“Get plenty of exercise.” “Eat right.” “Take your medication.” It seems like every day we are bombarded with advice and instructions on how to get, and stay, healthy. While you are in charge of your personal health and choices, there are plenty of gadgets that can help you on the path to wellness. From devices that track your exercise progress to tools to help you eat more slowly and take your medication, modern technology can be your best friend when you want to live better.
Ask any doctor or fitness expert about the best thing people can do to improve their health, and there’s a good chance he or she will say, “Quit smoking!” That’s easier said than done — but electronic cigarettes can help. Electronic cigarettes allow smokers to enjoy the act of smoking, and in some cases, still have nicotine — without most of the harmful carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes. Whether the devices are a long-term replacement for cigarettes or a short-term “step down” toward a smoke-free lifestyle, they are generally a better choice for avoiding smoking’s significant health risks.
Getting and staying healthy requires making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, and that includes exercise, diet and sleep. Researchers have found that recording your progress in each of these areas can make a difference in staying on track and motivating you to move forward. The Fitbit devices can help you do just that. The Fitbit is a wireless monitor you wear all day; as you go about your activities it monitors your exercise, your sleep cycle and your eating habits. It then sends that information to an application that records your progress and helps you meet your goals. The Fitbit also allows you to measure your progress against others — making it easy to challenge friends and family to improve your lifestyles together.
Prescription medications only work when you remember to take them, but if you are like many people, staying on top of your meds can be difficult. Vitality Glowcaps make it easier to remember to take your medication. The caps are programmed with information about your medication, such as the dosage and how often to take it. When it’s time to take your medicine, the cap alerts you with a series of increasingly insistent messages; the cap starts with a flashing light, then an alarm and finally sends a text message or calls you if you haven’t opened the cap. You can also order refills of your medication right from a button on top of the cap when necessary, making compliance with your doctor’s instructions simple.
Several studies have looked at the correlation between how fast we eat and our weight and found that the faster a person chows down, the heavier he or she is. Because it can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full, when we eat too fast, we take in too much food.
To help speed-eaters slow down, the HAPIfork vibrates when it detects that you’re eating too fast, indicating you need to take more time between bites. The fork then connects via Bluetooth or USB to an online dashboard that tells you exactly how long it took to eat your meal, the time between bites and number of times you put your fork in your mouth each minute. By monitoring your eating speed, you know when to slow down — and can better meet your weight loss goals.
Striiv Fitness Game
Have you ever thought, “Gee, this online game is a lot of fun, but I really should go to the gym?” If so, you’re in luck! The Striiv Fitness Game takes everything you love about online games like “Farmville” and turns it into an opportunity to get in shape and stay healthy.
When you play the game, you earn “energy” by doing real-world physical activity. The longer and harder you work out, the more you can do in your virtual world. The game only works on a handheld device, which retails for about $100 and tracks the number of steps you take, your speed and your heart rate and converts it into virtual energy units. As you become more immersed in the game, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself taking an extra lap around the block or choosing the stairs at the office, simply to feed your crops or earn extra points to finish a building.
Again, your overall health and well-being depends on you and the choices you make — but by incorporating some of these fun gadgets, you can get and stay on track more effectively, and make better lifestyle decisions.
About the Author: Gail DiLorenzo is a health and fitness blogger who recently lost more than 70 pounds by exercising regularly and using an online food diary. She also quit smoking and started vaping with the White Cloud electronic cigarette.