Posted by Bridget, Citizens’ Advocacy Representative
Working for Tom’s of Maine, I use 5% of my paid time to volunteer for local nonprofits. It was on one such outing – maintaining hiking trails – that through a series of unfortunate events, I suddenly found myself sitting in a stream. Why do I look so excited in the photo? Because I destroyed my ancient cell phone, and finally had an excuse to upgrade to the smartphone I had been ogling for over three years.
With my new phone I am constantly checking things I never before had fingertip access to like the weather, my bank account balance, and flights to tropical climates. As the girl answering your Tom’s of Maine product questions on twitter, it also helps to always have access to any consumer concerns about our natural toothpaste or natural deodorant. But one thing I never expected is my smartphone’s ability to help me stay in shape! Through applications geared towards eating right and exercising, I can easily hold myself accountable for staying on track with my health.
The first application, RunKeeper, is a GPS tracker that plays music from my own library, occasionally interrupting to let me know my distance run, average pace, and time of workout so far. Since my running is admittedly slower than my walking, I find the periodic updates helpful in not throwing in the towel completely.
With RunKeeper, I can also opt to try one of their directed workouts instead of just heading out on my own. And in addition to the few they have programmed, you can program your own. Trust me, you’re more likely to finish the three miles you said you would if the polite RunKeeper woman interrupts your song to let you know you only have a half mile to go, and your pace is steady!
Another fun application called iMapMyHIKE helps me to track how far (and exactly where!) I’m going when I walk the trails near my house. Unfortunately it doesn’t do very much to keep me on the actual trail as opposed to in the water. Perhaps a future update will? Another potential issue worth mentioning is that if you are in a rural area where your phone cannot connect to location services, the mapping part of the application will not actually work. Luckily my home is within cell phone range… but some more remote hiking locations might not be.
In addition, iMapMyHIKE includes a Nutrition section where you can keep track of how many calories you’ve eaten, compare that to how many calories you’ve burned, your current weight, and even how many glasses of water you’ve had to drink each day.
Of course, a handheld electronic device is never going to be able to monitor your health like a doctor can! So please always check with your personal healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or diet regime.
What fun applications have you utilized to keep you on a healthy track?