In the U.S., there are on an average 13 Internet-connected devices in every household. From iPhones, iPads and laptops, to televisions and printers, everything can be connected to the Internet.
The concept of smart homes has revolutionized the way we live, and allows you to operate the air conditioning, lights, and even the front gate while you’re still driving back home from work.
So, while we sit glued to the screens, do we miss out on long walks in the open, or cycling along woody paths? Studies show that since 1980, the obesity rate in children has tripled and teen obesity has quadrupled, to reach alarming levels.
Though this CANNOT be directly linked to gadget-addiction, people do tend to spend more time with their iPhones than venture out. But if used wisely, smartphones can help you lose weight, develop a healthy physique, and eat right.
With the proliferation of apps, a very competitive and robust market has emerged for health and fitness apps. These allow you to monitor your physical activity, calorie intake, plan healthy meals, and customize workouts. There is a lot that you can achieve if you use health apps in the right way.
Let’s see how you can go about doing this.
How Health Apps Motivate You to Achieve Fitness Goals
1) Try a Few Apps
Several health apps are available on Android and iOS platforms. Most are free-of-charge and the rest cost a few dollars at the most. Download a few that you like and take them for a spin. They will use your phone memory for sure, but you can delete them if you find they’re duds.
If you’re not sure, it will help to take recommendations from your physician, fitness trainer, or dietician regarding the best apps out there.
Remember that health apps can be broadly categorized into two categories.
One collects all your health-related data and tracks your physical activity levels. It is possible to export this data and share it with your healthcare provider. The other category helps you access health information like low-cal meal plans, workout routines, and nutrition data on food labels.
2) Consider Sponsored Health Apps
Health advocacy groups and awareness initiatives, hospitals, and even universities, come out with health apps. Harvard University, University of Oregon and University of California have health-focused apps that help students combat stress, build sex-positive attitudes, and track health initiatives and programs offered by the institutes.
Ensure you read reviews on reputed sites like PCmag.com before making a final decision. Another resource you can look up is imedicalapps.com, where reviewers include physicians and other health professionals. Wellocracy.com provides comparison between various health, nutrition, and fitness apps and helps you decide on the best one for your needs.
3) Make Use of Fitness Tracking
The easiest way to good health is to ensure that you get your daily dose of physical activity. Fitness tracking apps count the number of footsteps and stairs climbed, measure the distance walked, monitor heart rate, and calculate calories burnt by your daily activity.
You can also manually enter your activities and sleep time. Seeing what you’ve actually accomplished can be motivating enough to get off the couch and start moving.
The motion sensors in your smartphone furnish a wealth of data to the health apps. After some number-crunching, you get a meaningful timeline out of these measurements. The sensors can capture varied data whether you are walking, jogging, cycling, or dashing to catch the last bus home.
The arrival of Apple’s M7 and M8 chips has made it easier than ever before to track motions of users, and apps like Human make use of the data to give accurate readings.
4) Share Your Goals and Win Applause
Sometimes, setting out to achieve your health goals in groups is better than doing them alone.
Apps like Pact allow you to wager money on whether or not you will hit the gym today, or complete your workout routine. If you do not, you have to pay up; and if you are successful, you will get paid! The app works on the premise that the users who manage to perform their exercise routine are rewarded by the ones who did not.
Nike+ app tracks your running stats, coaches and mentors you, and also allows you to share your fitness achievements on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Path. The app allows you to ‘Get Cheers,’ where with each like your post gets, you hear a cheering sound. This real time-shareability is a great feature on the Nike+ app and helps you get support, as well as cheer your friends on.
PumpUp is another great social exercise app that connects you with a community of like-minded strangers, who are also actively moving towards a healthier lifestyle. The app has an Instagram-like appearance and resembles it in functionality, barring that unlike the popular photo-sharing site, PumpUp has three feeds ‘New,’ ‘Popular’ and ‘Following.’
You get to see new photos uploaded, ones that have maximum interaction and pictures posted by users you follow. You can track your workout routine and upload exercise photos, along with descriptions and comments.
It goes without saying that the higher your level of engagement is with your community, the better will be the benefits you derive from using the apps.
5) Restrict Calorie Consumption
Another great feature of health apps is that they help you keep an eye on the calories you consume. These apps are typically known as calorie-counter apps and help dieters realize the impact of food choices on their weight, and how nutrition affects the body.
Food options can be easily entered along with flexible serving sizes, barcode scanning feature, and the ability to upload pictures of food, which can be saved to databases. Calorie Counter by FatSecret also allows users to maintain a health journal and connect with other users.
Along with calorie information, you get data on sugars and fats that are being consumed, and how much you are burning away by means of physical activity. You can also track your sleeping pattern and the hydration level of your body with calorie-counter apps like Lose It!
Tracking nutrient intake and multiple meal and snack times has never been so easy for dieters, with smartphones becoming virtually your best friend as you try to lose weight.
The use of technology does curtail the time we spend in inter-human contact – but it has the power to help you transform your life for the better. There is a plethora of health apps out there.
If you manage to find the ones best suited for your needs, then you will be able to reach your wellness goals much faster and in a more fun manner.