Saturday, February 22, 2014

Technology and Health.... Always and Forever

Technology. Whether you love it or hate it, it's become a huge and necessary part of life in this day and age.

So, why not embrace it? Why not use it to improve your physical health? There are SO many great resources out there that can help you reach your goals, track your progress, and make the journey easier. Let's talk about a few.

Tracking progress:
Having the numbers and data laid out in front of you that tell you what you are (or aren't) accomplishing can be exhilarating, informative, eye-opening, shameful, motivating, or (most likely) some combination thereof. Using apps or devices that help you track your progress (whether it's your steps, your food consumption, your weights and reps at the gym, your running, or whatever it is you want to watch and improve) can simplify the whole process (and make it much more likely that you'll actually stick to your plan).

My two faves are my FitBit and MyFitnessPal. The two can sync and tell me calories in vs calories out, break down my macros, tell me how many minutes I've actually been active, and much more. It totally encourages me to get up and move, because I want to see those numbers get high! The two that I'm most obsessed with are my stair count and and my calories burned. If those numbers are low, I'm known to march up and down the stairs at home in my jammies or to schedule a session with the TRX. I like that they both make me more aware of what I'm doing to my body.

Other options include distance-tracking apps (Nike+, Charity Miles, or Runtastic), food-tracking apps (LoseIt! or My Diet Diary), meal-planning apps (Food Planner or Dinner Spinner), and other tracking devices (UP24 or Nike Fuelband). Whatever you're into, there's probably an app or device to help you get there.

Making a plan
Better to have a plan than to aimlessly run, bike, or lift (sometimes). I get more out of something if I have a destination or purpose, and the MapMy series of websites is my fave. They have a version for Running, Biking, Hiking, Walking, and more general Fitness. There are also options like Strava, which is cool because you can compete with people on set "courses" determined by GPS. Oh, technology.

Utilizing online resources
There are so many great things on the Internet. Some of them can even help you be a better version of yourself. Whether you want to sign up for a race, find a YouTube channel to inspire you when it comes to fitness, or educate yourself about components of your sport, the Internet has a plethora of options. Just be sure to be smart about your options and do a little research before you buy into anything.

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