Technology and I haven't gotten along over the years. I felt happiest during the segments of my life when a phone and wifi didn't exist, or at least weren't easily accessible... however, it's time to own up and face the Pandora. Having a business makes it nearly impossible to disconnect, although I remind myself to take time for myself when I am able to turn off the phone, close the laptop, and check out of the land of the world wide web.
That being said, I recently purchased an Apple Watch... never would I have expected myself to cave and become even more synced in to technology. A patient of mine took hers off before a treatment and that got the conversation rolling. I researched more into the watch and saw great benefits, especially relating to health and staying on track throughout a busy day. For those of you following my blog, remember the water post? Since that experiment I have continued to struggle with consuming the appropriate amount of water daily and found myself guzzling as much down as possible too late into the evening, meaning frequent trips to the loo disturbing my precious sleep! The thing that sold me on the watch was the water reminder features. So I caved.
Now, I've had a few days to play with my new toy and realized that anyone could benefit from the wide variety of apps out there, with or without a smart watch. If you can't beat them join them!! If we must live in a world run by technology then we might as well take advantage of the toys and use them for our health and well-being. Below are the apps I've found most useful for Body, Mind, and Spirit:
DailyYoga: After scrounging around with different yoga apps, this is the one I have committed to. It is $12.99 per month or as low as $4/ month for the full year ($39.99). Not only are there different teachers, styles of yoga, class lengths and difficulties, but there is a wide variety of music. YogaGlo was recommended to me by Apple, which has all the same features minus the music. It does sync with the AppleWatch, meaning the heart rate is specifically designated to the yoga class, however with any other yoga app the watch will keep track of your general heart rate and activity levels and record it into the Health app. YogaGlo has a free one week trial then will automatically charge you $23 a month until cancelled. Daily Yoga has free classes available too and the more you utilize the free features the more things you can unlock and use. Another great Yoga app is Yoga Studio. You pay the initial price for the app (I think it was roughly $5) then use freely. You can design your routine or choose classes based on your intensity level and goal (flexibility, balance, strength, meditation/relaxation, or a combo of everything).
Zova: similar to the Yoga apps but for all non yoga workouts. It's basically a workout in your pocket. Monthly fees are required. If yoga isn't your thing and you don't enjoy going to the gym (or like me, feel completely lost while at the gym), then this app is for you. Very helpful to motivate and keep you active no matter your fitness level.
Carrot: There are many different apps by this name, look for the red image with a scale in it for the Exercise version. Carrot is a snarky app program for many different things, in this case it is fitness. Carrot is a funny way to motivate weight loss, activity, and routine. It reminds you when to weigh in or work out and will even import your exercises from other apps (YogaGlo for example) as well as your steps so you can have everything in one convenient place. It even offers little activities and workouts to get you going. You can purchase as a bundle or independently.
AllTrails: An app I've used and cherished for years. Any trails for hiking, biking, walking, running, dogging, or even horse riding is listed and outlined just for you. There are levels of intensity and any other useful information noted for each trail near you!
Health Apps: The watch is lovely because it tells me about my heart rate: what raises it or lowers it, my resting rate, or if there are any extreme spikes that may be related to a health concern (such as A-Fib). A couple apps that focus on the heart rate include the Health app (takes all your information from other apps and compiles it neatly into one area, track the changes throughout the week!). There's also the Apple Heart Study (for Apple users) that keeps track of your information and will notify you if you're one of many who unknowingly has A-fib, which could be an indicator of stroke, blood clots, etc. If A-fib is detected then you are notified and asked to talk with one of their physicians online (completely free) and take the next necessary steps (also for free). Couldn't hurt. Almost all workout or fitness apps utilize the heart rate benefits of any smart watch or fitbit.
Waterminder: My personal favorite. Price was somewhere between $2-5 and will keep track of your fluid intake and hydration levels in a fun and easy way. It motivates me to drink more water and to notice the difference in how I feel as I do so. Also logs different types of drinks with different points for hydration levels (coffee, tea, beer, wine, etc.). You can personalize the add buttons with measurements (fl. oz. for example), colors and logos (I have a green tea cup for my tea option), and fluid. After typing in your personal information you will receive a goal recommendation for your hydration intake. This is what makes the app unique versus other water reminding apps.
Lifesum: A beautiful app that lets you know what your nutrition intake is like and what may be lacking. Not just a calorie counter, this app lets you put in your goals, offers you different diets and recipes that work best with your goals and body type, and keeps track of your water intake and exercise while letting you know if you need more protein/fats/fiber/etc. in your day. Stay on top of your day and your food intake.
Beddit: An app that requires additional 'hardware'. I personally didn't want to purchase additional merchandise and opted for SleepWatch, which uses the Apple Watch (may work with a fitbit, but not completely sure). I simply charge my watch an hour or so before bed then wear it to sleep. I wake up like a kid on Christmas morning to see how restful or restless my sleep was in addition to any changes in my heart rate. Very interesting to learn about myself while unconscious. Carrot's Alarm app is one to be noted here. If you have trouble waking up in the morning and need a drill instructor of an alarm clock, this app is hilariously useful. It certainly got me up and going, unfortunately it worked on my partner as well (who thought it was funny, yet I doubt he would enjoy it every morning). The alarm sounds and you choose to snooze (which makes the Carrot robot angry and full of vengeance) or turn it off (which requires a series of tasks such as clicking the box 13 times or turning the phone over and upside down, etc.). By the time your alarm is silenced, you're wide awake.
Reminders: In addition to be reminded to drink water, there is Habitminder. For free, you can choose up to three habits to be reminded of on a regular basis of your choosing. Drinking water can be applied here as well. I made the mistake and had both water reminders going and it was too much for me. Habitminder can remind you to do any chores you may forget; physical, mental or spiritual habits you're trying to incorporate into your daily routine; or even reminds you to smile and to love with compassion if you prefer. I personally wish I knew about this app sooner in life! Carrot's ToDo List is also a great app to keep life organized with a snarky twist. By crossing off the items on your list, tedious tasks can be turned into a game. The more you complete the more you get to interact with the funny Carrot. This app can be purchased as part of the Carrot bundle for roughly $10 or independently for $2-$4.
Weather: Know how to dress your body with a snarky weather app by Carrot. Beautifully made and full of funny jokes and witty remarks, checking to see what's happening outside has never been more fun. Again, this can be purchased as part of the bundle or independently.
Memorado: this app is comprised of simple mind games to do in your spare time that are meant to increase your brain functioning and memory. I've been using this app for a few days now and really enjoy it. It's a fun game that always seems to have new challenges that aren't stressful and yet they get your mind working and expanding. There is a free week trial followed by monthly payments. I signed up for the trial and may follow through with the yearly subscription for $47.
Other fun (free) games that, for me, turn on the multitasking abilities include Diner Dash (run around getting food made and served to the customers before they get irritable) and Crazy Cooking Chef (get addicted to the process behind flipping burgers. As you progress you unlock ingredients and items and multitask to get the orders out on time). The ex-waitress in me misses the days of running around the restaurant playing the multitasking customer service game ;). There's always good ol' fashion Solitaire as well.
Calm: My favorite. I paid a yearly membership with Calm for roughly $30-$40. This app (or website Calm.com) is full of meditation courses, sleep stories (knocks me out every time!), inspirational tracks, and programs (21 days of calm, for example). It also guides you into a meditation or mindfulness practice by starting you out with short (10 minute) audio tracks and walking you through the incorporation of mindfulness into your everyday life.
Gaia: this is the Netflix for the curious and spiritual mind. It offers TONS of videos and documentaries that will expand the way you think and see the world. Check out the wide variety available, there is surely something there for everyone. There is also a great source of yoga classes and programs available too. Two for one! You can try it out for as little as 99 cents for the first month then $9.95 for monthly memberships. A great way to binge out on videos while expanding and growing your mind and maintaining a healthy yoga practice.
Breathe: A free app for beginner meditators. You can choose the voice (male or female), the length of time, and type of meditation that best suites your current emotions and day.
Apple Watch Breathe: the above should not be mistaken for the app that automatically comes on the AppleWatch. This Breathe app pops up reminders on the watch to sit and breathe, encouraging mindfulness and relaxation in an otherwise chaotic world. You can set the amount of time for each session, I kept the minimum of 1 minute (7 breaths) as well as the number of reminders a day. You can either watch the image expand and decrease as you inhale/exhale or close your eyes and inhale with the watch vibrations. So far, very enjoyable.
So I am not advertising that you run out and buy a fancy watch with lots of gizmos and reminders. I am simply suggesting small tools to keep a busy day less cluttered while maintaining a health conscious routine. I know I need a good reminder from time to time and a bit of encouragement with positive reinforcement.
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