Technology gets a bad rap in the wellness world: social media can be addictive, bluelight from tablets and computers can disrupt your sleep, constantly checking the device in your pocket can take you away from the present moment and put up an emotional barrier between you and the people around you.
Despite all these negatives, no one seems willing to throw their iPhone out the window any time soon. So how do we make our tech a force for good and not evil?
By exploring the world of digital health.
There are some truly amazing apps out there that empower us to live healthier every day. Here are five ways health and wellness apps can improve your health on a daily basis.
1. An activity tracker app
If you've never tracked your daily activity (steps, workouts, periods of inactivity), it's really eye-opening to see how much you are moving—or not moving—on a given day. Fortunately, all you need to track your actions is a free app like Moves. The app forever changed my perception of how much I sit and move.
2. An app to help identify non-toxic cosmetics
Skin Deep, developed by the Environmental Working Group, lets you scan a barcode of almost any product at the pharmacy or grocery store and tells you immediate which toxic chemicals it contains.
I work with all of my patients on greening their beauty cabinets and their cleaning closets. Taking control of the harmful chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis is a major step in getting healthier. An app likes this makes it easy without having to memorize the difference between a PEG and a paraben.
3. A meditation app
Meditation is a health tool that has been proven to lower stress, improve concentration and even change hormone levels. However, I've found that half the battle when it comes to meditation is finding a time and place to do it.
Apps like Headspace remove that barrier and make mediation completely accessible anywhere, from the train to the car to the grocery store to waiting in line for coffee.
4. An app to keep track of your health records
In the age of the smart phone, there's no reason why your personal health records shouldn't be at your fingertips 24/7. Thanks to apps like Blue Button, Prime, information like which medications you take, past medical conditions, and allergies can all be found in one place.
5. A favorite fitness app
I personally like the 7-Minute Workout App, but everyone from Tara Stiles to your local CrossFit box has turned their brand of workout into an on-the-go app, meaning you don’t have to stop moving just because you are traveling, at work or just too busy to get to class.