We live in an amazing world where advancements in technology have put so much information at our fingertips.
It is true, some technology has only helped us take short cuts and ultimately made us all that little bit lazier.
If we don’t place a high priority and make a strong commitment towards not just maintaining but improving our health, it’s all too easy to overlook it.
But there is plenty of technology available to help you connect with your health like never before.
Think smart phones, apps and other wearable devices.
Many of the apps are free or require just a nominal monthly subscription.
It could be a small investment to make to stay abreast of potentially your most important asset – your health.
What health tech can monitor
Whichever device or app you prefer, there is one available to help you monitor your daily health.
Their real power is their ability to quantify anything from calories to steps to sleeping patterns, allowing you to take action and make necessary adjustments for the benefit of your health.
Here’s what some of the latest technology can do:
Most of us want to eat better or eat less but it’s easier said than done, particularly around holidays and celebrations.
Calorie counters have been around in various guises for a while but the convenience and storage capacity of an app takes the hassle out of it.
It will also allow you to monitor how much water you drink – men should be drinking at least 2.5 litres and women two litres daily.
Sleeping is healing and cures a lot of evils.
But if your sleep is lacking in quantity or quality it can soon impact you by presenting you with a myriad of health issues.
Sleeping apps can track your sleeping patterns including light, deep and REM sleep, detailing when you nodded off, when you woke and how long you slept.
This will then allow you to make adjustments around bedtime to improve your sleep.
Fitness trackers have been around for a while but they are constantly evolving.
Most will count your daily steps – you should be aiming for 10,000.
But some will do everything from reminding you to stretch your legs during a long day behind the desk to getting the lungs pumping with some deep breathing exercises.
They will also inform you of the very latest fitness news and ideas and connect you with like-minded friends so you can work out together.
Efforts to improve your diet, sleep and fitness are all essentially geared towards keeping your heart in tip top shape.
And there are specific apps that track your heart health too, designed mainly for those with a pre-existing or diagnosed condition.
If you have reached 40 years of age, it’s not a bad idea to have a detailed heart check-up that may include things like an electrocardiogram and a calcium score test.
This will give you some base line information about the health of your heart.
Basic devices can give you daily heart rates and even measure your blood pressure.
Your doctor may ask you to wear more elaborate devices which can report ECG and arrhythmias, notifying them instantly if there is an issue.
At last count, there were more than 350,000 health apps available in Australia.
Here are some of the more popular and recommended ones.
MyFitnessPal – a free app to help you count everything you eat which includes a very handy barcode scanner and restaurant logger as well as offering valuable insights into food and fitness.
Strava – another free app with more than 100 million athletes using it worldwide. Using GPS technology, it records more than 30 types of activities, tracking your route, time and progress.
Streaks – costing $7.99 and rated 4.9/5 by users, it plays on our compulsion to not ‘break the streak’ by maintaining good habits such as “health eating, reading, flossing and winning at life”.
Sweat – free with in-app purchases, it was developed by Adelaide personal trainer Kayla Itsines and partner Tobi Pearce. Designed for and encouraging women to train at home or in the gym and connect with its female fitness community.
AutoSleep – Australia’s number two ranked paid app and costing $7.99, it is available only for iPhone and Apple Watch, telling you all you need to know about your sleep with its colourful and easy to read design.
HeartWatch – available on its own or as a bundle with AutoSleep and AutoWake, it tracks your heartbeat and pulse as well as your wrist temperature. Doubles as a sleep tracker by recording your overnight pulse.
Flo Period Tracker & Calendar – free with in-app purchases, tracking your cycle, ovulation and pregnancy. A well-being guide used by more than 257 million women around the world.
Headspace – one of many mental health apps, free with in-app purchases, designed around reducing stress through mindfulness, meditation and relaxation.
Book an appointment
Technology is wonderful and can give us up to date information about our health.
Health apps are valuable tools that can help us maintain good diet and fitness levels or even alert us to problems we may not have realised were evolving.
But there is still no substitute for a regular, personalised check-up from your GP.
At AHA Clinics, we can help develop a strategy for your ongoing healthcare, potentially incorporating the latest apps.
We will also assess your risk profile and monitoring your progress as you age.
Your doctor can also discuss with you how to live a healthier lifestyle and help identify any warning signs that need to be followed up.
Please be aware, regular, more comprehensive health checks should become more frequent with age.
Book one today at the Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or the Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.