Happy New Year! 10 Health tools for 2013
The most common New Year's Resolutions are 'lose weight', 'go to the gym', 'eat healthily' or 'give up alcohol'. Yet these are often short lived goals as they're not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time based). Instead they should be more defined i.e. 'lose half a pound a month until June'.
So here's some handy tools that will help you stick to your health goals this 2013.
The FitBit is a tiny device that clips onto your clothes during the day, or can be worn on a wrist strap while you sleep. It tracks all your movement, all day long. It tracks your steps, flights of stairs you walk up and calories burnt. All of which can be synched to it's online account for free so you can easily view your progress and win awards for achievements.
At night it will determine the quality and length of your sleep. Think of it like a pedometer on steroids! There's no excuse for not reaching 10,000 steps a day. And wearing it really does motivate you to walk more.
FitBit have recently launched a cheaper model that doesn't track your sleep which is great if you just want a cutting edge pedometer.
Available from: Amazon or John Lewis.
2. My Fitness Pal
Is available online and Android and Apple IOS Apps. It that allows you to track the calories of the food you eat and other healthy activities. It can also be synched with the FitBit above. The great thing is it includes UK foods and gluten free foods so if you're a Coeliac wanting to lose weight it's simple to use. It can take a while to get used to setting it up and tapping in your meals but once you do it remembers them.
Is billed as a tool to 'Tracking your mood quickly and easily.' There are many different philosophies around mood tracking, but give it a try and see how it becomes relevant to you. Did you have a huge fight with your girlfriend yesterday and have no idea why? Maybe it’s because you were in a bad mood, didn’t get enough sleep and skipped breakfast.
4. Dayturn App
This app allows you to track anything you want, and then will represent it visually. Whether your weight, number of pages you read weekly or time spent walking the dog, just input the number and Daytum will graph it for you. After all you can manage what you can see so there's no excuse for not achieving your goal. Available on Apple IOS.
5. Ask Me Every
Allows you to self-track pretty much what you want with AskMeEvery, which will text you the same question once a day. How many miles did you drive today? How many hours did you spend with your family? You simply text the response back and AskMeEvery will graph the information for you. There's nothing like being nagged to force to do your goals!
Stickk does what it sounds like. It helps you set a goal and stick to it, with incentives of monetary rewards and social pressure. Want to quit smoking or lose weight? Get money and friends involved and you’ll hit your goal sooner than you think.
7. Evernote Food
Want to eat out more this year or only eat healthy meals? Then use this handy app to take pics and notes on your favourite foods so you never forget a great gluten free meal. Or use it to take pics of all the healthy meals you're eating so you can track your progress and avoid ready meals and take aways (yes some Coeliacs do eat them!).
The coolest part of Strava is that you can share your rides and runs with friends. Strava says it's 'for solo athletes who often train solo and want to connect with a community of athletes to foster some camaraderie and competition'. Go for a bike ride or run, bring your smartphone with GPS and sync the stats of your workout to the website. Strava is available on Android and iPhone for free. Handy for sporty types!
Writing down your mood and goals can be useful to fend off depression and enable you to reflect on your achievements, keeping a diary can be a great lifestyle tool. However, not everyone wants to keep a hard copy which might be found by someone else. So this is where Penzu comes in handy. The free online tool enables you to create your own secure personal online diary. If you pay for the premium version (around £10 a year) it also allows you to customise the look of the diary and upload photos plus you can change the font for the handwriting. More versatile and similar to a real paper diary than a blog it's becoming a useful tool for diary writers.
10. Kegal Kat
Recovering from an Op or injury? Need to strengthen your pelvic floor? Then Kegal Kat may just be the kind of fun 80's style app that you need. Available on BlackBerry and Android it allows you to create reminders to do your pelvic pulls. Plus you can enjoy confusing your friends and families as they wonder where the 'miaow' reminder sound came from and start looking for an invisible cat!
What online tools & apps do you use? What would you recommend as health tools?