APPS FOR A CAUSE: A HEALTHIER YOU!

It’s not often that this blog gets excited about an app for your phone or device that is worthy of review, or is meaningful enough in a fitness-frame-of-mind to mention.

However, I recently came across two solid apps that are functional, fitness/health related, and easy to use.

One will satisfy your philanthropic side and get you into shape and the other will help to educate.

Best part: They are free to download.

Check these apps out to boost your fitness, increase your healthy-eating knowledge,
and do a little good for the greater good:

app #1: Charity Miles

Charity Miles is a free app that allows you to earn money for charities by walking, running, or biking.
By teaming up with corporate sponsors, Charity Miles will donate 10 cents per mile for bikers and 25 cents per mile for walkers and runners.

Start by logging in and creating an account. Choose your method of exercise and which charity you are exercising for.
Using the internal GPS and pedometer, your iPhone, iPad or iPod will accurately keep tabs on how many miles you cover.
When you log out, Charity Miles sends the donation to your specified charity and you a confirmation email about how many miles you covered and your donation.
Granted, you only earn one dollar for a four mile walk, but of course there is strength in numbers.
More people walking, more money for charity. (And healthier people!)

The charities you can choose from are all recognizable and diverse. ASPCA, Habitat For Humanity, Stand Up To Cancer, Autism Speaks, Feeding America, etc.

An easy to use app and good for everyone.

PLUSES: What a motivation! Earn money for charity AND get a great workout. Win win situation!
On a recent power walk with a friend, we were compelled to walk longer and farther because we wanted to rack up some coins.

MINUSES: As of now, it seems that the app is only compatible with Apple products. No droids.

GRADE: A

app #2: Fooducate – Diet Tracker and Healthy Food Nutrition Scanner

Fooducate aims to enlighten and assist you in learning exactly what is in the products you are buying by using an enormous database of barcodes from over 200,000
packaged food products. By scanning the barcodes, Fooducate can help you lose weight, make better food choices, and track your progress. They not only tell you
the ingredients in any given product, but they rate and grade the quality of the product and give you healthier alternatives.

Start by creating an account, input your specific desires (such as vegan foods, low fat foods, sugar content, etc.) whether you want to lose weight, what your current weight is, your activity level and the food stores you like to shop at.

Then Fooducate does the rest!

Recently I put in that I like vegan or vegetarian, low processed, non-gmo and vitamin packed food choices. I scanned a product and Fooducate told me how that food stands up based on my choices. If it doesn’t match any of my criteria, it gives me better alternatives.

You can also choose to input all your daily food intake and Fooducate will calculate how you are doing if losing weight is a priority.

PLUSES: This is an awesome app if you are looking to gain knowledge in reading food labels. It clearly and easily gives you all the tools and really nails it. It offers up lots of information on an enormous range of foods.

MINUSES: I have to admit, the location feature is a little too Big Brother-ish for me. Fooducate recognizes when you are getting close to a food store that you like to shop at. It sends you a push notification asking if you are on your way to shop at, say, Whole Foods and do you want help in your shopping. Of course you can turn that option off in the settings, but the fact that it knows where I am going and why is a little creepy.

GRADE: A

So if you are looking for a couple of new apps to boost your fitness and health, these two are definitely worth looking into.
As always, let me know what your favorite health and fitness apps are and what you think of these.

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CHANGE. IT DOES A BODY GOOD.

Change is good. No….really. Change is good. As a refresher, a new perspective, or a necessity for growth, change may not always be easy, but it can be the jumping off point for new experiences. Change is not only good, it’s necessary and inevitable. Life is all about change.

So when talking about fitness and exercise, the same is true. Make a change.

You may or may not be in an exercise plateau, but the need to give your body and mind something new to do is not only essential for your sanity, but important for your muscles. Don’t get me wrong: adaptation is a necessary component to achieving a fitness goal. But muscles get bored and at the cellular level, they desire new challenges. As your muscles become efficient at performing your daily routine, they become less efficient at burning calories simply because they need less energy to perform their required tasks. Hence: plateaus. Give your muscles a new choice from the menu!

So what to do? For daily walkers, try taking a different route that includes rugged terrain and hills. Upping your pace to a higher tempo is an easy way to change your routine. If you’re a runner, a change can be as simple as running sprints, taking a new hill challenge or simply altering your route. Try stopping mid-workout to perform squats, core work, or tricep dips.

But incorporating exercise which is new for you is the best way to give your muscles a wake up call. Of course, Pilates or yoga can be a great addition to any routine, but so can more traditional forms of strength training. I recently went from a daily routine of Pilates, walking, yoga or ballet class to include boot camp-type exercise, P90X, and next week I’ll try CoreFit for the first time. Why? Because I need to stay hungry for new experiences. Because I am training for a crazy obstacle course that requires a great deal of agility. Because my brain is the most important muscle in my body and it needs a workout too.

So keep doing what you’re doing, and do it with your whole heart. Just remember to mix it up a bit. Try not to do the same thing every day and you may see new results.

Your muscles will like the change.

Posted in Exercise, Pilates, Strength Training, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment