Health Tracking Tech You Need to Know About

Michael Kelly

Face it. Every facet of your life is becoming influenced by technology and increased connectivity. Your health is no exception. There is no reason you can’t use this to your benefit. The following devices can help you become healthier, more active, and better rested.

Fitness Trackers

There are countless devices that will track your physical activity during the day. They come in the form of watches, bracelets, shoe clips and phone apps. Knowing how many steps you take at work or how far you jog each morning can help you set new goals and push your fitness to the next level. Many products also have a social component. This way you can compare your activity to that of your friends and family. It turns fitness into a healthy competition.

UA Band – The UA band from Under Armour offers all the expected tracking from a fitness app and not much else. This includes steps, sleep duration and activity alerts for when you’ve been inactive too long. The real benefit of the UA band, though, is its ease-of-use. It does need a smart phone to sync with; you only need to input your height and weight to get started. In fact, that’s all you’ll ever need to input. With its price tag of around $100, this is a low maintenance, well-made bracelet/tracker that offers basic analytics.

Fitbit Charge – Fitbit has been the standard for fitness trackers for a long time. The Fitbit Charge is one of the premier trackers. It is worn like a watch and is capable of monitoring heart rate and measuring distance walked with GPS. It can also sync with your phone for calls, texts and calendar events. Additionally, it can provide guided breathing sessions. The downside is that it’s a bit more expensive. It’s priced at around $150 and is a little more complicated to use than other trackers in this list. The complicated usage comes from needing to sync the Charge to your phone in order use every feature – except the pedometer. And if you don’t sync, the pedometer deletes your data every 24 hours.

Fitbit Zip – If ease-of-use is something you’re going for, Fitbit Zip may be for you. Zip is smaller than a pager (remember those?) and clips to your clothing. It tracks footsteps and estimates calories. The Zip has a price tag of around $60. It does not need a smart phone to be used – although you can sync it with a phone or computer for enhanced features.

Sleep Trackers

Getting enough sleep can help you stay alert throughout the day and manage your stress. It can also improve your immunity. There are many products on the market that can quantify the quality of your night’s sleep. Knowing your sleep patterns can help improve your ability to get deep, restful sleep.

The Sense – This sleep tracker measures more than just your Zs. It’s a two-part system. One part monitors your bedroom for ambient light, noise, air quality, humidity and temperature. The other part is a standard sleep tracker. The latter clips to your pillow. It measures time to fall asleep, time sleep, deep medium and light sleep and times woken. The part that monitors your sleep environment also functions as an alarm clock. It can play soothing sounds and gradually increase its ambient light to wake you up. It can also sink itself to the sleep monitoring part to wake you up when you are in a light sleep state. It has a price tag of around $50.

Beddit 3 Smart Sleep Monitor – Beddit uses ballistocardiography to track your sleep. Don’t know how to pronounce it? Neither do we. But it looks like a thin pad that slides under your sheets and it measures your sleep quality and length, heart rate and respiration. Like The Sense, this is a great option for people who don’t want to wear a device when they sleep. The Beddit will connect with your smart phone via Bluetooth to send data about your sleep. It can also provide input on how to improve your sleep. The price tag is around $150. It’s also worth mentioning that Beddit was just bought by Apple. So the technology is probably cutting edge.

Fitbit Ionic – It’s no surprise to see Fitbit in the sleep tracking category. The Fitbit Ionic measures your heart rate so you can track light, deep and REM sleep. It also provides suggestions on how you can improve your sleep quality. Like most Fitbit devices, this will compare your results with people in your demographic. Now you can be competitive even with your sleep. Rumor has it that the Ionic is able to measure blood oxygen saturation levels or Sp02. Soon its software may be updated to allow it to track sleep apnea. Its price tag is around $300, but it’s more than just a sleep device. It also measures physical activity and functions as a smart phone.

Food Intake Trackers

Sometimes the best way to improve your eating habits is as simple as taking a look at what you’re actually eating. Food trackers allow people to track the exact nutritional value of what they eat and drink each day. Smartphone apps can identify your food using a picture or barcode scan. They can also put you in close contact with a nutritionist who can help you plan and control you’re eating habits in a healthy manner.

MyFitnessPal – Under Armour makes its second appearance on this list with MyFitnessPal. To call this app comprehensive is an understatement. It has the nutritional and calorie information for over 5 million foods. Not only that, you can also scan barcodes to learn and log the nutritional information of food. You can upload recipes and have the app calculate nutritional information. And you can even access nutritional information for most restaurants’ meals. MyFitnessPal allows you to track all of your meals and store them on your user account. It’s more than just a calorie counter. It tracks nutritional information such as vitamins, cholesterol, fiber, protein, carbs, water intake and more. The app even syncs up and helps you manage your workouts. If you’re looking for the ultimate nutritional tracking app, this is it. Also, you don’t need a smart phone to use this app. It’s available for free on desktop.

Rise Up – This app is targeted more towards people with eating disorders. It focuses more on monitoring your emotions and behaviors than it does calories. For example, you can record who you were with, what you ate and how you were feeling. This is helpful for people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, obsessive eating, binge eating and compulsive eating. It helps draw attention to the emotions that get tied to eating habits. It also provides community support, inspirational quotes and helps locate counselors in your area.

Calorific – Calorific answers the question: What does 200 calories of your favorite foods look like? This app is a database with high-resolution photos of almost every food you can imagine. The catch is that it only shows you what 200 calories of each food looks like. So, if you go to a fast food joint and order a cheeseburger, you can use this app to see how much of that cheeseburger 200 calories will get you. You can also compare the 200 calorie bite of cheeseburger to 200 calories of spinach. This app isn’t recommending that you only eat 200 calories of food at every meal. It just helps you visually track a rough estimate for how many calories you’re eating.

Technology is often considered the bane of a healthy lifestyle. We scroll through our phones in bed when we should be sleeping. We binge watch TV shows on our DVR when we could be outside exercising. But technology can also help us break our bad habits and build some good ones. The apps and gadgets in this article can help you become more active, sleep better and eat better. Improving anyone of those aspects of your life can have a significant impact on your health. Combine all three and you may feel like a new person.

READ MORE: 8 Fun Sports for Baby Boomers to Stay Fit

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