Tech Life: Apps keep tabs on your sleep, fitness

Apple products include many ways you can track your fitness. Any watch that pairs with your phone can be used to track the number of miles you have walked or run, how many steps you took, and more.

Follow the Tech Life series this summer written by Green Valley News summer intern Nicholas Trujillo.

Technology is making it easier than ever to do so many things in life — including monitoring and maintaining your health.

New apps and technology are being created at the same pace as movie sequels and reboots. It’s almost guaranteed to find an app or gadget that specifically works for you.

More inside

There are apps that keep track of anything you do in life and help you set boundaries, like limiting phone usage, or set goals, like how much weight to lose.

The best thing about it is there are apps and gadgets compatible with both Android and iOS.

Sleep

It's a comforting hello and the hardest goodbye.

Aside from food, sleep is one of the best things you can keep track of to have a healthy life. Luckily, there are a lot of apps to cover that area.

One of them, specifically for Apple users, is Sleep++. The app tracks your sleeping pattern, like how you move in your sleep and how much noise you make. It doesn’t watch you through the phone, however. It uses the Apple Watch to track movement and noise by syncing up, through Bluetooth, with the phone.

For Android users, I recommend Sleep Better with Runtastic. This app can monitor your sleep by being in the same bed as you or by using a smartwatch that you can connect to with it.

To get a better picture of your sleep patterns, most apps have charts that track how your sleep went. The two apps above have charts and graphs that show when you were in deep sleep, and when you were tossing and turning.

Both apps did let me know I move a lot around 3 to 4 a.m. The reasons however are unknown, but it might be because of pigeons that starting cooing at 3 a.m.

Other apps do exist, like Sleep Android and Beddit sleep monitor, and I’ve personally used these apps and have gotten the expected results. But that isn’t to say other apps can’t give you results.

Fitness

After sleeping, I rank fitness and food as the next most important things for maintaining a healthy body. The right exercise routine and diet plan can help you lose weight, increase brain functionality and improve sleeping habits.

One great way to keep track of fitness is a piece of tech most people have. Smart watches.

Whether it be an Apple Watch or one of the various Android smart watches, they both do the same thing, with different aesthetics. Apple are only able to pair, through Bluetooth, with other Apple products. And Androids sticking to their side of the room with other Android watches.

However, both can track your fitness through their default apps. Health for Apple, and Google Fit for most Androids.

Apple has released a new strap for their watches, KardiaBand, to track heart rate, while some Android smartwatches already have this in their design, like the 3Plus Vibe.

Both watches track the distance you’ve ran or walked, the flights of stairs you’ve climbed and even track the amount of calories you have burned.

After you routine, both systems put the data into easy-to-read graphs and charts and can help keep track of whether you are getting better or worse.

Aside from the watches, the phones with the apps are just as great to use. I recommend both native apps because any other app would just take up unnecessary space that could be used for something better.

For food, both default apps recommend other apps that might be better with tracking your calorie intake and keeping track of your overall health.

Google Fit and Health require you to manually put in how many of what vitamins you have eaten. Like copper, iron, as well as fiber and other nutritional values.

Other apps, like Yazio and Lifesum, also have you put your vitamin levels in manually. However, they also have recommended recipes, and diet plans, that already have calories and other vitamins measured out to make keeping count easier.

At-home companions

If calling your parents to make sure they take their medicine is a little too much for your everyday agenda, then you might want some of these gadgets.

Robot companions may not sound like an enticing option, but it’s becoming more and more viable each day.

Kuri, a mobile robot companion, has a built in camera you can use to check up on how things are going on at the house. It has a built-in camera and microphones that can record video and audio at a whim.

It’s mostly used by families to record moments they don’t have a camera ready for. It works by saying “Hey Kuri,” and then giving it a simple command like “Go Charge,” which will make the robot drive itself back to its charging station. Or if you have set locations like the living room, you can say “Come to living room,” or “Come to kitchen.”

However, Kuri isn’t the best option to help remind your loved ones to take their medicine.

It comes with a hefty price tag of $899 before shipping and tax. It also requires a $100 deposit to actually secure a spot to have it shipped to you.

Mabu is the other companion, but unlike Kuri, it can be paid for with your health insurance, depending on your coverage at least. A week-long free trial is also available at mymabu.com.

Mabu is an at-home companion that sits in one spot and sets reminders to take certain medication and interacts with you at home. It asks simple questions like “How are you feeling?” and “Did you take your medication?”

The robot then sends those responses to your health care provider. It doesn’t record or store any other responses.

These two companions are just two fishes in an ever-growing sea of robot companions. There are more and more robots coming out that can mimic human interaction.

But to get the best device or app, a quick search on the internet is always encouraged. Something that works for me may or may not work for you.

Watch for upcoming installments of Tech Life in the Green Valley News.

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