Smartphone Applications Help You Lose Weight, Track Your Workouts, And Learn Braille
|Associate Director, Amy Rauworth|
What do you never leave home without? Or if you do, suddenly you feel lost and disconnected - your phone. Whether you are an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android user, odds are you depend on your phone for doing much more than just making phone calls. Apps are simply applications that you can download to your phone to make life easier. Many are free and the uses are endless. The world's second-largest app store, GetJar, predicts downloads of mobile apps will reach 50 billion by 2012. It is only natural that this rapidly growing industry would target the fitness and weight loss markets. But are the new apps accurate? How can they help you reach your goals?
Smartphones utilize the miniature, low-cost, tri-axial accelerometers to capture movement. According to research, this method of tracking movement has been found to be reliable and valid. However, the location of the smartphone placement does affect the accuracy. In an analysis of HealthAware (a smartphone system that uses an embedded accelerometer and a camera to analyze food items), when the phone was attached to a belt or pocket, the movement of the smartphone itself caused an inaccurate measurement. The hip position shows the greatest deviation and at times counted running as walking. The best placement for accurate measurement is on a waist belt with a side-position placement. But regardless of the exactness, many of the applications act as tools that can assist the user in tracking activity or calories, and in the end simply increase awareness and compliance, which equals success. The options are increasing on a daily basis, but below are a few popular downloads that could help you reach your health management goals.
The price is right; this application is free. It consolidates your workout journal and food diary into one. It does require the user to input data, but it contains an extensive food library with name brands and generic items. When you add in your exercise intensity and time, it calculates the number of calories you have burned during exercise. It even graphs your weight loss over time.
For $9.99, this application (compatible with 3G or 3GS iPhones) uses GPS technology to track your route whether you are running, cycling, hiking, or skiing. It automatically uploads your data to the website after your workout. The website stores your history, and you can even share your progress on Facebook or Twitter. There is a free option of this app that has a few less bells and whistles. One downside is that the using your GPS can significantly drain your battery at an increased rate.
This catchy named app (short for Couch to 5K) can get you race-ready in no time for just $2.99. If you are a beginner, this 9-week app guides you through run/walk intervals that are prompted by audio cues. Watch out, starting line...here you come!
With over 200 workouts, this is $9.99 well spent. This app can choose the best workout for you, and is loaded with over 2,000 videos and images to view. It contains calculators, five fitness timers, and has complete tracking capabilities. You can also ask an exercise physiologist questions at no additional charge. For an upgrade of $4.99 more, you can double the workouts, videos, and accessory applications. You will not get bored with this app.
101 Yoga Poses
Just as the name implies, there are 101 yoga poses to choose from and it's free. The high-resolution photos are a great tool for beginners, and the step-by-step instructions on proper form can come in handy. This app even provides calming music to set your mind into relaxation mode.
Six Pack App
This free app for the iPhone provides 100 weight-training, yoga, and stretching exercises with over 400 photo tutorials. This app pays special attention to proper technique to avoid injury by using a "Don't" tab. This app can accompany you to the gym to help you create a seamless and safe workout.
There are also a variety of applications that are specifically geared toward individuals with disabilities, including, but not limited to, apps that focus on helping and making life easier for those with limited vision and hearing loss.
ISpectrum Color Blind Assistant by Wishbone Apps is an application that is essential for individuals who are colorblind. ISpectrum identifies any color by name and has over 500 verified colors. This application uses your camera and zoom tools to focus in on the items you need, providing fast and efficient help at the touch of a button.
Learn Braille by Paul Ziegler - This application helps anyone without a visual impairment learn Braille. The program helps you master Braille with standard letters and symbols, as well as Braille in different languages, such as Japanese, Hebrew, Korean and Chinese.
Sign Smith ASL by Vcom3D -This 3D application provides easy-to-follow instructions on American Sign Language (used by many people who are hearing impaired or deaf), allowing you to learn basic words and greetings, and continuing to full conversations.
Some of the most talked-about apps in recent news are those focused on allowing individuals with autism to communicate more efficiently. A traditional Augmentative Alternative Communication (ACC) device can run from between $8,000 and $15,000; however, new applications for the iPhone and the iTouch allow these devices to perform the same functions as an ACC. These apps include Proloque2go, communicate, TapSpeakButton, Sentence Builder, Expressionist, and others. There are also applications that are designed to assist parents, caregivers, and therapists, including Pocket SLP Application, SLP Mobile Articulation Probes, IEP Checklist, and many more.
For comments and feedback, please feel free to contact Amy Rauworth at email@example.com