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Resolution Reboot: Using Android to Get Healthy

January 26, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

Android Apps, Lifestyle, Reviews

Resolution Reboot: Using Android to Get Healthy

The sitcom that is a New Year’s Resolution tends to go into re-runs this time of year. From late-January to early-February, the gym ranks begin to thin, people un-quit smoking for the umpteenth time, and dozens of other resolutions go unfulfilled within weeks of being made. Though only 12 percent of resolutions are successful, an Android phone could actually be a motivational to buck the trend of broken resolutions.

Getting healthy is one of the most common resolutions for the New Year, largely because so many in the U.S. have poor dietary habits and don’t exercise. Tapping into Android’s GPS features, CardioTrainer enhances typical cardiovascular workouts by tracking the distance traveled, duration of work out, and maps the path taken during physical activity. Joggers and cyclists will enjoy this feature because if they do not have a set path for exercise, the logged maps can illustrate which routes illicit the best performance.

The log feature in CardioTrainer also analyzes progress over time.  Why is this important? Well, a common reason cited for giving up on a promise to get fit is frustration over a lack of results. People quit trying to get healthier if their bodies don’t shape up as quickly as they would like. CardioTrainer inspires those users to push harder as their average performance increases over time, providing concrete proof of improvement. Rather than placing too much stock in losing weight, this shows that progress is being made regardless of what the scales say.

health_02.gifWhile CardioTrainer is one source for exercise encouragement, it cannot influence the other determinant of a healthy lifestyle – nutrition. The nutritional needs of each individual can greatly vary, so readers are strongly recommended to consult a health professional or credible source before undertaking any dietary changes.

NutroLog and Calories Counter may be useful aides for anyone looking to reduce or monitor calories. NutroLog is a low-frills app that tracks calories for each meal or snack a person eats. It tracks the daily target number a user sets and then logs the number of calories eaten during each meal or snack. Users can then see how eating habits affect their weight and respond accordingly.

Calorie Counter is an alternative app that can be useful when nutritional facts are not readily-available. The program stores nutritional facts for many menu items that can be pulled up before deciding which meal to eat. When placing an order for pickup at Pei Wei, Calorie Counter can provide information about calories, grams of fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrition facts. It even notes how substitutions and omissions can affect certain menu items. Information for popular chain restaurants include Au Bon Pain, Boston Market, McDonald’s, P.F. Chang’s, and many more.

Apps like Calorie Counter and CardioTrainer are assets to becoming healthier – not magical solutions. A phone is just a phone and cannot make anyone lose weight or become stronger. However, it can be a useful add-on to a smart plan for getting fit. Here are a few more apps that may be beneficial for Android users on a health kick:

  • Wheeler is geared towards bicycling enthusiasts. Much like CardioTrainer, it logs riding time and distance. Wheeler provides many of the same features as well as a graphical representation of performance tracking based on week, month, 3 months, or year.
  • WorkItOut is somewhat of an exercise to-do list. Develop a regiment – say 20 pushups, 30 sit-ups, and 10 minutes of cardio – and the program will store the exercises according to user-defined areas. Users can also customize reps and target areas of their body for each workout.
  • Smoker Statistics  is a positive reinforcement tool for the millions of people who struggle trying to quit smoking each year. Individuals enter their previous smoking habits and Smoker Statistics calculates how much money they save by not lighting up.

Neither nor Andrew Kameka intend to be a guide for losing weight or improving one’s health. This article was written for the sole purpose of highlighting Android applications that may be useful in the process of managing a user’s personal exercise, dietary, and general health habits.