They say technology makes us lazy, but my smartphone has actually helped my healthAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
I'm sure we've all heard it from somebody: Technology is making the youth of today lazy, lazy, lazy. And while we roll our eyes, we continue to sit there and browse Facebook, update our Twitter and tap away at texts and e-mails - obviously a convincing argument when this statement is used against you. But as lazy as technology might make us look sometimes, if you know how to play your cards right smartphones can actually take an active part in making your day-to-day life healthier. I know it has helped with mine.
I haven't always used my smartphone to help me get healthier. Two years ago, I wouldn't have ever considered it. I used my phone for exactly what people think you get smartphones for - music, social networking, texting and phone calls. Maybe a game or two. But aside from that, the statement rang true for me. Technology was making me lazy. But sometime in the beginning of last year, probably around New Year's when my New Year's resolution followed suit with the cliche "get healthy" goals that everybody makes, I decided that it was time get down to business, and be serious (cue "Eye of the Tiger", or some other encouraging training music of the sort.) Although changing my diet and working out were naturally the first things to do in order to achieve this, keeping track of what I was doing and my progress was equally as important. What better way to do so than with my handy dandy smartphone?
So I started looking up applications that helped keep track of diet and exercise, and along the way I got the idea to start looking up what other applications could improve my health in the process. With an app market of over 800,000 applications, I had hoped that there would be something worth something within those hundreds of thousands of applications. Fortunately, there was. I found several that I ended up trying out, but about four of them contribute to my weekly health routine greatly.
The first one was MyFitnessPal. It really is my little fitness pal. This application helps you try to attain your weight loss goal through dieting, and helping you keep track of what you eat. Every day I mark in what I've eaten, and it marks down what the nutritional information of a product is and lets me know how much I can have left in the day. Although I don't follow the goals to a T because they don't necessarily follow the ways of the diet I'm on, it's still the one tool that I use every day in order to keep track of what I eat exactly. Without it, I had a tendency to overeat. Without it, I would forget to write the stuff down, and even then I wasn't that good at calculating what I could have or what I couldn't have. MyFitnessPal has taken a lot of the guesswork out of my dietary needs and made it easier than ever to keep track of eating habits.
The next two applications aren't necessarily meant for diet and exercise, but it has greatly contributed to keeping me motivated to keep going. Both Pandora and Spotify have been great tools in getting me going when it's time to work out - I just can't seem to focus without music. Spotify works great for keeping all of my music that I could basically ever want in one convenient application, but I tire of the same songs easily and need an application to keep my playlist fresh. Pandora works wonders for finding music that relates to what I already like, and has led to me to quite a few bands that I probably would have never discovered without. Regardless, these two applications have attributed greatly to keeping me pumped kicking when it comes to exercising.
Another app that I also contribute a lot of my health benefits to is C25K. Advertised as being a progressive running program that gradually conditions you to being able to a run a 5K marathon, this application takes the cake if you're willing to stick with it. Every week when the workout intensified, I pretty much died a little bit inside. But with the help of music, my own power and will, and definitely the help of my smartphone I continued to get better. The app is free and it certainly helped me go from the couch to running more than I ever thought I could in just a few short weeks, and then some.
Getting healthy is very much a self-motivated thing, but at the same time there are tools that can help you achieve your goals within your very own smartphone that you might not know about. I think without my smartphone, I probably (probably!) wouldn't have been able to keep up. I'll never know, but I can definitely, 100% say that my smartphone has contributed to making my life healthier. I mean, yeah, it probably contributed to making me a little lazier too, but... at least that's not all it did.
Readers, has your phone been able to help you healthify your life? If it has, how so? Let us know how your smartphone has helped you in the comments below!