How technology can improve your health & wellbeing

I’m a firm believer in making technology work for you and there are many ways that technology can be beneficial in terms of your health and wellbeing. 

Here are three ways your devices can work in your best interest.

Keep calm

One thing that I recommend to everyone is to use an app for guided meditations. I use Headspace, and Calm is another very popular app. Both of these apps require paid subscriptions, and both have free trials to get started.  At the moment, Headspace has free meditations available to help everyone through COVID-19. I recommend trying both apps and seeing which works best for you. If subscription fees aren’t in your budget, YouTube has you covered with many free, guided meditation videos.

I recommend building this into your daily routine.  In the event that’s difficult to schedule, Headspace has a feature which reminds you to meditate, and can also remind you when it’s time to start winding down for bed. If I’m having trouble sleeping, I like to put on one of the Headspace “sleepcasts”, which helps me fall asleep gently and quickly. There are similar soundscapes to be found on Spotify, YouTube or Alexa – it’s worth exploring some of the apps or devices you already use.

Move on

While the wisdom of “10,000 steps” can be debated, I find that tracking my activity helps with my overall wellbeing. Many of us wear and use fitness trackers – I’ve used a few different ones over the years, and the best one is whatever meets your personal needs and motivates you the best. I found I was most active when being part of groups and challenges.  Adding a bit of competition kept me motivated, to the point where I was doing phone and video calls while walking on my treadmill on the days I worked from home. If you don’t want to invest in a fitness tracker, you can simply have your phone track your steps – this can be done via the Apple Health app on iOS and the Google Fit app on Android.

There are many other exercise apps out there. I suggest finding a free “couch to 5k” app for those interested in running, as well as experimenting with other workout apps. Alternatively, there’s a ton of free content available on YouTube. Personally, I found it difficult to get to yoga or pilates classes regularly, so I bought a mat and found a series of yoga videos on YouTube that I liked.

If you have a gaming console in your house, many of them also have add-ons that keep you active. Some of these are game based, while others are guided workouts. It’s definitely worth researching what’s available for the platform you have if you prefer to exercise at home.  If you’re looking for a new console, look for those that offer the fitness activities in which you’re interested.  Wii offers more fun and playful fitness applications, while I find the Microsoft offerings to be a bit more traditionally fitness-focused.

Eating well is more than half the battle toward improvements in wellbeing.  If you’re interested in nutrition or want to eat healthier, MyFitnessPal and MyPlate are great apps for tracking what you’re eating in order to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients each day.  For those focused on carb-counting, my go-tos are KetoDiet and Carb Manager.

Stay smart

My favourite thing about technology is how it enables us to access information – there are so many great apps and resources available for learning, challenging your intellect, and exercising your brain muscle. I love using apps like DuoLingo and Drops for learning languages.  Game apps, such as chess and sudoku, offer entertainment while keeping my brain engaged. Whether through apps, online videos, or tutorials, you should be able to find resources that help you learn something new, whether that’s a new language, an instrument, or how to fix a leaking tap.

Do you have other technology tips and tricks you’ve used to improve your wellbeing? Let us know by messaging us on Instagram.

With more than twelve years’ experience as a developer, Katie is co-founder of the Auckland based company Transformative. Driven by her desire to empower people and businesses through technology, Katie focuses on digital solutions – from websites to apps and integrations – that are designed and built using the latest best practices. For more info visit www.transformative.nz.

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