Technology is making the impossible possible — and for more people than ever. Technology evolves at a blindingly-fast pace year after year. What once seemed impossible or out-of-reach for most people is often readily accessible by just about everyone these days. And with increasingly sophisticated yet user-friendly apps and accessories, achieving and maintaining your health goals is easier than ever. Read below to discover ways that technology can help you monitor, maintain and even improve your health.
There’s an app for that
In our digital age, mobile apps continue to exceed expectations and defy conventional limitations. The simple medication reminder apps from a few years ago have evolved into sophisticated platforms that can track multiple medications and provide warnings about dangerous interactions. And the apps that once made it easy to schedule appointments online can now provide access to your detailed medical records with just a few swipes.
Today, myriad apps are available for helping people manage chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Some integrate with fitness devices and trackers such as FitBits and others to provide valuable data you can share with your healthcare provider. These apps aren’t a substitute for the regular care your doctor provides, but they can be another tool for helping ensure accurate and timely communication and adjustments when necessary. Talk to your doctor to see if they recommend a specific app based on your health needs.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite apps to check out this year:
- Talkspace: Talk with a licensed therapist at any time with 24/7 mobile access. This app plays an integral role in the mental health field from your very phone.
- HelpAround: Based upon diagnosis and behavior, this platform can provide users with information on therapy, updates on insurance and access to community and financial services.
- SleepWatch: Works with the Apple Watch app to provide you with daily updates on how you slept, logs on past sleep quality, average heart rate during sleep, etc.
- Couch to 5k: Learn how to run a 5k over a nine week period through interval running — this is a great option for new runners!
- Shock Training: Women’s workout app that can be specialized just for you. Includes live workouts and training programs.
- Fooducate: Learn how to change your eating habits by using this nutrition and health tracker. This platform tracks food intake, calorie quality and macros (proteins, fats carbs). This app also provides free health advice and personalized nutrition grades on the foods you eat.
At-home exercise tech
In addition to apps, more people than ever are turning to at-home exercise routines and equipment for essential workouts — especially in light of the pandemic. Luckily, advances in home workout equipment have brought the sophistication of expensive gym equipment right to a spare corner in your home. Though smart home workout equipment varies in price, there are a lot of options to best suit your needs:
- Peloton Bike: This is a great at-home option if you want to get a good daily workout and are prepared to invest some money to get it. The Peloton Bike allows users to stream cycling classes along with hundreds of other downloadable workouts.
- The Mirror: This product serves as a full-length mirror that doubles as a screen. It provides users with live workouts and feedback — all while being able to check your form and monitor your performance. A spendier but exciting at-home workout choice.
- JAXJOX Kettlebell Connect 2.0: An all-in-one fitness experience that includes a unique, stackable kettlebell. While lifting and exercising, this product monitors your performance and provides live tracking.
- FightCamp Connect: A unique boxing workout experience that provides performance tracking in every punch. This product also provides users with workouts and expert trainers.
- YouTube workout videos: Free workout videos are now more accessible than ever on streaming sites like YouTube — and so is the variety. From yoga to boxing, you’re bound to find something that will suit you and your living space.
Exercise and health come together in wearable tech. Wristbands and trackers have been around for years, but recent advances make maintaining your health even easier, with lower prices that make the technology more accessible. Companies are constantly increasing the level of activity and biometrics they can track and report, from daily steps taken to blood sugar levels and sleep quality.
New advances in wearable tech include:
- Lumen Metabolism Tracker: A portable device that monitors and tracks your metabolism.
- KardiaMobile EKG Monitor: An EKG monitor that attaches easily to your phone. This monitor enables users to send results to their healthcare provider and help track health conditions such as bradycardia and tachycardia.
- Oura Ring: This ring can track your heart rate, temperature and calorie burn. It’s small and perfect for people who don’t want a wristband or larger form of wearable tech.
New and better ways to use technology to manage health will continue to evolve in the months and years ahead. And with options that range from free apps to exercise equipment that costs thousands of dollars, you’re sure to find a way to use technology to take charge of your health that works with your budget.
This article first appeared in the January 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.