Paula Jewett, MD
Do your kids watch too much television? Are you always attached to your smartphone or tablet? Research shows a connection between electronics use and obesity. But can electronics sometimes be a useful tool in improving health? Below we will explore some “hi tech” ways to lose weight, improve fitness, and possibly even sleep better.
Activity trackers are relatively new devices that help measure and track one’s physical activity. These devices that include bracelets, watches, and small clips, can measure steps you take, miles you travel and calories burned. Some even can collect data regarding sleep patterns and can measure heart rate as well.
The Fitbit is an oblong smooth plastic device that can be attached to a clip or put inside a pocket or even a bra. It is quite small, measuring less than 1 x 2 inches. Popular bracelets include the Nike + Fuel Band and the Jawbone. Most of these devices have blue tooth capability to sync with your computer or smart phone.
• My Fitness Pal – helps create a calorie budget based on your personal details and weight loss goals. You enter everything you eat and your exercise totals for the day and the display will shows how many calories you have remaining as the day goes by. I have had several patients use this app very successfully!
• Weight Watchers Mobile – uses the popular Weight Watchers diet and tracks your points on the go.
• Fitness Buddy – over 1700 exercises and over 1000 high definition videos to help coach you through the exercises.
• Nike Training Club – a variety of full body workout routines of 30-45 minutes which include demonstration videos.
• Map My Fitness – a great way to use GPS to track your running, walking and cycling. This app tracks your route, mileage and speed and stores your workouts to chart your progress.
• Cruise Control Run – uses your own music library to select music that will help you keep the pace you want to run. I’ve found it’s easy to keep a consistent tempo if you just have to run to the beat!
• Pocket Yoga – over 150 simple illustrated yoga poses, complete with detailed descriptions. The app will also put these together into sessions of varying lengths.
• Sleep Cycle – monitors movements as you sleep and keeps metrics of how well you slept last night. It even has an alarm that can wake you when you are sleeping the lightest so that you feel more refreshed.
• Sleep Pillow Sounds – a variety of white noise and other sleep inducing sounds that help block out extraneous noise, creating a better sleep environment.
As you can see, in spite of the evidence that links electronic device use and obesity, there are many ways to use electronics to help promote your health. So instead of picking up your smart phone or tablet to play Words with friends, use it to track calories or inspire your workout!