Turn to technology for better health

We are surrounded by new technologies that have the potential to improve our lives. But sometimes technology can harm, rather than help, our physical and emotional health – and we may not even realize it. Depression, feelings of isolation, sleep problems, eye strain, and neck, shoulder, and back pain have all been linked to technology use.

Fortunately, there are now many ways to use technology to your health’s advantage. Personal health technology now has the power to collect data from all parts of the body and report back on your results. Monitoring your healthy activities can increase your motivation to exercise, get more sleep, and eat better. With modern technologies like these, you can measure your efforts and results in a way that has never been possible before.

Here are just a few ways you can improve your well-being with the help of technology.

Improve your diet

Overeating and obesity are major problems in the US, where processed foods and large portions have become a way of life. To combat these unhealthy behaviors, technology has emerged to help us keep track of our ingredients, portions, and eating habits. Apps such as Nutrients, MyFitnessPal, and SuperFood will track your calories and food intake, provide healthy recipes, evaluate your daily nutrition, and more. There are even apps that will remind you to drink more water throughout the day or alert you if you’re not getting enough protein in your diet. Tracking your nutrition has many benefits, from helping to manage food intolerances to increasing energy, avoiding changes in mood, and fueling the rhythms of your day.

Move more

While fitness trackers have existed for athletes for years, smartphones and watches now allow anyone to track their workout efforts with ease. Whether you’re exercising on foot, on a bike, or in the water ― or just doing an active chore like mowing the lawn ― wearable devices can track everything about your activity including your distance, pace, laps, heart rate, and calories burned. Some apps will nudge you when it’s time to stand up, stretch, or just take some deep breaths. They can also provide personalized workout plans for your body type and document your progress to help you achieve your fitness goals. Look for apps that not only track data, but also have reminders and social media features to help keep you on track and motivated.

Sleep soundly

Sleeping through the night can lower your risk of injury, allow for better weight control, and improve your mood for the rest of the day. If sleeping or waking up is a challenge for you, consider how technology can help. Sleep apps are designed to help improve your sleep by measuring and evaluating your sleep methods. They monitor your sleep each night including when you fell asleep, how many hours you slept, and what time(s) you woke up. By keeping track of these sleep statistics, you can become more aware of your bedtime routine and make changes as necessary. Other sleep-inducing technologies include blue light filters, which can eliminate harmful lights that are emitted by phone and computer screens and reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep.

Own your health care

The best health apps in the world can’t replace your doctor or the need for regular care. Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to take ownership of your health care. Many doctors’ offices now offer secure patient portals where you can access your personal medical records, see test results, fill prescriptions, message your doctor, and more. Virtual visits have also become widely available due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so you can get convenient and affordable treatment for common ailments without leaving your house. If you have a chronic condition, wearable monitors can track biometrics such as your blood pressure, heart rate, or glucose levels and share the data with your doctor or a third-party clinical team to help you manage and improve your condition over time.

Cut back on screen time

When we get too caught up in using technology, we can feel it in our minds and bodies. Here are five tips to help you cut back:

  1. Delete non-essential apps to keep you from constantly checking your phone for updates.
  2. Carve out a limited amount of time to use your devices and set a timer to help you stick to it.
  3. Turn some television time into physical activity time.
  4. Make mealtimes gadget-free time – no phones at the table!
  5. Prioritize real-world relationships over online relationships.

 

Sources:

“Latest trends in medical monitoring devices and wearable health technology,” Insider (www.businessinsider.com), January 11, 2021
“4 ways technology can improve your health,” MemorialCare (www.memorialcare.org)
“How does technology affect your health? The good, the bad, and tips for use,” Healthline (www.healthline.com), May 23, 2019