Staying Healthy with Technology

Staying Healthy with Technology The hardest goals to achieve each new year are ones regarding your health and fitness. There are too many temptations, excuses, and other reasons that seem to come up that get in the way of taking care of our bodies first. It’s the little things we do everyday that add up to healthy habits. While we do what we can to be as health-conscious as we can, a healthy lifestyle will always be a work in progress.

Responsibilities have really been on my mind lately, I’ve reached that age of 26, where I’ve become a responsible adult, and that means getting my own insurance. So on my search I stumbled upon Oscar Insurance, a new kind of health insurance in New Jersey and New York providing members with personalized intuitive healthcare, who is also taking advantage of the change in technology. And being from New Jersey myself, I find a local insurance like Oscar to be a great benefit!

With the advancement of technology, it’s definitely made our lives easier in many aspects, especially when trying to stay healthy and fit. From recording your meals, to tracking how many steps you take each day, or using websites for healthy meal inspiration. We’re already mid-way through February, hopefully those good habits you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year have set in, but if not, I decided to share some ways technology helps me, and in turn can help you stay healthy and accomplish your fitness goals.


 

1. Get a fitness app. Regardless of the type of smart phone you have, there is definitely a fitness app that will work for you, and many that are free. From meal planners, to activity trackers, personal trainers and more. I’ve used the Nike+ Training Club App for a few years now, and I love how you can create a program tailored to your desires, whether it’s weight loss or muscle toning, with workouts ranging from quick 5 minute abs to longer intense cardio/muscle-building routines. Plus, it syncs up to Nike+ Running, and keeps track of your distance runs, speed, and progress all in one app. When I was training for my half marathon, these apps were my best friends. I love working out and being active, but I like to do things that are fun, and keeps me guessing. The gym often bores me, so I prefer these exercises that I can get done anytime, anywhere and target every area of my body. It’s like having a personal trainer worthy workout in your own home. You can track your progress as your fitness improves, and I bet you’ll want to celebrate your achievement!

2. Enroll in a rewards program. It’s easier to stay on track when you’re doing it alongside a friend, it gives you accountability. When someone in the group rewards you about losing that pound, it’s motivating, but you can do the same for yourself. Oscar Insurance started providing members with digital activity trackers, allowing them to receive cash rewards for meeting daily physical goals. And they’re not the only programs paying you for accomplishing your health and fitness goals, others like Pact are jumping on the bandwagon too. No need to set aside your own money to reward yourself, have someone pay you for being healthy and fit!

3. Use your digital calendar. Staying organized and on track with tasks/appointments by using a planner is a simple way to stay on top of your health. I use my phone’s calendar to set up reminders for dates I should make all my doctor’s appointments. I tend to set aside time to go over my doctors and when I should schedule annual checkup routines in January, at the beginning of the year. Once all your routine visits are out-of-the-way you won’t need to worry about them the rest of the year. The other important thing to use your calendar for is scheduling workouts for the week. You’ll have more of an encouragement to exercise when you see an alarm going off on your phone’s screen, and it’s planned into your day like work or an errand.

4. Get the family involved. It’s easy to get the family to go for a walk, or the park to toss the ball around during warmer months, but it can be challenging to find ways to say active all year-long with them. Video games are no longer for sitting on the couch. There are plenty of workout related games and accessories. With innovative motion sensors, you can do a wide variety of exercises and activities by using your home gaming system. The entire family can get together, have fun while playing games and staying fit. I personally love playing Just Dance, I’ll get dressed up as if I was heading to a Zumba class, choose the option to compete against other players and dedicate myself as if I was dancing in a great class! We sometimes even play during the holidays, which makes us feel less guilty about indulging in certain foods.

5. Learn to clear the mind. Health, isn’t just about the foods you eat, and staying active, it involves the mind and being mentally healthy too. We’ve all heard the wonderful benefits of what just 5 minutes of meditation or sitting in silence with your eyes closed, can do. For the past few years, I’ve worked on daily mediation, but it never stuck for too long, until I found Lucent. It times your meditation, from 5 minutes to half hour, then asks you to dig a bit deeper, and jot down your insights, what you’re grateful for and goal for the day. I felt accountable when notifications appeared on my phone each morning, and felt great after. Of course, I had other help from reading inspirational meditation books, like the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein, but like meditation apps, anyone now has the ability to download any guru’s meditation practices or podcasts {or go on YouTube} and do it along with them, on your phone. I even listen to them on my way to work or long drives. It’s a great way to feel calm, and invigorated.

6. Listen your way to sound sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, there are apps, and even, TV channels, that play calming sounds and white noise, to help trouble sleepers get some good shut-eye. Of course phones distract you during the night, but sleep apps, like Relax Melodies, allow you to set a timer for the sounds and alarm for the morning. Place your phone on sleep mode, don’t forget the alarm, and place it on a dresser, screen facing down, not anywhere near arm’s reach from bed. This then allows you to get up automatically when the alarm goes off in the morning, so no snoozing and feeling groggy or rushing to get to ready, just a refreshed feeling from a peaceful night’s sleep.

7. Share your accomplishments, AND mishaps. If your goal is to work out 3 times per week, eat a salad for lunch every day, or stop drinking that second or third cup of coffee each day, then share it to the world. Announce it to your blog readers, Facebook friends, or Twitter buddies. Tell your story for healthy living, and you’ll see that admitting you caved and ate a tub of ice cream or announced you finally took that cycle class to the Internet world will keep you on track. You’ll get supporters reassuring you that one bowl of ice cream isn’t the demise of a healthy lifestyle, and who knows you might gain a buddy for your next new workout class. Essentially sharing your journey will make you healthier.

8. Plan your meals online. Having a fridge stocked with wholesome ingredients, will ensure you eat the right stuff during the week. The Internet allows you to research healthy meal options and recipes, so if you’re ready to make dinner and you’re looking at a fridge filled with a bountiful vegetables, you can easily look up healthy ways to cook. There are even apps, like MealBoard, that help you plan your meals, automatically creating shopping lists for you with the exact quantity you’ll need, and doing almost everything except eating the food for you. I keep it simple with this, just a simple list app, which I dedicate one for just groceries, and I can go back to recycled items and track all the healthy products I’ve bought in the past. Essentially planning even your snacks, and having them with you, say homemade granola in your bag at all times, or a few options at work, will essentially save you money in the long run.

9. Keep a food journal. The traditional method of keeping a food journal can easily be done on your phone’s notes or online, like a blog. Even the healthiest of eaters can get side tracked during the day, even I will admit that when I was writing down my meals and tracking how many servings of fruit or starches I was eating throughout the day, it made me realize that I sometimes I would eat too much fruit, and that I needed to add some variety into my diet. No need to track calories, it’s about the foods, what kinds of vegetables or whole grains you’re getting throughout the day. Of course if you ate a bowlful with 4 servings of quinoa, that’s something you want to consider too. Write down how you stayed active that day, and insights you captured after eating certain foods, or cravings you may have gotten. You can choose to share it, but if you have chosen to create a more in-depth journal, keep it private, as long as you know you’re committed.

10. Use the internet, and all its sources. What would we be without the internet?! From numerous nutritionist websites and bloggers paving the way for wholesome lifestyles from paleo to gluten-free, and of course Pinterest, with a plethora of recipes, healthy meal plans, and fitness programs. Getting healthy was never easier! Over time, I’ve picked my favorite resources, and keep them a click away in a Healthy folder on my Pinterest, or bookmark them to my favorites. There are plenty of support group sites where people talk about their challenges with exercise and healthy living too.

11. Invest in a gadget specific for your health/fitness needs. Gadgets are everywhere, for every need and use imaginable. I mean did you know there was even one that lets you know when you begin slouching? We all want to know how well we’ve slept, how many steps we walk, and how many calories we burn. From “smart” yoga mats to forks that track what you eat and gadgets to help you quit smoking, staying healthy is beyond easy with one simple tech gadget that does it all for you. You can check out a list of different gadgets that fit your needs here and here.

And they say technology has changed the way we play and how are kids health will evolve? Well, yes I believe that, but on the contrary, we’re living in a time where technology can really help us all stay even healthier than before! Anyone of these tech tips can help you stay healthy, so hopefully you choose to take up one, or all, of these simple tips. Before you know it you’ll be showing off the rewards of all your hard work!

I’d love to hear ways in which you use technology to stay healthy, or use it to accomplish your fitness goals?

image via Fabletics Instagram

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