Lifestyle article

Fitness and finance at your fingertips

19 November, 2019

There’s been an explosion of apps and innovative technologies to help keep our physical, mental and financial health on track.

With the digital age permeating every aspect of modern life, it’s not surprising there’s been an explosion of apps and innovative technologies to help keep our physical, mental and financial health on track. Here’s a closer look at some of the best wellness technology on the market.

App-based fitness and wellness

We live in an era where smartphones are ubiquitous, so, it makes sense to use them to help achieve our fitness goals and improve our health and wellbeing.

1. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal offers tools to track your weight loss by tracking and calculating your daily food intake, calories, exercises and steps. Features include:

  • A huge food database where you can select meals, track major nutrients and count calories.
  • A barcode scanner for purchased food items so you can log them in the app.
  • Connectivity with several other apps, including Apple Health, Fitbit, MapMyFitness, Runkeeper and more.

2. Strava

Strava is the Instagram or Facebook for runners. It takes the interaction and social features of these social media platforms and pairs it with activity tracking technology. Features include:

  • Tracking measurements for distance, speed, elevation, calories burned, heart rate and cadence.
  • Ability to take part in challenges with other users.

3. Headspace

Headspace offers a gentle introduction to meditation by starting you off on a free ‘Take10’ program, which gives you the chance to meditate for just 10 minutes a day over 10 days. Other features include:

  • Guided breathing and visualisation exercises.
  • Tailored options for those who suffer from anxiety or experience panic attacks.

Wearable technology

While most of us think of the iconic Apple Watch when we hear the word ‘wearables’, wearable technologies also include fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and global positioning trackers.

In the 13th Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2019 wearable technology took the number one spot for fitness trends1.

Here are three new wearables on the market:

1. Huami AmazFit GTS The AmazFit GTS looks like the Apple Watch, but it has better battery life, with up to two weeks on a single charge. It also features 12 different exercise modes, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, a GPS and sleep tracking.

2. Garmin Venu
The Garmin Venu tracks your standard health metrics plus respiration and an estimation of your hydration and sweat loss. A new ‘workouts’ feature uses animations to demonstrate exercise moves on the display.

3. TCL Movetime Family Watch MT40S Designed e to help older people, TCL’s latest smartwatch comes with a locator app as well as reminders about medication and upcoming appointments. In the event of an emergency, you can hold down the power key for three seconds to send a message to pre-set contacts alerting them that you need help.

Virtual reality to boost fitness and wellness

No longer just the realm of gamers, virtual reality (VR) is making its way into the mainstream in new ways, including the gym. From spin classes with VR headsets that take you through stunning virtual forest trails to boxing classes in your living room, VR in fitness can please the senses as well as get the blood pumping.

And, if you’d rather play a game than pound the pavement (or treadmill), then there’s good news for you. A recent study found that 41 people aged 18 to 39 who played three VR exercise games all believed they were working out with lower intensity than the physiological data reflected.

A cautious approach

The rise in apps and wearables means more of us are giving over access to our personal information, which means more opportunities for cybercriminals.

Given more than 75 per cent of mobile apps fail basic cyber security tests, it’s vital to apply the same vigilance to your app usage as you would with any other online or digital tool2. Consider the following precautions:

  • Only download from trusted sources: before downloading, conduct research to make sure the app is legitimate. Check reviews, confirm the legitimacy of the app store and compare the app’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency.
  • Understand app permissions before accepting them: be cautious about granting apps access to personal information on your phone or letting the app have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to also check the privacy settings for each app before installing.

Harnessing apps for financial wellness

It’s also important to manage your financial wellness because financial stress has a very real impact on our day-to-day health and wellbeing.

To help streamline your financial management you may want to consider a cashflow and budgeting tool that can give you a complete view of your financial position.

If you want to know more about accessing a secure money management app please contact us and we can help.

1 American college of sports medicine, ‘Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2019’, November/December 2018.

2 Moveo, ‘7 Ways to Protect Mobile Applications Against Dangerous Cyber Threats’, 2 August 2019.

3 San Francisco State University, ‘Metabolic Cost and Exercise Intensity During Active Virtual Reality Gaming’, October 2018.