“Efficiency is intelligent laziness” – Anonymous
It probably won’t surprise you that I’ve had many a coworker, friend, and family member tell me “you’re so efficient!” And I always respond with the quote above.
I’m always looking for intelligent shortcuts to help me do more with less effort.
Therefore, I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for the best wellness apps – the most effective, fun, and affordable apps I can find! After years of firsthand research, here is my list of favourites!
1. My Fitness Pal
Benefits: Eat healthier and lose weight more easily
I first wrote about this amazing app in my article Superstar diet tracker and my love for My Fitness Pal has only continued to grow!
My Fitness Pal will track not only diet, but also exercise quickly and easily. You can use the website or app and it will sync automatically, so you only have to enter info once wherever is most convenient for you at that time and it is updated everywhere!
When people track what they eat, weight loss doubles! Why? Tracking keeps you accountable and leads to unconscious and instant habit change without all the thinking, agonizing, and sometimes procrastinating that most people experience when trying to change their diet.
Tracking is also educational because it helps you become aware of what you eat, allowing you to set specific goals, become empowered to choose well, and make adjustments to achieve the outcome you want.
2. Blood Type Diet
Benefits: Eat (and shop) right for your type on-the-go
The Blood Type Diet app allows you to select your blood type and secretor status (if known) and lists beneficial/neutral/avoid foods for each of the 4 blood types. It also includes a search function, shopping list builder, and a feature to combine more than one blood type in a family and list common foods that are beneficial/neutral/avoid for multiple blood types!
Blood type goes far beyond your blood to impact disease and nutrition. Your blood type antigens are not just in your blood, they are everywhere in your body, particularly the surfaces that interact with your environment. These include your digestive tract all the way from your mouth to your large intestine as well as your nasal passages and lungs. Because these blood type antigens are everywhere, they influence on how your body interacts with the food you eat.
You literally “are what you eat” since all your cells, proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters are constructed from what you put into your body. Therefore, what you eat is also your most powerful tool for preventing and healing illness. Eating right for your blood type is designed to optimize your digestive and immune health now to alleviate health issues as well as prevent future disease by protecting you against your unique susceptibilities.
Read more about the Blood Type Diet in these articles:
- What is the Blood Type Diet, part 1
- What is the Blood Type Diet, part 2
- How to start the Blood Type Diet
3. Insight Timer
Benefits: Reduce stress, improve mood
I first wrote about Insight Timer when I kicked off my personal 100-day meditation challenge in my article How to defeat stress in 10 minutes. You can read more about my challenge in these articles:
- Quick start guide to meditation
- Loosen up with Body Scan meditation
- Where I meditated
- Why not to meditate
Insight Timer is an app that includes a timer for meditation, interval bells, and hundreds of guided meditations. You can also join a wide variety of groups and connect with others around the world via the Insight Timer community.
The benefit of using Insight Timer to meditate is that it makes maintaining a daily meditation practice easier and more enjoyable AND it uses the habit strategy of monitoring to keep you on track. I wrote about this strategy as part of one of my favourite books on habits in my article Master your habits, achieve your dreams.
Benefits of meditation include:
- Reduced stress, the major contributor to all health issues!
- Improved mental health by reducing anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep
- Improved brain function, learning, and memory
- Improved metabolism
- Treatment for a huge range of specific health concerns!
If you want to learn more about meditation, I highly recommend the books 10% Happier by Dan Harris and Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa.
4. 7 Minute Workout “Seven”
Benefits: increase energy and improve fitness
Do you have trouble making time to exercise regularly? If so, this app is for you! 7 Minute Workout “Seven” is just one of many, many apps that guide you through a 7-minute workout. While there are lots of choices, I find this one is great because of the encouraging voice of your electronic “coach”, the animations demonstrating correct form for each exercise, and this app does not allow your phone to go to sleep/autolock while using it.
The concept of the 7-minute workout was explained well in an article titled The Scientific 7-Minute Workout. Basically, this workout is a highly efficient way to get a full body workout in only 7 minutes using only 12 exercises using only body weight, a chair, and a wall.
Did you know that regular exercise is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and prevent disease, as I highlighted in my article Exercise is the best medicine. In fact, low fitness level is the strongest predictor of death!
Exercise can treat the following conditions:
- Arthritis (reduces pain and disability)
- Alzheimer’s disease (reduces dementia)
- Diabetes (reduces progression)
- Osteoporosis and fracture risk
- Anxiety and depression (higher dose more effective!)
- Risk of death
- Obesity (duh!), but activity even if still obese still improves health!
- Heart disease (also duh!)
- And so many more… (like cancer, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, etc)
While it would be lovely if everyone could exercise for more than 7 minutes, the reality is that many people perceive (I use this word intentionally!) that they do not have the time to exercise, so they do not exercise at all. The 7-minute workout can be done anywhere, by anyone, at any intensity level, eliminating barriers to regular exercise. No more excuses!
Price: The app is free, Fitbit trackers start at $69.95
Benefits: Increase activity and improve sleep
In 2015 I received a Fitbit Charge HR activity tracker for my birthday and it has been my constant companion ever since!
Activity trackers, like the Fitbit, monitor your movement and heart rate to track things like steps, distance (walking or running), calories expended, and sleep duration/quality. The Fitbit app displays your data in a clear, concise way.
There is preliminary evidence to suggest that using a fitness tracker increases activity, and most users will tell you they definitely see this effect!
Using an activity tracker and corresponding app is yet another way to employ the habit strategy of monitoring. Can you tell I’m really hooked on monitoring? That’s because it is one of the most powerful tools for habit change! Monitoring doesn’t just help you gather data on what you’re doing, it also increases motivation by allowing you to see your progress and push yourself to improve upon your own past accomplishments. And it increases your accountability, which improves behaviour automatically!
I also want to highlight that many activity trackers also monitor sleep, which is otherwise difficult because, well, you’re not conscious while you’re sleeping! Setting a goal for sleep and getting feedback from your activity tracker increases your motivation to reach that goal! Personally, I’ve found that tracking my sleep has greatly improved my ability to go to bed on time and get more sleep. Which of course, helps me feel so much better every day!
Interested in getting an activity tracker? Check out this article on the Best fitness trackers 2016
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