Starting a healthy lifestyle and turning it into a routine can be daunting to say the least. If you’ve struggled with your weight, have had fitness goals fall by the wayside, or you’ve been diagnosed with a medical issue that can be helped with improved diet and exercise, it can be a shock to your system when you try to start a new fitness regimen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, 41.9% of American adults over age 20 are obese. Only 1 in five adults and 1 in five high school students meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
Even more serious are the statistics associated with chronic diseases. The CDC says that 37.3 million Americans have diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) and six in 10 American adults have at least one chronic disease (defined as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung or kidney disease, and certain forms of cancer) and four in 10 adults have two or more of these illnesses. Of course, some of these diseases cannot be cured by exercise and diet alone, but the treatment regimen prescribed by a doctor, whether complex or simple, can be aided by the appropriate use of technology. Namely, wearable, programmable, and/or handheld fitness and health monitoring/tracking devices.
Tech for healthy living
There are tons of articles free for all to read about the importance of being healthy. We all know the benefits. Longer life. Better relationships. An overall sense of feeling better. The ability to do things that you may not have been able to do when you weren’t healthy (walking up steps, playing outside, etc.). Well, due to the advances of medical, computer, and health technology, we have the ability to use some of the most powerful computing devices in the world to help us start and stay healthy. The best part? They’re more than likely in your pocket or purse or even on your wrist right now!
Searching through your favorite electronics store website reveals tons of different fitness trackers in different configurations.
- Single-purpose wrist worn trackers (Fitbit, Garmin, etc.)
- Trackers worn on your finger (Oura ring, etc.)
- Multi-function devices (Apple watch, your smartphone, etc.)
Some of these devices are best suited for beginners and have the functionality needed to get started on your health journey. Other devices have more advanced functions that runners, bicyclists, and other endurance athletes may prefer. Whichever type you choose, make sure that the functions suit your current needs and can also grow with you as you improve your fitness level. The modes available on most of these wearable or handheld devices include sleep monitors, goal tracking, step counters, calorie intake/burning counters, and more.
Other specialized devices are for monitoring a specific health issue and are usually mandated by your healthcare professional. These include:
- blood pressure monitors
- blood glucose monitors
These health trackers/monitors help your healthcare team, and even your family, stay on top of certain vital components of your health journey. A blood pressure monitor can help with high blood pressure illnesses like hypertension. Depending on the type of diabetes, a blood glucose monitor can be a huge benefit for keeping track of glucose levels.
In addition to the plethora of physical devices available to either track fitness or healthy living goals, there are applications that can be used to supplement the devices to create a complete, customized, well-rounded health picture and program. Apps like Calcium are a single-point tool that can sync with some of the more popular fitness/health tracking/monitoring devices on the market today. As mentioned above, devices can be leveraged to get the most out of your fitness/healthy living journey.
The best tech benefits
Using technology to help you start and maintain a healthy lifestyle takes some of the stress out of counting calories, logging miles, measuring glucose, or keeping track of sets and reps. Combining these with an app that helps calculate, collate, and communicate, is great for achieving your goals. Here are some additional benefits to combining wearable/handheld tech with a health tracker/monitor app like Calcium:
As mentioned, tracking and monitoring activities is a great benefit of both the wearable/handheld device combined with the app. Walking, running, bicycling, lifting weights, inputting blood sugar levels, monitoring heart rate and oxygen levels are just a few tasks that the device and app can help track. Another unique aspect of the app/device integration is for perioperative procedures where you and your surgeon can use the app’s included Pathways for a customized recovery plan.
Keeping track of your progress is a large part of reaching your fitness or healthy living goals. One way that the information collected can be used to help with your progress is a behavioral modification process called “gamification” that is included in the Pathways of the Calcium app. There are numerous challenges that you can participate in with friends or family members like the 21-day “Let’s Get Moving” challenge or the 25-day Summer Challenge to increase your score on the app’s HealthIndex that can be used as a motivational tool to keep striving to meet your goals.
The collected fitness/health information collected can also be securely forwarded to your healthcare team to ensure you are keeping up with exercise, diet, and even medication programs set by your doctor. When your healthcare team analyzes your progress over a set period of time, they can make adjustments as needed for future appointments, medication changes, or increasing exercise requirements. Speaking of adjustments…
The fitness/health tracking device and app combination can also help you modify your diet and exercise program. As you gain strength, improve endurance, lower glucose levels, or whatever your progression is, you can—with advice from your healthcare team—make adjustments to your exercise and diet regimen to match your specific needs. As the old commercial said: “knowing is half the battle” so understanding your progress will better help meet your overall goals. Your eHealth records can be synced through the app as well and be available with HIPAA-approved secure technology giving you peace of mind.
Take advantage of tech
Regardless of what type or brand of fitness or health tracker/monitoring device you use, taking control of your health is the primary goal. Syncing your fitness tracker or health monitoring device through an app like Calcium, is a great way to have a single point of focus to monitor your health and keep your family and healthcare team apprised of your progress (and successes!) as you move towards thinking and living healthier, getting the most out of your data, and taking a more active and personalized role in improving your overall health!