How to Maximize Your Phone’s Potential as a Tool for Health and Well-being
Technology is playing a central role in modern living. And we are increasingly exploring how it can improve our health. The elderly and chronically ill can use health alarms to notify their doctors and loved ones of an emergency. Cloud-based platforms are integrating behavioral health and primary care providers.
Many smart homes have features to improve accessibility and minimize contact with potentially germ-ridden surfaces. Thermal sensors have become commonplace in the wake of the pandemic as a means of detecting symptoms related to Covid-19.
But on an individual level, when you carry a phone around all day, are you maximizing its potential as a tool to improve your health? Here are some areas for improvement.
Reminders and reinforcement
Throughout the day, many people keep their phones within arm’s reach. It’s the perfect vessel for notifications and reminders. The ability to customize your phone through installing the apps of your choice lets you take it a step further towards boosting your health, fitness, and well-being.
That’s exactly how a lot of us use our phones as a tool for healthy living. A device with your fitness app of choice can not only remind you when it’s time to work out but also keep track of days you’ve skipped. It can gamify the routine and give you instant gratification by recognizing progress or posting to social media. Likewise, some apps can help you quit unhealthy habits.
In this way, many of us are already taking the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. Our phones act as an ever-present mechanism to enforce good habits and break out of bad ones.
Managing exercise and nutrition
However, healthy living isn’t a binary choice; it’s a journey. There are several aspects involved, and we all have to go through different stages.
You could keep up with an exercise routine, but your body acclimates over time. If you don’t raise the challenge level, you’ll experience diminishing returns. And nutrition affects your health; if you aren’t eating correctly on top that physical plateau, you might even end up gaining weight.
Our phones can assist us at multiple points on this journey to improved health. But you have to go beyond the simple functionality of habit reinforcement.
Smartphones can help you take charge of aspects of your health. Apps can help you plan nutritious meals throughout the week, and have them delivered or prepare them yourself. The more advanced workout apps allow you to customize your program, telling you how to vary exercises, timing, duration, and intensity. With an intentional approach, you can level up the way your phone integrates with your healthy lifestyle.
Monitoring your health
Smartphones have great potential to turn around a sedentary pattern of existence or the lack of proper nutrition. However, they can also be instrumental in assisting people who suffer from other conditions, such as chronic disease.
Few people realize how powerful and sophisticated sensors in modern smartphones have become over the years. Advances in camera technology are highly advertised, but they aren’t the only sensors we use. The microphone and GPS are standard features; less familiar, but equally important, are the accelerometer, gyroscope, and proximity sensors.
Developers and healthcare providers are taking advantage of these sensors to monitor an individual’s health. Measurements taken can aid in the management of cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. Smartphones can also help diagnose ophthalmic disorders and skin cancer; data collected from our phone usage can be used to predict specific mental health conditions.
Your phone won’t replace your doctor. But you can explore these capabilities with your provider as the future unfolds and new developments emerge in this frontier.
Keeping your distance
For all the benefits a smartphone can unlock when it comes to our health, it’s worth remembering that screens are an unnatural influence in our lives. Humans didn’t evolve to spend hours each day staring at artificial light or communicating through texts, chats, and emails.
Learning to have a balanced relationship with technology is a vital part of healthy living in the modern world. We need to avoid blue light at night to enjoy a more restful sleep. The benefits of regular, face-to-face social interactions can’t be adequately replaced by social media or other online forms of communication.
Making the most of your smartphone as a tool for your health isn’t just about what’s inside it or what it can do. Be in control of technology. Limit your screen time and usage to only what’s necessary, and enjoy a lifestyle that remains close to nature and humanity.