Health · Technology

Tech Tuesday: Personalized Health and Fitness Apps

Technology is ushering in a new era of personalization. By compiling huge datasets, Facebook knows your political orientation, Google displays uncanny advertisements for the product you just searched for, and Netflix helps you pick your next favorite movie. This turn toward data collection and personalization has also revolutionized fitness and health—when you think about getting “beach body ready” this summer, that means your actual beach body, not someone else’s. Whatever your goal, be it weight loss, increasing your pace during workouts, or simply getting active, fitness and health apps and monitors that are tailored to your body and your preferences will help you get on track and stay motivated.

Health and Fitness Tracking Technology

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Fitbit

The health- and fitness-tracking industry has exploded in the last few years with wearable devices like Fitbit. These devices can be worn around the wrist or attached to clothing. Depending on the capabilities of the particular device, they can track your steps taken, distance traveled, flights of stairs climbed, calories burned, heart rate, and even sleep cycle. These trackers can then sync to a smart phone app, or to your computer, so that you can compile personal data and track your progress. Health monitoring helps ensure that you are taking steps in the right direction, and that you are improving your fitness in a way that works for your body.

 

Health and Fitness Smart Phone Apps
You can improve on any aspect of your health and fitness with the help of an app. These leading apps highlight the breadth of health and fitness offerings, including weight management, fitness enhancement, and even personal training.

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Weight Loss
graphs1                                                                                          Lose it!

Lose it! is geared toward dieting and weight management. With a friendly and uplifting interface, Lose it! boasts a large catalogue of grocery store and restaurant foods to help you count your calories. Begin by setting a goal for your weight, and Lose it! will provide you with a personalized plan to meet your goal. Then all you have to do is keep an accurate diary (no cheating) of the foods you eat and the exercise you do on your daily log. Keep your account private or share your goals and progress with friends and participate in challenges to increase your motivation. Lose it! is also compatible with personal fitness trackers like Fitbit and Map My Fitness. If you want to expand your health management beyond weight management, to factors like your sleep schedule or nutrition, Lose it! offers a paid premium option that, if used to its full capacity, is probably more detailed than most medical records.

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Fitness
android.d118ecfb1d72                                                                            Map My Fitness

If you like to exercise—or don’t, but begrudgingly go out for runs or walks anyway—Map My Fitness makes it easy to track your improvement and amp up your routine. Using GPS, this free app records your route, speed, and distance as you walk, run, or bicycle. Keep records of your performance and integrate your exercise data with Map My Fitness’s calorie counter, or export it to another management tool like Lose it!

And while you are out there, exercise to tunes that will pump you up. RockMyRun is a free app that creates high-energy mixes tailored to your speed, based on the song’s beats per minute. All you have to do is move to the music (but careful; if you slow down you’ll get out of sync)!

Personal Training

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Sometimes you are really motivated to get moving, go for a walk, jog in the neighborhood or hit the gym, but other times you might need a little help to get started. With FitStar Personal Trainer, available for iOS, you can download your new personal trainer, ten-time All-Pro NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez, for free. Okay, a hard-hitting 6′ foot 5″, 250-pound NFL trainer does sound a little bit intimidating. But watch his promotional video; he’s really a sweetheart. Fitstar Personal Trainer will introduce you to new workouts that you can do in your living room or on a gym mat, and adjusts the routine to you. After completing an exercise, you can rate how awful it felt and how long you were able to endure it to personalize the next moves that Tony will guide you through. Your workout is based on your goals and abilities, and evolves as you improve. The same technology is available (but without Tony) for personalized yoga routines, called Fitstar Yoga. If you want more than is offered in the free version, both of these apps offer premium paid versions for greater access.

It’s easy to dwell on the unsettling, Orwellian side of this age of big data. Let’s face it, your favorite Internet sites may know more about you than you do about yourself. But at the same time, gaining access to your personal data—your calorie intake, sleep schedule, and daily exercise regimen—is empowering. By taking advantage of these monitoring and motivational tools, you can stay healthy and get fit your way.

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  • Kelly Siderio May 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    cool!

    Reply
  • Jeden Dvatre May 26, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Well written and informative as usual – thanks.

    Reply
  • Roz Warren May 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Another great piece from Amy Blum! (By the way, I think it’s time to update this writer’s bio. Given the terrific pieces she’s been writing for Womens Voices, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere, I’d say it was time to drop the “aspiring.” She’s a science writer. And a good one.)

    Reply