The difference between a house and a home is how much you love living there. LaunchPad explores the innovative technologies that help you care for your space more effectively.
In the 21st century, our lives are quantified and optimized like never before. We wear step counters and heart rate monitors; we can enter every morsel of food that passes our lips into a diet tracker app and see exactly how we’re getting our calories each day. But what good is all of that information if you’re not actually using it to improve your habits? Here are a few tips and tricks for how to set up your phone to help you stay in your best health between doctor’s visits:
If you don’t want to eat it, don’t keep it in the house. It’s hard to avoid the temptation of snacks when they’re sitting right there. Having to put on pants and see a bunch of stranger in order to get ice cream helps you figure out if you’ve got a legit craving, or if you’re just sad or bored — plus, it makes the treat feel all the more special when you do finally get your hands on it.
If you do want to track your calories (or your macronutrients as part of an exercise program), the free app MyFitnessPal is a great way to get a sense of what you’re consuming day-to-day. You don’t have to use it for weight loss — just tell it that your goal weight is your current weight, and it won’t send you notifications about losing weight.
Listen, we’re not the first to tell you that exercising is better for you than sitting around all day. And there’s lots of ways you can do it: in a home gym or a public one, by getting into a CrossFit routine or just going for more walks. Apps like Couch to 5K take beginners from, well, like it says, the couch to a 5K in just a few months. Charity Miles will help turn those hours into cold, hard cash for non-profit organizations — in case you needed more motivation than just your health. Fit Radio will pump out tunes at a consistent beat, so you don’t have to worry about messing up your stride.
Because nothing beats advice from someone with actual specialized knowledge of the subject. Soon, Samsung users will be able to consult doctors through their Health app instead of going in for an office visit. TalkSpace also offers therapy and mental health counseling in various digital formats, for way less than you usually pay for an in-person visit, so if you’re just dipping your toes into those waters (or don’t have time for an IRL commute) it’s the perfect option.
Zan Romanoff is a freelance writer and the author of the novels A SONG TO TAKE THE WORLD APART and GRACE AND THE FEVER. She lives and works in Los Angeles.