Quantified-Self: 4 Awesome Health and Fitness Apps

Integrating technology into daily life.


Quantified-self is the movement that involves integrating technology into daily life.

We may not know it as ‘quantified-self’ but with the increase in technology tracking (both wanted and unwanted) there is more and more data available about ourselves. We can use this for learning and even improving almost any aspect of our lives.

Years ago, to find out how well you slept, you may have had to spend the night attached to sensors in a special laboratory, now all you need is a smart-phone.

“When harnessed correctly, technology can enhance lives through healthful behaviours that improve our relationships, make us smarter, and increase productivity” Nir Eyal (Author of ‘Hooked’)

I have curated a list of my favourite tracking apps that I use on a daily basis to help me learn more about myself and also make it easier to do the things I want to do:

SleepBot

Is there a better feeling than waking up naturally from a great sleep and feeling fresh and awake?

You set the alarm for when you need to get up and then place it on the bed. The three key features are:

  • Track Motion — uses the phones accelerometer, shows if you have had a disturbed sleep and indicates sleep cycles
  • Track Sound — can be rather amusing to listen back to if you are a sleep talker
  • Smart Alarm — using the data from motion and sound it will wake you up at your ‘most awake’ point in a 30 minute time-frame before your alarm.

The aim of the app is to help you get a better nights sleep, whether that is more sleep or less interruptions or waking up fresher. I find that the ‘Smart Alarm’ works best when I have it just by my pillow.

The best thing I found was realising how late I sometimes go to bed (even on a school night). It almost became a competition between friends to see who could get a better nights sleep. Dreamy!

Android & iPhone

Mr Mood

If you find that you are prone to mood swings or want to track your good and bad days or if you have lost your multi-coloured mood ring from the 90’s then Mr Mood is a simple solution to track it.

The 18 second video below shows exactly how you can use it. Give yourself a particular very happy to very sad face and attach a note to it. You can then track your mood over days/weeks/months in a simple brightly coloured graph.

It seems funny to say, but I enjoy using this app because of the bright colours. I know I get grumpy when I don’t exercise, using this app merely solidified that fact. Any tracking app that you can use daily in less than 30 seconds (and enjoy doing it) is worth using.

Android & iPhone

Just 6 Weeks

This is one of my favourite apps. It involves simple callisthenic (body-weight) exercises that can be done pretty much anywhere, any time.

The app includes 6 week programmes to reach 100 press-ups, 150 tricep dips, 200 squats, 20 pull-ups and 200 sit-ups. There are 3 ‘sessions’ per week and it has reminders that are easy to set (I set mine for Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Having tried other apps like this one, the interface and ease of use of Just 6 Weeks is better than any of the others I have tried.

Each individual exercise take about 10 minutes to do and can be done on your bedroom floor. I used this app to help me get up to performing 100 press-ups in a row; my next challenge is 20 pull-ups!

Although 6 weeks can be a bit of a push for some of the exercises, you can re-do days/weeks and progress at a slower pace.

Android & iPhone

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal is an online food and exercise database as well as a calorie counter and exercise tracker and fitness community. (It does a lot of things!)

You input your weight/height e.t.c. and set up your fitness goals. Following on, inputting food and exercise regimes, which you can search for on the huge database of user-created content, become a daily occurrence.

Running a nutrition company I use MyFitnessPal everyday. You can create meal plans (as well as checking out other peoples) down to the exact calories and macros that you need as well as your training regime. Once you have created them, it is easy to click on the meal you have eaten, without having to repeatedly input meals.

You can use it as an app as well as syncing your account on a computer (which can be easier to use sometimes due to the vast database of foods). It can seem like a complicated app, but once you get your food sorted, it is a great tracker, especially as it has so many non-supermarket foods (like a sandwich from Starbucks) that you can easily search for.

Android & iPhone

There are so many tracking (quantified-self) apps out there and many aspects of life that we can track that aren’t covered by the apps above. Just like with everything that involves daily input, it needs to become habitual.

Pick one thing that you really want to track and find a great app (the 4 apps above are my suggestions and simple apps to get started with). Pop it on your home-screen and start really learning about yourself. Cold hard data can often shift your thinking and make you see things in a different light. Good luck!

Paul Davies writes about the search for living a happier and healthier life. For more ideas and easy systems you can implement to change your life then join his free newsletter.


Originally published at ithinklots.com.

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