4 Ways to Use Your Smartphone to Be Healthy

While smartphones have become the de facto means of whiling away downtime, there are in fact many ways you can harness that processing power for more than just social media updates. Your smartphone can become your personal life coach, available 24×7, guiding you and keeping you on track to meeting your personal goals, whatever they may be. We are going to lay out four ways you can use your smartphone on a daily basis to help you feel good, be healthy and maintain your momentum. We will mention a few specific apps, but there will be differences in what is available on iTunes, versus Google Play and the Windows App Store, so a bit of investigation may be required on your part to find the best app for your purposes.

#1: Sleep Better

It’s no shock that most of us do not get a good night’s sleep. And phone, computer and TV screens may be contributing to the collective sleeplessness the world is experiencing. However, there are many apps available to help turn the tables and begin the process of rebuilding a proper sleep schedule. To do so, you will want to look at two different types of apps white noise sleep aids and sleep tracking apps. White noise apps provide soothing sounds for a preset time, allowing you to fall asleep more easily and blocking out distracting noises. Sleep tracking apps provide a more responsive experience. Since most of us sleep with our phones near (or even in) our beds, these apps attempt to monitor your sleep tracking your movements and sounds to determine how much ‘good’ sleep you are actually getting. Some of these apps require your phone to be under your mattress, in order to monitor your movement. The goal of all this is to provide you with feedback: how many hours you sleep, how much good sleep you get, and so on. Altogether, you can get a more accurate picture of something that is otherwise difficult to track, and an extremely important, but often disregarded, aspect of overall health.

#2: Eat Better

We all must eat, but it often becomes a matter of convenience and speed, rather than the planned and disciplined activity we would prefer. Even with the harried lives most of us lead, there are still means to ensure you are eating what you want to eat, rather than what is most convenient. Several apps available for iPhone and Android phones that can keep you on track are My Diet Coach, Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker, MyNetDiary, Fooducate and Calorie Tracker. These apps can do a variety of things from monitoring your daily calorie intake as compared to your goal intake, to scanning product QR codes and providing insight into the ingredients and health factors. They all work together to help you maintain or meet the goals you set for yourself, and to educate you about the foods you are eating. These apps are surprisingly robust, providing information about most restaurant meals and home-cooked dinners as well.

#3: Exercise

Exercise is one of those things that we all feel we need more of, but have difficulty getting started or finding the time to keep it up. Some experts have maintained that all we need to do to be healthy is take 10,000 steps per day. Others recommend at least 30 minutes of rigorous activity every day. If you want to start working toward those benchmarks, there are a variety of free apps that can monitor and assist you. A simple pedometer app that measures each step can show you how many steps you take per day. Or apps like MapMyRun can track you across a variety of activities: running, walking, biking, weightlifting, or nearly any other activity you participate in. Other apps like Workout Trainer provide step-by-step instruction for weightlifting, exercise moves, yoga and more. And this is totally free. Nike provides the Nike Training Club app, which features 130 workout routines you can do at home or at the gym. And there are many more amazing apps available to download for free. Don’t let a lack of experience hold you back.

#4: Monitor Your Health

Staying on top of your health is a priority for most people. If you take medication regularly, have a chronic condition that needs to be monitored, or just have normal health questions, there are apps available for assistance. WebMD provides an app for free that will allow you input your symptoms, identify pills, show possible drug interaction concerns and more. If you take a variety of medications on a regular basis, the Drugs.com Medication Guide app will track your prescriptions digitally, and check for possible interactions if you are introducing new medications. For parents, the KidsDoc app (paid) will help you analyze your child’s symptoms and determine the best course of action, including when to seek emergency help. Similarly, ITriage works the same way, but is not just for children, and includes features like finding the nearest hospital and maintaining a personal health record. Finally, HealthTap is a fantastic free app which provides answers to your health questions, from actual specialists. You can even schedule appointments and share information directly with health care providers.

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