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While social media and being attached to your screen can be addicting and have real implications in altering your physiology, posture and psychology — when used strategically with the right health apps and healthy boundaries, you’re actually setting yourself up to be successful.
Here’s how …
1. By creating a new healthy habit
Because fitness apps are built to be used regularly, they help you form healthy habits. Whether that means monitoring your steps taken every few hours or seeing how many calories you’ve burned or eaten by lunchtime, if you engage with your apps — you’re keeping your health and wellness top of mind, rather than letting it fall to the back-burner behind work, chores and more. And when you’re thinking about whether you’ve moved enough or consumed the proper food, you’re more likely to make the right choices all day long – getting you closer and closer to your goals.
Check out this list of specialized apps designed to help you stay on track.
2. By using social media for accountability, community and inspiration
Three-quarters of the American population use social media, and there are billions more worldwide. On social media, people share updates, photos of their food, and of course, their workout data. And you too can share your progress and stay accountable, especially if the fitness apps you use directly post to your Twitter or Facebook page.
It works! In fact, studies published by Translational Behavioral Medicine and weight-loss social community, Weilos, show that posting about diet and exercise progress on social media can make a significant positive impact on your weight loss and overall fitness. Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo explains that this positive correlation between fitness and social sharing is due to three key factors: positive reinforcement, accountability and a basic need for social connection.
Not to mention, you get to encourage others and can even find other people on your same journey by searching hashtags with active communities like #whole30, #weightwatchers and #TIU. You can also get inspiration for healthy food and fitness by following top accounts. For instance, get inspired by the dishes of Sprouted Kitchen and get workout tips from famed trainers like the Tone it Up ladies, Cassey Ho and Gunnar Peterson, to name a few.
3. By visualizing your personal data
Some of the most popular fitness and health apps in the app store have the best ways to display our data. We like to see what we’re doing in an understandable way. If you’re a visual person, seeing your data in a graph is major motivation to make changes.
And according to a study by the University of Washington, people have an easier time meeting their personal fitness and activity goals when the data relayed to them is presented in a broad and clear way. When given data with broad context, users are able to find meaningful or actionable information much easier and makes them more likely to remain engaged with their personal fitness.
Tracking apps with well-designed data dashboards, like Fitbit, MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal, can give you visibility into your fitness and eating activity, so you can pinpoint the things you need to do different to reach your goals. These apps also give you a graphical way to see your progress overtime to stay motivated.
Moral of the story? Use your technology for good and get to tracking!
Editor’s note: 24 Hour Fitness recently debuted a revamped My24 app for its members. Within My24, users can set continuous personal goals for themselves in order to stay engaged and track their progress, find clubs, check the GX24 schedule, read exclusive content and listen to the 24 Hour Fitness iHeartRadio music channel. The app is available for free download on both iOS and Android.
Photo credit: Thinkstock, iStock, YakobchukOlena.