Modern technology has permeated many aspects of the human experience. Some who have watched the world make this transition from analog to digital believe these technological advances are intrusive and detrimental to our health, but here we will explore and see that the Digital Age has more to offer. In fact, there are apps and gadgets entering the market now that can contribute to good health and health monitoring habits. This tech can help you stay on top of fitness and goals, get a better sleep schedule established, and gain an understanding of your mental health.
Many wearable gadgets can provide detailed data and measurements of your body’s current condition while engaging in activities such as a tough workout, a leisurely stroll, or even just relaxing at home. This data offers an idea of the amount of time you were active, calories burned, distances covered, as well as resting heart rate. Whether a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, you can get a breakdown of how all those factors play into your current level of fitness and receive tips to optimize and improve those activities to get the desired results. The best thing about these gadgets? They often resemble wearable jewelry such as bracelets, rings, and watches so you can freely do activities without a clunky device weighing you down. Many of these gadgets also have apps an individual can install on their phone to have their fitness data readily available.
Many smartphones also come equipped now with apps that are pre-installed to provide service to those who want to get the most of their workout and allow tracking of their activity to ensure they do just that. However, a quick trip to the App Store or Android Market will show that apps for fitness now aim to transform couch potatoes to 4K runners, can play songs with a BPM to match the beats of your footsteps as you run, and use your location to provide tips and suggestions for nearby hiking, biking, and kayaking with reviews from other sportswomen and men. The best part? They seem to be effective. In a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers found that those who adopted a fitness app had more favorable attitudes towards their workouts than the control group after using the app for two weeks. They also found that those who used the app walked more than they had in the pre-test (1).
Apps like Fooducate can scan barcodes, allowing shoppers to get a quick nutritional read on the items they are considering purchasing. Those with dietary restrictions can use the app Ingredient1 to search for products that are safe for them. If you love travel, several apps are available that can assist you in finding healthy food stores and restaurants, so you don’t have to diverge from your diet while on vacation. All aim to make dieting accessible from anywhere and prevent you from getting bored – increasing chances you’ll stick to it. They also take the anxiety out of buying products or eating out at a restaurant for those who suffer from moderate to severe allergies.
Mental and Overall Health
One of the most important factors to maintain good overall health is establishing and sustaining a sleep schedule. Apps and gadgets that focus on sleeping provide features that help one fall asleep, track motion and snoring throughout the night, and produce waking tunes and activities to ensure you won’t oversleep on the day of that big test or meeting. Apps will help you find the perfect bedtime and stick to it, track sleep cycles, record snoring and movement while you sleep, and create detailed tables based on the data to help get a better sense of how you are sleeping. Better sleep results in feeling better in the morning and throughout the day.
The effects of mental state on overall health are being increasingly understood and the App Store and Android Market are flooded with apps that aim to track, monitor, and address your mental health. People with depression and anxiety can monitor triggers or stress — whether it’s a meeting, rough patch, or something far more serious. Apps like Breathe2Relax aim to provide relief and often focus on mindfulness and meditation practices that allow users to break away from a stressful day or start the day with a meditative practice that incorporates deep breathing.
Though apps are popular, some wearables entering the market can help to monitor and manage your mental health. Micaela Mackenzie of Furthermore said, “Once they have your data, wearables can offer behavioral interventions, such as breathing exercises or guided meditations” (2). Some wearables such as Spire Health Tags use physiological tracking such as skin temperature and heart rate to create an assessment of your mental state and use your breathing to guide you through meditative practices. In a study published in JMIR Mhealth Uhealth in 2017, researchers found the apps provide a more personalized therapy experience and fall in line with many practices used by professionals in conventional stress management interventions (3).
Gadgets, gizmos, and apps are making waves in every industry, so it should come as no surprise that many focus on providing personalized guidance to their users. Whether you’re looking to get fit, get food, or find peace of mind there is an app or a gadget that can service you.
- “ Fitness mobile apps positively affect attitudes, perceived behavioral control and physical activities.” https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/29619794
- “Trending: Mental Health Wearables” https://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2018/02/mental-health-wearables
- “ Stress Management Apps With Regard to Emotion-Focused Coping and Behavior Change Techniques: A Content Analysis” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5344985/