Today’s mobile application stores are filled with apps, claiming to improve your health. Some of them connect with external devices “smart wearables” to track your health in detail, and some use internal sensors like accelerometers and cameras to detect your movement, heart rate, etc. They all have the same purpose - to provide updates on your vitals and your movement to calculate how many calories you have burnt.
Thanks to the pandemic we are in, smart wearable manufacturers have now begun to incorporate oxygen concentration and body temperature sensors in their range of products. Some wearables now even claim to have blood pressure monitoring functionalities available, which remains a contentious function in terms of measurement and the accuracy of the results.
In the software arena, Google Fit is an app developed by the tech giant Google for Android as well as iOS, that uses in-built sensors and external wearables clubbed with clever algorithms to monitor your pre-set health goals.
Google has also collaborated with the World Health Organization to develop a scientifically-proven concept called “Heart Points” – an activity goal based on WHO's global recommendation on cardiac health. The idea is to get your heart pump harder to reach WHO’s recommended amount of physical activity that reduces the risk of heart diseases and improves sleep and overall mental well-being. You can also add custom health goals like walking, aerobics, sports, Yoga, Zumba, or anything recommended by your trainer or the YouTuber you watch to get your “six-pack”.
In addition to a heart-rate monitoring function that uses your phone’s rear camera and the flash, Google Fit has recently launched another functionality to “Track your respiratory rate” – a surprisingly precise function that uses your front camera (in a well-lit environment) to track slight changes in the shape of your breathing chest to calculate your breathing pace.
You can also choose from a variety of apps designed specifically to help you improve your lifestyle based on your preferences of functionalities. If you need an app that recognizes food items to know their calorie content, get ideas about healthy recipes, calculate and track nutritional and water intake throughout your day, you may like “MyFitnessPal”.
If you think you need some guided meditation sessions and work on your mindfulness, “Headspace” is something for you. If you are facing difficulties sleeping, “Sleep Cycle” might help by analyzing your sleep quality through sound analysis technology or your phone’s accelerometer, and recommend changes in your lifestyle to enhance your “Sleep Cycle”.
If you are willing to spend some hard-earned money, apps like “HealthTap” and “Nudge” with on-demand doctor and personal trainer access (virtual, of course) are available on the app stores. “HealthifyMe”, a calorie counter app with diet and training plans from professionals is also available for people wanting to lose weight or “get in shape”.
Apart from such extraordinary apps, many physical devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers have made the marriage between software and hardware a yielding one for the fitness enthusiast as well as amateurs. Health monitoring devices ranging from the Apple Watch with an ECG function on top of the plethora of other health monitoring tricks, to the cheaper versions from Boat, Huawei, and Xiaomi have made health monitoring affordable for everyone.
Midrange devices like the AmazFit, Honor Band, Samsung Fit E, etc are the best available in the market. The devices now have GPS for accurate tracking of your runs, SpO2 sensors for replacing Pulse Oximeters, and continuous heart and sleep monitoring functionalities, that provide a holistic view of your overall health status.
You may reap more benefits of technology coming in the form of apps and devices that track your body movement, food intake, sleep patterns, etc, along with following basic health guidelines from doctors.
Some easy things we can do to maintain good health are:
- Be physically active for 30 minutes a day. You can break it up into three 10-minute sessions if you’re a bit short on time. Walk, run, dance, or do any physical exercise that gets your heart pumping a little harder.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, low on fat, with ample fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, moderate in sugar, salt, and total fat is a balanced diet for good health.
- Go on treks, picnics, and partake in other outside activities like sports to ensure your stamina doesn’t decline too rapidly.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as these are injurious to health and may cause fatal health complications in many people. These habits also lead to unregulated weight maintenance along with disastrously harming lungs, liver, and other vital organs.
- Avoid UV exposure from the bright sun in summer, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen if you can.
- Avoid addictive drugs and gain awareness about substance abuse and its consequences.
- Be positive and happy, spread joy within your social circles and your family. Good mental health is the primary source of encouragement towards a healthy life. Negative people, who constantly whine about everything, have no will to improve their quality of life.
- Listen to soothing music. Music with “binaural beats” has been proven to help you focus, improve mood and help battle depression.
- And last but not least, do what makes you happy (if it doesn’t make others sad). Life is hard, no doubt, but remember, less fortunate people than you live happily and more fortunate people than you live in misery. Tie your happiness to yourself, not to others.
About the Author: Sheikh Owais is Learning and Development Specialist at iQuasar Software Solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com