Use Your Smartphone to Exercise Your Body (And Your Mind)

You use your smartphone to shop, and for banking — why not use it to lose weight, get fit, and expand your mind?

Asian lady out jogging with her smartphone 

In Singapore, those who are most successful are among the most connected in the world, probably due to the fact that they are constantly on the go. A study revealed that the majority in this group use their mobile phones for the following tasks: online banking, watching live TV, keeping up with the news and updating social network sites.

With wellness being the new status symbol in today’s world, why not use your smartphone in your quest to keep healthy and fit? Here’s how.

Man looking at his exercise app on his smartphone. 

Step it up and stretch it out

Counting steps has become a key fitness goal of many. We are all familiar with the idea that the smartphone is just as good as a wearable fitness tracker when it comes to keeping tabs on how many steps you take each day. A study published in the scientific journal Nature noted that the average Singaporean takes 5,674 steps a day, placing us ninth on the list of most active countries in the world.

But as well as attaining your 10,000-step goal, which equals about eight kilometres per day for most of us, your smartphone can be the gateway to better health, both mental and physical.

Walking apps to consider include: Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, Pacer and Stepz. If walking is not your cup of tea and you prefer more robust aerobic activities to get your heart pumping even more, there are smartphone apps for other forms of exercise as well. For example, Strava and MapMyRide are good for runners and cyclists, while Pocket WOD may appeal to CrossFit enthusiasts.

While exercise is important, regular stretching is too. A sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your health. Apps such as Stretch Timer ensure that you stretch regularly and get the most out of every stretch, a discipline many forget before (and after) working out.

Giving equal attention to the brain is also crucial. Although we are busy throughout the day and may feel that we are bombarded with information, we don’t necessarily exercise every part of our brain. Apps such as Peak have a different set of exercises each day to help with memory, problem-solving, focus and mental agility. You can track your results and the exercises only take five minutes.

Break free from sitting

Feel safe because you exercise regularly? Unfortunately, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found that no matter how much you exercise, sitting for prolonged periods is a risk factor for early death. For example, you have an 18 percent higher chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke and face a 91 percent risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is it does not take much effort to counter this problem.

Do you know that those who take frequent walk breaks throughout the day have a waist size six centimetres smaller than those who sit for long periods at a time? Frequent walking breaks (for instance, a five-minute walk every hour) also enable your body to cope better with glucose control — especially important for people with diabetes — and can help lower high blood pressure by as much as four points.

If your work day entails sitting at your desk for long stretches, there are smartphone apps that can prompt you to tear yourself away from your desk. Check out StandApp — not only does it set “stand-up” reminders to take breaks from your desk, it also includes 15 easy desk exercises which you can perform during your standing breaks — and bonus: standing up burns twice as much calories as sitting down! Apps such as Workout Reminder allow you to set up reminder notifications that alert you with pop-up messages and sound alerts telling you: “Get to the gym!”

Pokemon Go game showing on smartphone 

Game yourself to fitness

Let’s face it, we all have days when we need some extra exercise motivation. Wii helped get kids off their couches with sports video games and gamified exercise came to our smartphones with Pokemon Go. Smartphone fitness apps today try to ensure that working out is too fun to quit.

Consider: Zombies, Run! — this is a running app that will keep you on your toes. The game takes you through a series of missions where you gather supplies, rescue survivors and so on. A big fan of Marvel and DC? If you are into superheroes and saving the world encourages you to enjoy your next workout, try the Superhero Workout app. Save the world from invading aliens by doing crunches, jabs and jumping jacks. Get your children to join in too for a fun family activity.

Your smartphone may be your new exercise buddy, but why not gain greater peace of mind with additional protection?

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organisation, committee or other group, or individual. Any links in the article are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or representation of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation, organisation or individual nor is it a testimony as to the quality of the products mentioned. All the information found here is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice.

Tags: Retirement, Health, Wealth

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