Can Apps and Fitness Trackers Help us Kick Bad Habits into Touch?
January is the optimal time for downloading health and fitness apps and putting those Xmas gift fitness trackers to work. But does an app really help you stay motivated?
After the festive self-indulgence comes the inescapable New Year’s resolution to; get fit, lose weight, and eat healthily.
But while polling firm ComRes finds 65% of people make these resolutions, only 12% of us keep them successfully.
So Can Tech Help?
Today’s devices and smartphone apps can aid you in recording and tracking your fitness, health, and lifestyle like never before.
Tech also allows you to integrate any data concerning your health to help you make better or healthier choices with some systems integrating personal trainers into live sessions, with extras such as feedback from your mates, and even financial incentives or penalties to help with motivation
Much of this now comes with easy to access information on nutrition customisable workouts, or data such as calories burnt, your heart rate, and patterns of sleep etc.
Learning to love a health and fitness app can be one of the best ways to take control of your health, fitness or lifestyle.
Today there are literally hundreds of thousands of smartphone apps available for almost anything and some of them can be incredibly useful, letting you access health or nutrition information immediately.
Is an App Better than my Trainer?
Psychology has always played an important role in fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, however, it is becoming clearer that this form of contact doesn’t necessarily need to be in person. Interaction via an app has recently begun to emerge as an analogous alternative or mode of treatment, with the capacity to produce similar results and in often, tech solutions are more appealing to people too busy to schedule face-to-face meetings.
As Forbes recently reported: “Self-monitoring of diet and physical activity is associated with weight loss success and can be performed conveniently using handheld devices. Mobile devices allow real-time decision support by enabling users to check the caloric value of foods and activities and track energy balance in real time. Studies of technology-supported weight loss interventions indicate that digital tools are more effective and acceptable to participants when they supplement rather than replace contact with human interventionists.”
Tech Devices Worth Trying
There are innumerable fitness gadgets out there that offer to help you get healthy and lose weight. Many of them are top-end devices that fundamentally only act as pedometers; they measure your activity through the day and give you some idea of how mobile you have been.
As well as some form of pedometer, adding a heart rate monitor, which measures the intensity of a workout can be a useful addition, especially when participating in high-intensity exercises, where, for 20 to 30 seconds, you need to increase your heart rate to your anaerobic threshold, with a 90 second recovery phase, in order to benefit fully.
You will also want to get close to, if not surpass, your maximum heart rate (estimated as 220 bpm, minus your age) at the last interval.
The Fitbit Zip a compact that clips onto your body, but has no fitness tracking, and costing between £45-£60 is not cheap for an incomplete bit of kit.
The Misfit Shine, a must for minimalists, is durable, flexible and well-priced, selling at between £9.90 and £35 is a nice pedometer and does it all without letting things like buttons or a display get in the way, but what it does is all pretty basic; it will track your steps, your calories, and any distance before syncing this data with your phone (so smartphone needed too).
The Jawbone Up, is a better all-rounder, as it includes a sleep tracker and some health info, although another wrist-able it does feel very chunky. This is a multi-function activity, and sleep monitor with a mobile app that keeps track of your food intake. It’s mainly designed to be worn all the time, and uses any data it collects to offer insights to help you attain your health and fitness goals.
The 365Gainz app offers all the features you’ll ever need.
- It will monitor your progress.
- Keep a record of all your progress to help keep motivated.
- Offer you a healthy eating plan where you can create custom food/drink items with full macro breakdowns.
- Give bespoke nutrition tactics to suit all of your goals.
- Allows progress photos (both you and your trainer can take and upload progress photos).
- Schedule workout plans
- And comes with a messaging system to help stay motivated with instant feedback and results through 365Gainz messaging board.
This, of course, is all complement by 1-2-1, pairs, group, or boot camp fitness sessions.
There is no substitute for willpower, but technology can be a strong motivator for helping you take charge of your fitness and health, and as there are approaching some 50,000 health apps to choose from, it can take a serious investment in time to work which apps are truly helpful, motivational and provide accurate information, and which really should be left in the drawer after Xmas, like the Marks and Sparks underwear from your aunt Mabel.
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