Quitting smoking, losing weight, getting in shape, sleeping more, and stressing less, are just some of the common resolutions made at the beginning of every year. While some of these goals may be new additions this year, a couple of those may have been unaccomplished goals from previous years – back on our list. Almost everywhere we look now, resolutions will be debated: in the news, at work, and among friends and family. Weight loss clinic appointments will be booked, personal trainers will be reserved, and gyms are packed. Well, at least for a few months.
In a study conducted by Pearson in 2013, 1206 college students were surveyed regarding their mobile device usage when it comes to learning. 38% of survey participants owned a tablet and 72% owned a smartphone at the time of the survey (Pearson, 2013). Given the busy schedule most college students have between family obligations, work, and their studies, technology can be a crucial asset. Technology certainly has transformed the way students learn; it will continue to do so in the future. So why not make use of technology and mobile device apps to improve our health this year? Whether you need initial motivation or help with adherence, some recent apps may be the right fit in your quest for improved health.
MyFitnessPal has gained much popularity among weight loss-minded individuals. This app is completely free of charge and offers over two million food items to help you keep track of calories and foods eaten.
Can’t make it to the gym due to a tight budget or tight schedule? No worries! Various apps are available to help you add more exercise to your routine. Nike Training Club is an app that provides more than 100 full-body workouts (no matter your level of fitness) based on research and expertise by professionals in the field. All sessions were developed by Marie Purvis and even include yoga and Pilates workouts. No matter how much time you will have on any given day, this app works on your schedule. Choose between 15, 30, and 45 minute sessions.
Another popular app is Runtastic, which allows you to track various exercises. From walking to running to biking, this app uses GPS technology to assist you in reaching your goals. Runtastic also offers various other apps and most of those are also free of charge. If you want to sleep better or get those long sought after six pack abs, this site may be worth checking out.
Increasing relaxation time this year should not be overlooked either. After all, we should re-charge our batteries frequently so that burn-out can be prevented and emotional, physical, and psychological health and wellness can be ensured. Stress management, meditation, relaxation, mindfulness, and other pertinent articles, videos, and audios can be found on the Qi Gong Meditation Relaxation app. Dr. Monica Frank, a psychologist and trainer in Tai Chi and Sport & Exercise Psychology, designed the featured videos. This free app even offers some relaxation features for our youngsters.
If you are a smoker trying to kick the bad habit, numerous apps are available which can help you put a check mark beside that goal. One that is free of charge and particularly eye-catching is called Get Rich or Die Smoking. This app offers a reward system and tracks how your health is improving, which is pretty neat. Not only that, but it calculates the money you saved since quitting. Should you need support from other ex-smokers, or if you want to share your success on social media, you can do just that.
Last but not least, let’s not forget about the ones in need this year. A free app called Instead inspires app users to live on less while donating the savings to charity. They believe that every dollar counts so if you can go without that candy bar and instead donate $1.00 to one of the non-profits, you can actually contribute to a great cause. 95% of the donations are given to charity and only 5% are operating costs. All contributions are tax-deductible as well.
So, no matter your resolutions, there may be an app that can aid you to stick to your goals and change your life for the better this year and beyond. With some motivation and determination, a healthier you may just become simpler – one click at a time.
Sandra Rebeor is a full time Instructor at Ashford University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science and primarily teaches courses in the Health and Wellness program. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Campbell University and a Master’s of Science in Health Sciences: Emergency and Disaster Management.
A version of this article first appeared in the Health Promotion Quarterly.