One of the biggest trends in the fitness industry these days is high tech
gadgets that can help you to improve your health, fitness and performance
through tracking activity, nutrition and more. In addition to tools like
fitness watches, you can purchase smart shirts and bands that monitor
muscle activity, velocity, force and even GPS pieces that tell you how
hard, far and fast you are working.
The value of these gadgets is sometimes called into scrutiny as there are
often questions about their accuracy. That said, there is an article circulating on
Fox News Health right now about a 73-year-old woman who says her
Fitbit saved her life by monitoring her respiratory and heart activity. I recently
also read an article also on
Fox News Health that mentioned the possibility of a high tech gum that could someday soon
help detect cancer. The advances of these gizmos makes a person wonder
if they should have one, too!
Although I’m not sure that a Fitbit will save your life, useful information
can be gathered by monitoring and tracking your day to day activities
and better managing any health conditions you have. You may find these
tools can help with accountability and your performance, and you can even
save money using apps or devices instead of hiring a personal trainer,
dietician or paying a gym membership fee.
If you are considering purchasing a gadget or gizmo, you may want to first
look at some of the free options you might already have, since apps and
tools are often built into our phones and mp3 players.
If you have a Samsung product, you might try
S-Health. Samsung’s health app is pre-installed on their phones and advertises
that it “provides core features to keep up your body fit and healthy.
It will record and analyze your daily activities and habits to help maintain
successful diet and lead healthy lifestyle”. In addition, “Samsung
Health helps to create a balanced lifestyle pattern by recording a variety
of information like your food, caffeine and water intake details.”
Their app can be used as a stand-alone tool, or with external devices
such as Samsung Gear to monitor steps and activity, heart rate, blood
glucose, weight, SpO2, sleep, stress and more. The S-Health app will also
interact with other apps as well.
Apple offers their
Health App on their ios devices, and boasts: “The all-new Health app has been
redesigned to make it easier to learn about your health and start reaching
your goals. It consolidates health data from iPhone, Apple Watch, and
third-party apps you already use, so you can view all your progress in
one convenient place. And it recommends other helpful apps to round out
your collection — making it simpler than ever to move your health
forward.” Apples Health app tracks four categories of your health,
activity, sleep, mindfulness and Nutrition.
In addition to pre-installed apps, there are a myriad of apps to use that
are free or can be purchased at a low cost that can also help with tracking
or planning improved heath. Let’s take a quick look at some of the
most popular health apps available.
My Fitness Pal helps to log and track nutrition through journaling consumed foods.
Fooducate is an app that can help with grocery shopping- with a quick scan of a
barcode, you can evaluate how healthy a purchase you are making.
Couch to 5K has been a gold standard to use if you want to take up jogging and can
help you successfully complete a 5K course, just by following their run/walk
plan. There are also apps like
Nike+ Training that comes with customizable training plans from professional trainers
In addition to fitness and nutrition apps, you can find a variety of apps
to improve stress, sleep, perform first aid and more! Check out this article from
Greatist that lists their 39 best health and fitness apps.
Fitness bands like the Fitbit have gained in popularity over the past several
years. Many of these bands interact with apps like My Fitness Pal and
do a great job reminding us to get up and move, drink more water and monitoring
exercise intensity. If the freebie apps aren’t enough for you and
you are ready to upgrade to a specific piece of equipment like a fitness watch,
cnet rates the top wearable fitness trackers of 2017. Their top list includes:
- Fitbit Alta HR
- Fitbit Charge 2
- Garmin Forerunner 235
- Fitbit Flex 2
- Garmin Vivomove
- Garmin Vivoactive HR
- Fitbit Zip
- Fitbit Blaze
cnet article out to read more about how they are rated for performance, design,
battery use and software.
Apps and wearables (on our wrists) are really just the beginning for health
tracking. There are already smart shirts and sleeves that can be purchased
to monitor muscle force and velocity (the MLB and NFL recently approved
the use of two wearables to monitor a pitchers workload/heart rate and
a tracking system for football players as well) and companies like Under
Armour are starting to offer trackers built into our shoes, according
to this article from
It will be exciting to see the advances of technology as the devices and
tools we already have evolve into bigger pieces of our health care. For
the time being, we always have built in tools of our own to use.
If you would like to learn more about monitoring your heart rate on your
own, your blood pressure or your rate of perceived exertion, see your
CCH health coach!
Campbell County Health Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote
overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern
Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician