Sunday, 8 September 2013

How are you?

In the past, if someone asked, “how are you?”, you would politely reply that you were fine and ask them how they were. The conversation would then move on. But now, there are apps for your phone and tablet that can actually tell you how are and can make suggestions about how you could be better! Let’s have a look at what’s available.

Apps like Instant Heart Rate from Azumio Inc let you place the tip of your index finger on your phone’s camera and in a couple of seconds your heart rate is displayed. A real-time chart shows your every heartbeat. It uses your phones built-in camera to track colour changes on the fingertip that are directly linked to your pulse. This is the same technique that medical pulse oximeters use.

iPad apps, such as Cardiio (from Medgadget) and What’s My Heart Rate (from ViTrox Technologies), measure your heart rate by detecting the micro colour changes in your face caused by your heartbeat. The increase in blood volume as the blood vessels in the face expand with every heartbeat causes more light to be absorbed, resulting in a decrease in the amount of light reflected from the face. The iPad’s camera can pick up these changes, thereby allowing the app to calculate a person’s heart rate.

There are also apps like Blood Pressure from Klimaszewski Szymon that allows you to keep a record of your blood pressure readings. You can record and describe your readings, view them on interactive graphs, study generated statistics and trends, or filter selected data.

Similarly, apps like Monitor Your Weight from Husain Al-Bustan allow you to enter your weight on a regular basis and monitor it using statistics and graphs. It allows multiple users to be monitored. The app also suggests your ideal weight and, for slimmers, recommends the amount of time needed to reach a target weight, based on your current weight, height, body frame, gender, and age.

Other slimming apps available include Weight Watchers Mobile (from Weight Watchers International Inc), which has an extensive library of over 30,000 foods, includes restaurant meals, and gives a WeightWatchers point value for each entry, as well as calculating your daily point allowance and how many points you have remaining; My Diet Coach (from InspiredApps (A.L) Ltd), which acts more like a supportive friend than a calorie counter; Nutrino (from ComoComo Ltd), which builds a personalized menu for you, taking into consideration how many calories you should be eating each day to reach your goal; and MyFitnessPal (from MyFitnessPal LLC), which works out how many calories you can consume each day to hit your slimming target in the timeframe you specify. You might also like Superfoods (from Chourishi Systems) and Low Fat Recipes (from App Cookies).

Of course, you probably want to start doing some exercise. Your first choice of app might be something like MapMyWalk GPS Walking from MapMyFitness Inc. This allows users to track the route, time, distance, speed, pace, and calories in real-time for their fitness activities using GPS. And soon you might be upgrading to running apps such as MapMyRun GPS Running, which helps runners, joggers, and walkers easily track pace, distance, calories, and time, with audio alerts and much more. Other similar apps include RunKeeper - GPS Track Run Walk from FitnessKeeper Inc, My Tracks from Google Inc, Nike+ Running from Nike Inc, and Sports Tracker from Sports Tracking Technologies Ltd. And once you can run, you may want to go out on your bike. There are apps for that too – Strava Cycling - GPS Riding from Strava Inc, MapMyRide GPS Cycling Riding from MapMyFitness Inc, and Runtastic Road Bike from Runtastic.

There are also lots of daily workout apps available such as Fitness Buddy: 300+ Exercises from Azumio Inc, 7 Minute Workout from mphan, or VirtuaGym Fitness Home & Gym from VirtuaGym. Or you might prefer Daily Yoga (All-in-One) from IMOBLIFE Co Ltd.

How you’re sleeping has a huge impact on how you’re feeling, so you might be interested in SleepBot - Sleep Cycle Alarm from SleepBot. It includes a smart cycle alarm, movement tracker, sound recorder, sleep debt log, data analysis, trend graphs, sleep help, auto-Wifi/silence/aeroplane modes, export, and sync to Other sleep apps are available, of course.

If you want to check your eyesight, you could try Vision Test 2.0 from 3 SIDED CUBE or Specsavers Sight Check from Specsavers.

If you want to relax, you might look at iZen – Art of Zen Meditation (from IMOBLIFE Inc) or even Buddhist Meditation Trainer from Spacebug. iZen works by providing Zen music to help the mind achieve tranquillity and peace. The app has a timer for how long you want to meditate. Calming Music to Tranquilize (from IMOBLIFE Inc) gives you several choices of tranquil sound tracks. Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson (from HiveBrain Software) gives you guided meditation, designed to relax and clear your mind to get you to sleep. Relax Melodies (from iLBSoft) lets you mix your favourite sounds to create and save tracks. It comes with 41 ambient sounds.

Hypnosis – (Free) Relaxation from Nimue uses guided meditation with a voice that speaks throughout the session. It claims to help relax the mind with the use of voice audio and music tracks. Relax Completely from Hypnotherapist Direct Ltd provides a hypnosis meditation session for deep relaxation. Self-Hypnosis for Meditation (from IMOBLIFE Inc) provides sound tracks designed to help the mind find its way to different states of meditation and relaxation. Metaphors and suggestions are also used by the app

And obviously there are lots more apps that you can use to monitor how you are at the moment and help you to take steps to become who you want to be. So when someone asks how you are, you’ll now be able to give them a statistical answer!

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