Keep healthy through technology

Even before COVID lockdowns, apps and devices that track steps, monitor heart rates and assist with relaxation techniques were big sellers in the market.

If anything, their popularity has accelerated in the last year as people adapt their exercise routines to home workouts and try to cope with an unprecedented amount of stress.

Here are four examples of ways to raise one’s fitness game and wellness techniques.

FITBIT

Fitbit devices have been around since 2009. The initial design was simple:
A clip called the Fit Tracker that sensed user movement to calculate distance walked, calories burned and sleep quality.

This graduated to the Fitbit Flex in 2013, worn on the wrist, followed by countless other models with added features, including waterproofness.

In order to compete with the release of the Apple Watch, Fitbit got into the smart watch business in 2015 and it has grown from there.

Its most powerful devices monitor everything from steps walked and floors climbed to skin temperature and sleep stages.

Beyond being stylish and functional, the Fitbit pairs with Android smartphones/iPhones and can be used in conjunction with fitness and weight loss apps. Just ensure when shopping for a Fitbit that you have a compatible model phone.

APPLE WATCH

The first Apple Watch was officially launched in April 2015.

Fast forward to 2020, and we’re already at the Series 6 version, which speaks volumes about this smart watch’s popularity.

Although it didn’t necessarily start out as a fitness-focused device, it soon pivoted in that direction.

It was also considered to be quite the fashion accessory, offering special wristbands and digital faces branded by names such as Nike and Hermès.

The latest versions are water-resistant to 50 metres, feature an electrical heart sensor, and like the Fitbit, can count steps and stairs climbed. They also calculate calories burned for a large variety of activities, and pair with iPhones (not Android phones) to work with compatible apps.

CALM

In a world struggling to deal with a pandemic, apps like Calm have been a godsend for people trying to shut out the madness, and quieten their minds.

There is a limited free version, and then the costs kick in, but at around $70 a year, it seems a pretty reasonable price to pay if it works for you.

A questionnaire prior to signing up seeks to identify what you’re trying to get out of the app, such as whether you’re looking to reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, get a better night’s sleep or develop gratitude.

Celebrities such as Harry Styles, Laura Dern, LeBron James, and Matthew McConaughey have all recorded sleep stories for the app. You can also breathe and relax as you listen to customised music and sounds, like rain falling on leaves, a crackling fireplace or ‘Lunar Lullaby’.

Even just taking a break for five minutes to meditate and tune out the noise can make a big difference.

YOGA STUDIO

Online yoga classes were the saviour for those missing their in-studio visits, and, at the same time, the discipline picked up some new fans along the way.

Curious beginners were able to find easy poses and routines that helped them stretch and meditate, while intermediate and advanced practitioners also kept up with their flexibility and workouts.

The Yoga Studio app makes yoga accessible for all, covering myriad poses and classes to suit every level – even expectant mothers.

Been sitting at your desk all day, joining one Zoom meeting after the next? Take a break and try one of the app’s Desk Series moves. It’ll help keep your body and mind in balance.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now