By Jen Jones Donatelli for Tech Connect
Thanks to intelligent accessories like the Fitbit, never before have we had so much reliable intel about our daily activity output—from sleep patterns to steps taken to caloric consumption.
And who doesn’t love being plugged into feeling good?
Having said that, you can often get the same results without having to invest in often-pricy wearable tech devices, and all it takes is a simple trip to the app store. Just ask Austin-based mom Shelley Seale, who uses the free S Health app on her Samsung Galaxy smartphone to track her steps, workouts, eating habits and more. “Like spending money, we often don’t know exactly what we ourselves are doing unless we track it meticulously,” says Seale. “One of the things I really like about the app is that when you input your personal information such as age, sex, height and weight, it will suggest daily step goals, calorie intake, etc.”
No matter what your own area of focus is, you’re likely to find a free or inexpensive app to fit your needs. Tossing and turning? Try SleepBot to get one step closer to better slumbers. Do you use competition as motivation? Download Fitocracy to earn points and unlock badges as you climb your way up the fit ladder alongside other gung-ho types. Need an all-around virtual fitness buddy? Argus is the app for you—tracking everything from steps walked to stairs climbed, calories eaten to cups of coffee consumed.
Chicago mom Megy Karydes uses a plethora of apps on her iPhone to stay active, including Runkeeper, Strava, and MyFitnessPal. She also wears a Jawbone, which syncs up all the apps for ease of use. “Post-kids, scheduling every minute of my day became a reality, so I needed something that could help me manage the few precious [moments of] ‘free time’ I had,” says Karydes.
Now she’s hooked, using the apps to help lose baby weight, stop snacking as much, and stay on track with her running and biking efforts. “I’m very goal-driven, and these apps keep me accountable,” she says. “The apps and Jawbone keep health and fitness on my radar, and that has been the best way to remind myself that I need to make it a priority, not an afterthought.”
Jen Jones Donatelli is a Los Angeles-based journalist and author who specializes in
all things lifestyle—including digital life. Her work has been published in/on Variety, MSN, Redbook, Livestrong, Every Day
Connected and many more.