Tech to Keep Your Health & Fitness Resolutions
Another New Year, another chance to resolve to make some changes.
Leading a healthy life and losing weight are goals millions of Americans set every year – they are two of the top three resolutions year over year.
But research shows that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals.
Lucky for you, we live in an age where technology can help motivate you to stay on track and stick to your resolutions.
From fitness trackers and smart scales to apps that can help you workout, eat healthy and more – this year is THE year you can make your goals reality.
Live Healthy With Fitness Trackers
There are about a zillion fitness trackers on the market today.
From inexpensive clip-on pedometers to the tricked out Apple Watch, all those choices means that picking the right fitness band for you isn’t easy.
You should consider your budget, size and the benchmarks you want to track. For example:
Do you want it to auto-recognize and log activity, or just track steps?
Do you want it capable of registering your heart rate so you can gauge exertion?
Do you want it to help you track sleep patterns?
Do you need it to track certain metrics like number of floors climbed, or are you just interested in distance?
You should also preview the affiliated app to make sure that the data and records you’ll have access to meet your needs.
I’ve personally tried a number of trackers. As a relatively small person, I found that many are big, intrusive, and annoying to wear, which is why my favorite is the Fitbit Alta HR.
Fitbit Alta HR
This little powerhouse was named fitness tracker of the year by Wearable Tech Awards in 2017.
At $129.95, the FitBit Alta HR offers a lot of tracking power in a smaller device than most other watch-style trackers on the market.
It features a heart rate monitor which is always turned on. Just wear the band and the tracker will passively collect data in the background without getting in your way.
This is great for those of us that don’t like having to manually log activity. It recognizes that you’ve elevated your heart rate for a certain period of time whether it’s bike riding or hot yoga. Though it does also support specific activity logging.
If you’ve been inactive for too long, you’ll get reminders to move. Just 250 steps an hour can keep your office chair from entombing your rear.
A single charge can last 7 days reducing the inconvenience of taking it off.
Other features include a time display, call and text alerts, and a history of your fitness data.
You can track food right in the app, or auto sync with companion apps like MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers. And if you prefer the reports and tracking data offered by Runkeeper, Fitbit supports auto sync with that and many other 3rd party apps.
Alternative Alta HR bands
Does your band not go with that dress or suit, but you still want to log your steps?
Good news: you can quickly and easily swap out your sporty, plastic band for more stylish options!
There’s an assortment of Alta alternatives (starting at $10 on Amazon) that you can choose from. Pick what’s most comfortable, convenient, or suited for the occasion.
Variant styles include:
FitBit Aria 2 Smart Scale
Improving your health isn’t all about the numbers on a scale.
If you’re working out and eating healthy but aren’t seeing your weight drop as fast as you’d expect, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose motivation.
How do you know if your efforts are having effect?
With a full picture of lean mass, BMI, body fat, AND weight statistics.
Smart scales like the Fitbit Aria 2 give you this whole health view. If you’re weight hasn’t changed but your body fat percentage is dropping, you can be sure that your body is getting stronger and healthier regardless of whether or not you lose pounds.
Your stats are synced directly to your FitBit app, making it easy to track progress over time.
The scale can recognize and store data from up to 8 users. Stats are kept private, though, so you don’t have to worry about anyone else seeing your data.
In fact, 70% of users who use Aria every day reported weight loss in the first 6 months.
Workout Motivation from Moov
Moov offers something that passive fitness trackers don’t: real time motivation from a linked “smart coach” app.
Like a personal trainer at a fraction of the cost, the Moov HR Burn straps to your chest while you run, bike or follow along with guided HIIT workouts in the Moov app.
It tracks your heart rate and provides zone-based recommendations based on your activity.
There’s also a version that fits into a headband instead of strapping around your chest – the Moov HR Sweat.
Whether you’re walking, running, biking, or engaging in HIIT workouts, the Moov HR Burn smart coach feature will give you verbal cues to push harder, increase pace, or take a breather.
Now imagine that you’re starting off on your run. You’re getting into your stride, and a voice pipes in with a recommendation that you “land softer.”
With Moov Now you get real-time tips to improve your form, leading to fewer injuries and more effective workouts.
Workout with the app and your motion is actively tracked so you get cues to speed up or slow down and it knows when you’re reached your goal number of reps. No more cheating on your solo workouts.
Moov is one of the only fully waterproof fitness trackers to help swimmers track their workouts and keep improving.
Think of Moov as a 24/7 side-kick to help you reach your maximum potential.
Free Apps Can Keep you On Track
Staying motivated to workout and eat healthy is incredibly hard, particularly when you don’t see noticeable progress after days or weeks.
These FREE apps can help you track your food, exercise more effectively, even quit smoking.
They will show you much progress you’re making so that you stay on track.
Studies show that keeping a food journal doubles your weight loss.
But you don’t have to do it by hand. MyFitnessPal is your digital food journal.
It helps track your caloric intake by having you log what you eat throughout the day.
The app has a database of 5 million items, including restaurant and packaged foods.
Inputting items is super-easy.
You can scan barcodes and the app automatically enters the details for you. Otherwise, there’s always the option to make a manual entry and quickly save it for later use.
MyFitnessPal syncs with fitness tracker apps like FitBit, Jawbone, and FitStar.
This lets MyFitnessPal create detailed reports about your calorie intake vs. output.
When you’re wondering why your diet seems derailed, you can look back and see exactly how those extra green tea lattes are affecting your waistline.
Nike+ Training Club
You know that a personal trainer is a huge help to keep you accountable and going to the gym, but if that expense doesn’t fit in your budget Nike’s Training Club gives you a trainer on your phone.
The app features “world-class Nike master trainers” guiding you through over 160+ workouts and drills.
If you’re unsure about what workout to go with, head over to the daily “picks for you” section which gives recommendations based on your routine.
The more you train, the more personal your recommendations become.
There are workouts for everyone from beginners to pros.
Here’s a sample of what you’ll find
- Body-weight only strength Training
- Endurance and mobility workouts
- Boxing (new!)
Workouts range from 15-45 minutes and vary from low to high intensity.
There are even workouts from athletes like Michael Jordan and Serena Williams to inspire you to get moving.
Map My Fitness
Wouldn’t it be great to get real time notifications of your distance and pace so you can be sure that you’re making incremental improvements to your speed and endurance?
Well, there’s an app for that!
Map My Fitness uses your phone’s GPS to track the following information about your fitness activities:
- Pace and speed
- Calories burned
- Route traveled
You can choose from a variety of fitness activities like running, biking, hiking, and walking.
If you want to visualize your route, check out the interactive map feature.
Make fitness fun by joining challenges created by fellow users from Map My Fitness community, and get support from friends and family through integrated (optional) social sharing of your stats.
The app is compatible with Android Wear and Apple Watch.
Quit Smoking With Livestrong My Quit Coach
Research firm Populus conducted a survey of 2,000 people at the end of 2016.
When asked about their resolutions, of the 175 that chose “quit smoking,” only 13% remained smoke-free by the end of the year.
It’s no surprise that smokers need help quitting.
Livestrong’s My Quit Coach was designed to give you the support you need to kick tobacco for good.
The app is doctor-approved which means the personalized plans you can create to help you quit actually work.
When creating your plan, you can choose to either quit cold turkey or gradually taper off.
You can set reminders, goals, and even personal motivations to help you abstain. If that’s not motivation enough, there are achievement badges too!
There’s an in-app support circle through which you can communicate with other app users.
But if you do give in, make sure to log it into the app. That way you can track your smoking consumption and nicotine cravings and avoid triggers in the future.
Tip: Make yourself accountable.
Use social media to share goals with friends so they can encourage and support your effort.
You know that eating food you prepare yourself is integral to a healthier diet, but planning out a week’s worth of meals in advance sounds daunting.
You show up home after a long day and the prospect of frozen food is unappealing (at best). Fast food again, and diet derailed.
Check out the Mealime app.
You can use it to plan healthy meals and avoid last minute junk food.
The app lays out a week’s worth of meals, all of which have super simple instructions and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
Just tell it how many people will be eating and your likes and dislikes and the app takes care of the rest!
Weekly plans cover a wide range of healthy meals.
You don’t even have to figure out what ingredients to buy. The app automatically adds what you need to your grocery list for the entire week.
All you have to do is go to the store – once! – and get the week’s worth of ingredients.
Now when you get back home from work, all you have to do is pick a recipe and follow the visual step-by-step instructions.
There’s both a free and paid version.
The paid version costs $5.99/month and lets you add your own recipes and designate more settings like allergies to certain ingredients.
You Got This!
This is it – the year you make it past January on track to meet your goals and stick with those resolutions.
With the help of these gadgets and apps, you really can be a healthier, happier you.