Key apps are useful for Live Healthy 2022
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Key apps are useful for Live Healthy 2022

25/07/2022  |   102 Views

SHELDON—Your smartphone could help keep you accountable during Live Healthy Northwest Iowa 2022.

Whether it is the weight-loss or the activity minutes competition or both, there are plenty of apps available on Apple and Android devices to download to help track your progress.

The apps can be helpful for those who need some help staying accountable in either of the competitions.

“They can see in black and white what they are doing and what they are not doing,” said Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation director Greta Giese. “Especially for someone that feels like they are a beginner in this, they might not be sure what they are choosing is the best healthy choice and that choice is going to help them be successful in this challenge. To be able to log into an app and have it tell you what you ate, it doesn’t judge, but it grades and helps tell you if you are on the right track.”

The annual Live Healthy event began Monday and the 10-week competition concludes March 18.

The state Live Healthy site has a dashboard where competitors can record their weight-loss and activity process. It is recommended to record your progress at least once per week on the dashboard. There also is a Live Healthy Iowa app.

The Live Healthy dashboard syncs seamlessly with the Live Healthy dashboard for minutes of activity as does Map My Run by Under Amour.

To sync with an app or device, go to the My Devices box on the dashboard and click on the logo of the device or app you would like to connect with. Enter the username and password associated with your device or app and proceed as directed.

“The Fitbit app is a pretty reliable app. It’s user-friendly and easy to use. It syncs without you having to worry too much about it,” Giese said. “The Map My Run app, it’s one of the best ones for runners and it is free for the basic package. It has lots of features and visual maps are provided. You can create a map for a run to help you plan your runs and mileage. It has some GPS tracking ability so if you are worried about safety, it has a lot of options.

“You can track other things so you don’t have to worry about just running.”

While it does not sync with the dashboard yet, Giese mentioned the Health app that comes with Apple devices.

She said you can track a lot of different components of your health with an Apple Watch or iPhone.

She added the Live Healthy team is trying to make the Apple Health app compatible the dashboard.

Key apps are useful for Live Healthy 2022

“You can set goals for yourself in activities, how many calories you want to burn with the move goals and those are the minutes that you are truly moving throughout the day and burning calories,” Giese said. “You set can set a goal for exercise and how many hours of your day you are standing up. You can set reminders so if you are a desk person, it reminds you to walk around the office so you are not in the seated position for so long. It does a good job of keeping track of daily, weekly and monthly exercise so it is easy to check and enter.”

She noted Nike Training is one of the top rated free apps. The app gives you more ideas of what you can do for a workout, such as what equipment you can use at home. It also offers nutrition, recovery and sleep advice.

Giese said for her, it is motivating to see the progress she has on her apps.

“It makes me feel good about what I have accomplished,” she said. “I know mentally and physically it counted.”

Participants in Live Healthy this year will have access to at-home workouts from FLEX by FitnessOnDemand. You can stream hundreds of classes including strength-based, cardio and yoga from your phone, tablet or computer.

Tracking activity is half the battle since developing healthy eating habits plays a crucial part during the 10-week competition.

Giese said Fooducate is a good app to help tracking what you are eating on a daily basis.

“It gives you an idea of the quality of the calories you are taking in,” she said. “There might be 200 calories in a salad and there might be 200 calories in a fettuccine Alfredo dish. The quality of the salad is going will have much better nutrients and as much as I love a great fettuccine Alfredo dish, it’s going to have sugar and fats. The Fooducate app helps track that.”

The Fitbit app has the ability to track your food intake. Another app is My Fitness Pal, which is free to download. The My Fitness Pal app has a database of 11 million apps and has restaurant menus so it can track what you eat at McDonald’s or other bigger chains.

Giese said the food apps help you think before you make a choice with what you eat.

“If you are going out to supper, it can be hard to make a healthy choice,” she said. “Sometimes because you know you have to add to your tracking app, it gives you pause to make a conscious choice.”

Some of the food apps help give you a healthier alternative to some of your favorite recipes or meals.

Some digital scales offer apps to download on your phone to keep track of your weight with each weigh-in.

The apps may not be for everyone. Giese loves the competition, but she does not want people to get too wrapped up in it because she wants it to be a healthy competition.

“I don’t want them to wind up with an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise with the challenge,” Giese said. “It’s all about establishing healthy habits. If the apps don’t make you feel motivated and to get better, you’ve got to do what you want for your health and wellness.”

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