food and weight

Many athletes are misinformed about food, and the relationships they develop with it can be problematic. After I retired, I worked extensively with Spada to unpack my nutritional traumas, and she was instrumental to both my recovery and my sanity. She has now had more than 100 clients who are former athletes struggling with their nutritional needs.

“Being fearful of food is not healthy, period,” she says; for instance, eating sugar or fat shouldn’t cause guilt and shame. According to Spada, coaches can make the mistake of being concerned about an athlete’s weight as opposed to their body composition, blaming pounds on the scale for what is in fact a concern about performance ability.

Many athletes are misinformed about food, and the relationships they develop with it can be problematic. Photograph: Courtesy Laura Zeng

The issue stems from a lack of effective communication, and a lack of education about nutrition.

“When I was competing, if you had to go see the dietician it was either because you were ‘fat’ or you had an eating disorder,” she says. “There was no viewing nutrition as a tool like strength and conditioning.” If the stigma were properly addressed, “we could prevent a lot of challenging conversations, so everyone could understand what the role of food really is.”

Another problematic health practice among athletes is weight cycling. It’s normal – and often necessary – for athletes’ weight to increase or decrease dramatically relative to their competitive season, because it’s impossible to sustain a peak forever.

“But we have seen now in research that weight cycling is more detrimental to one’s health than weight maintenance, regardless of where your weight falls,” Spada says. Gaining and losing 10 to 20lb during a season is standard for some athletes, but this puts pressure on their cardiovascular system. A consistent higher weight “is still healthier than if you were to cycle through weight ranges – outside of the extreme categories of really underweight, or obese,” she says.

How I learned to be healthy after my Olympic career

Caring about my fitness had always served me both physically and professionally. After I retired, I tried to maintain a semi-strict exercise routine, and dutifully keep track of everything I ate. But it quickly became frustrating. What was the point of being healthy if it wasn’t making me the best at something anymore?


I had to learn to make peace with the fact that pursuing new priorities meant making certain trade-offs, and that I didn’t need to aim for some idealized version of myself anymore – I just needed to be the healthiest version of me now. I needed to be honest, and forgive myself for what felt like a lack of accountability. Obsessing over my body and behaviors had served me well as an athlete, but proved a burden in real life.

Focus is what got me to the Olympics, but the opposite of focus is what makes me healthy now. The more I let go of artificial health goals, the healthier I become. Pappas describes health as a state of flow, in which your body “[moves] with you in this kind of harmony”. Rather than strive for excellence, I strive for moderation. By letting go of hard goals in favor of soft ones, my understanding of health has become more flexible, and ultimately more sustainable. For the first time in my life, the less I work hard at something, the more successful I become.

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Should You Try Primal Movement Workouts?



Should You Try Primal Movement Workouts?

If you follow exercise trends, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of primal movement workouts. But what is this workout, and should you try it? Sports medicine physician Evan Peck, MD, explains what primal movements are and their fitness benefits.


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What is a primal movement workout?

Primal movement exercises are based on activities that are … well, primal. In other words, these are movements the human body was designed to do for survival.

“Humans have naturally done their own primal movement ‘workout’ for thousands of years,” says Dr. Peck. “Primal movements include things like squatting, pulling, twisting and walking. Historically, humans used these movements to hunt, gather and do other essential tasks.”


For example, squatting to pick herbs from the ground was necessary in pre-grocery store days. Early humans also used skills like twisting, pushing and pulling to quickly get up off the ground during hunting (or when being hunted).

In our modern world, we don’t need these skills as much as we used to.

“Many people have jobs that don’t require walking, bending, pulling and twisting,” he continues. “Because we have furniture, we don’t have to get up from the floor that often. Vehicles get us where we want to go. We use our primal movements less, so our bodies can lose the ability to easily do these movements.”

What are primal movements?

These seven types of movements are widely known as the primal movements:

  • Gait (walking and running).
  • Hinging (bending at the waist).
  • Lunging.
  • Pulling.
  • Pushing.
  • Rotating (twisting through your torso).
  • Squatting.

Each of these activities is a compound movement, which means you use multiple muscle groups to do them. For example, lunges activate your core and leg muscles such as your quadriceps and hamstrings.

“Compound, multijoint exercises translate best to everyday life and should probably be emphasized in most people’s strength training programs,” says Dr. Peck.


Primal movements are different from weightlifting exercises that isolate and strengthen a single muscle group at a time. “But that doesn’t make primal movements better or worse than single-joint exercises,” he adds. Because single-joint exercises have benefits as well, including emphasizing a weak, injured or injury-prone muscle group.

Benefits of a primal movement workout

Primal movements may appeal to beginners because they don’t require special equipment. But these moves can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels.

“Everyone should be doing compound movements as part of their workout routine,” recommends Dr. Peck. “These movements can increase your strength, flexibility, balance and muscular endurance to make daily tasks easier.”

If you work out regularly, you might already be doing some of these moves.

“You probably see people doing most of these exercises at the gym,” he continues. “That’s because primal movements aren’t new and are an effective way to build muscular endurance, which allows your muscles to work for longer periods of time.”


Like any exercise routine, primal movements aren’t one-size-fits-all: “A challenging routine looks slightly different for everyone,” he notes. “Beginners may use gravity and their body weight for resistance. As you get stronger, you may need to add hand weights to the routine.”

You should also pay close attention to your form, as you can get injured from doing primal movement exercises incorrectly.

“For example, utilizing an excessive range of motion during a lunge can injure your knees,” cautions Dr. Peck. “It’s best to work with a sports medicine physician, physical therapist or personal trainer to be sure you’re doing these moves correctly.”

Do primal movements build muscle?

Primal movement is one way to improve your fitness, but it’s not a complete workout program on its own. Most people should also incorporate strength training to build muscle.

“Your program should include a few reps with heavier weight for proper strength training,” advises Dr. Peck. “This type of training engages deeper fibers in your muscles that lose strength as we age.”


“Your program should include a few sets with heavier weight for proper strength training,” he adds. “This type of training engages certain strong-and-fast fibers in your muscles that we tend to lose a lot of as we age.”

These muscle fibers (known as type 2B fast-twitch fibers) are crucial for short, intense movements. They contract quickly and can handle a lot of force. If you stumble, for instance, fast-twitch fibers engage to support your body weight and keep you from falling.

Most primal movement workouts, on the other hand, tend to focus on different muscle fibers. They are:

  • Type 2A fast-twitch fibers, which are more fatigue-resistant but less fast, powerful and strong).
  • Type 1 slow-twitch fibers.

“This isn’t a bad thing because you need those type 2A and type 1 fibers, too,” says Dr. Peck. “But if you’re not doing any strength training that’s more intense — and by intense, I mean heavy, perhaps above 80% of your estimated one-repetition maximum — you’re not engaging the type 2B fibers that help you stay strong.”

But strength training doesn’t have to be extreme to be effective. A weight that’s hard to lift more than five times in a row with correct form is probably the heaviest weight that most people need to use.

“Moderately heavy weights lifted with great technique consistently over a long period tend to pay tremendous physical dividends,” he says. “Most people can still get strong without needing to ‘max out’ or lift the most weight possible on a regular basis.”


And don’t worry if you don’t work up a sweat while training.

“Many people assume that a workout is only effective if they get sweaty and out of breath,” notes Dr. Peck. “But subjective feelings of being tired or feeling like you gave great effort, while valuable, aren’t always a reliable measure of your results — particularly with strength training.”

Finally, forget the old “no pain, no gain” adage. “You shouldn’t feel like jelly after strength training or a primal movement workout, and it shouldn’t hurt,” he stresses.

See an expert to add primal movements to your workouts

Primal movement workouts are generally safe for most people to try. Still, it’s wise to consult an expert before jumping in, especially if you have health concerns.

“If you have any chronic conditions or a previous injury, talk with your physician before beginning a new exercise program,” advises Dr. Peck. “They can help you find a routine that’s safe and effective for you.”

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