Wow, we are already rolling through August. How is your 2016 going for your health and fitness goals? Are you having trouble keeping track of your progress? Are you logging the food you are eating? Are you tracking your exercise routines? Are you monitoring the changes taking place in your body weight and composition? No you say, I just don’t have the time to be writing things down, Bob. I hop on the scale in the morning and swear to myself that I will do better with food choices and getting in my water today. Well my friends let me share a few simple ways to keep track of your goals and they will not take much time at all. In fact, if you have a smart phone, you are on your way.
Technology is all around us and when it comes to tracking your fitness goals, it sits in the palm of your hand or around your wrist. There are many free fitness apps out there that you can download to your smartphone that let you easily track daily food intake and calorie burn from your exercise routine. There are even watches and wrist bands that monitor heart rate, track steps taken and report your sleep patterns. It is called wearable technology and it is evolving faster and faster.
A couple of the great apps that I have personal experience with are “Couch to 5K” and “MyFitnessPal.” The first one can take a complete non-runner and prepare them for a 5K run in just a few months. I saw this with my wife who had not run since her high school athletic days. She downloaded the app to her smartphone and on her first day the “coach” had her mixing walking for a few minutes with slow jogging for maybe 30 seconds. With each workout, the app would increase the jogging time until she achieved a full 5K. In just over three months, she entered her first run event and completed the Navy-Air Force 5 miler, running the whole way. It was a great personal accomplishment for her as she set the goal to run a 5K and this simple piece of technology helped her to achieve her goal.
MyFitnessPal is an awesome food journal you can download to your smartphone and it has thousands of foods preloaded. You can manually select the food and portion from a menu and it adds it to your daily food journal. If you have the package available for the food you are eating you can use your phone’s camera and hover over the barcode and the food will download into your journal. This provides you with instant feedback on calories consumed and tracks your macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates and fats) intake. You can also have it show you the amounts of sodium and sugar you are eating in your food choices. And it will track water intake and we all know how important water is, right?
I want to give you one more great fitness gadget and that is the Fitbit. It is a wristband you wear that can simply track your steps for the day or you can upgrade and get one that does that plus monitors your heart rate and sleep patterns. What I really love about the Fitbit is the group challenges you can create. The work week hustle has become a favorite among my family, some close friends and clients that join in the challenge(s). You can see the total steps for everyone that is in the challenge, so it becomes a great motivator as you see someone pass you in total steps. If you are competitive, this is the app for you.
I will leave you with this wearable technology quote from a Los Angeles Times article that printed last year; “The wearable technologies we’re seeing on the market now are early, clunky versions of what’s coming soon,” Bonilla said. “In the future, your smartwatch will instantly access your medical records, diet and training logs then sync them with sensors in the supermarket and mall to provide real-time shopping and health advice. Your smart shoes and biometric shirts will remind you to straighten your posture, hydrate and run and walk with correct form to protect your back and knees. A smart bandage will tell diabetics when their blood sugar is running low.”
Now there are no more excuses. So, when you are getting ready in the morning, make sure you apply your wearable technology. There is a quote from an unknown author that says, “Life is simple, its just not easy.” That is such a true statement, but I want to tell you that wearable technology is both simple and easy. Wishing you a healthy and fit life, Bob.