Use your phone to get fit

Tips on using health/fitness apps #Fibbit#MyFitnessPal#SleepCycle#MapMyRide

Do you perform some type of physical activity regularly, or wish that you did?

jogging trail sign
Parks with trails help people stay active.

You probably know that medical experts recommend physical activity; it not only helps us feel and look better, but it can even prevent certain chronic illnesses and delay death.

Physical activity fact sheet from the World Health Organization-WHO

Ask yourself these questions :

  1. Did you make a new year’s resolution to exercise more?
  2. Has your doctor told you to increase physical activity to treat a chronic condition or to prevent one?
  3. Do you need to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, control your blood glucose(sugar) or cholesterol?
  4. Do you want to feel more fit, stronger, and energetic?
blood pressure cuff, pill holder with medication
Controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol can help prevent and manage heart disease.



If you answered yes to any of these, and you own a smartphone, consider installing and using a fitness app.

Using a health or fitness app can

  • Motivate you to be more active
  • Monitor your compliance with activity
  • Measure your progress, and
  • Manage data that you and your doctor can use to improve your health.

Look for these features in a health/fitness app –

you may not need or want all of these, but they increase its usefulness

  • Has a user-friendly interface
  • Offers free trial version
  • Easy to initiate
  • Reliability during the activity
  • Includes a goal setting option
  • Offers real-time feedback
  • Customizable to user
  • Expert consultation available
  • Incorporates behavior change techniques based on science
  • Syncs with other apps and devices/computers for review and sharing
  • Supports social networking
  • Offers periodic summaries

Based on sales and independent reviews, here is a small sample of some of the top fitness apps available now.

They are organized by category, using the mnemonic FITNESS.

(This list contains affiliate links which may pay  this blog  a commission at no extra cost to you.)

FantasyZombies, Run!

Run, walk or jog while completing an adventure mission

 also a book based on the app

Intense CardioRun Tracker


 Tracking and Analytics Fitbitfeet in sports shoes

tracks exercises, food intake, calorie, weight and sleep

Net weight loss MyFitness Pal 

tracks food calories intake by barcode scanner , tracks nutrients, sugar and fiber

milk, yogurt, fruits, vegetables
Nutrition apps can help you make better food choices.

Eating/diet Fooducate

ranks overall nutritional value of food item and suggests alternative food choices when needed; customized to user

someone standing on a scale

SleepSleep Cycle 

tracks sleep quality and quantity, optimizes wake-up interval

person sleeping on a couch
Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.


SpecializedCharity Miles

motivates more miles of walking, running, or cycling as users can earn donations to a charity of their choice for each mile travelled.

With an app and a fitness device you can  overcome

some of the barriers to physical activity such as

  • Lack of time
  • Inconvenience
  • Boredom
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Fear of injury
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of ability to  exercise


Some reasons you may not use a fitness app or device include

  • Apps require basic  technical skill and knowledge to use.
  • The financial resources to purchase and maintain.
  • You must “actively engage” with it to benefit.
  • The value of health apps to change behavior and health outcomes has not been scientifically established.



I have been using the app MapMyRide on my phone. When I’m walking or riding my bicycle, it keeps track of the distance , route and calories burned. I can manually enter activities I do when I’m not carrying my phone, like ballroom dancing. I can even enter activities like gardening, vacuuming, swimming and exercise. I like being able to look back at my workout log and see all that I’ve done the past week, month or year. It motivates me to keep it up, or step it up if I’m lagging .

Map My Ride app

If you choose to use a health app and device, set a goal for its use and periodically assess if it is helping you achieve them.

two champion athletes
You may even become an Olympic champion.

Reference for the information in this blog post-

“Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness”,

by John P. Higgins, MD, MBA, MPhil

The American Journal of Medicine (2016) 129, 11-19


Links in this post are provided for your convenience and do not imply endorsement or recommendation by Dr. Aletha.

A tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado- Tuesday Travels

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I remembered the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health, and made a note to remind you too. Almost no one will disagree with the recommendation to include and increase physical activity in our daily lives.

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On a recent trip to  Colorado Springs my husband and I visited the United States Olympic Training Center . I hope these photos help you understand why his facility is called the “flagship” training center . Both Olympic and Paralympic athletes on Team USA train here.

You’re welcome to continue here, or you can read an updated version of this post at this link

Life Lessons from Team USA

As much as I admire the elite athletes who comprise the Olympic team, the Paralympic athletes captivate my imagination.

These are athletes who compete with, not necessarily despite, significant physical impairments; but to call them “disabled” does them an injustice. Many of them play and compete in physically demanding sports without full use of their arms and legs; some don’t even have all of their arms and legs.

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I remembered the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health, and made a note to remind you too.  Almost no one will disagree with the recommendation to include and increase physical activity in our daily lives.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for moderate-intensive physical activity for 150 minutes or more per week, vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes per week, or an equivalent combination of the 2, and engaging in muscle strengthening activity at least twice per week.

  • Medical studies show that exercise can prevent or improve many chronic health conditions and lack of exercise contributes to many diseases.
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, prostate and pancreas.
  • Regular exercise may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
  • Exercise can relieve joint and back pain due to arthritis.
  • Depression is treated with physical activity successfully

As we walked through the  USA Shooting area I picked up a flyer titled “Winning Attitudes”. I liked what it said so I am using some of the ideas to illustrate my photos. I hope they will encourage you to develop a “winning attitude” in all areas of your life.

Enjoy this brief tour through the Olympic Complex and if you go to Colorado Springs, be sure and visit; the cost is reasonable and worth the price.

Become excited, confident, and enthusiastic about your goals.

statue of athletes at entrance to facility
statue of athletes at entrance to facility

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream.

“Olympic Strength” statue- four athletes supporting the world with a figure skater beside them

Winners focus on solutions, not problems.

wheelchairs adapted for playing

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

on display in the Hall of Fame

Goals should identify minimum performance levels. They should never limit your performance.

swimming pool
a real “olympic sized” swimming pool

Real winners are champions in life, not just in sports.

two champion athletes
Runner Tyson Gay and gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the Hall of Fame

Missing a goal means setting another goal to strive for.

multi use gymnasium

A champion constantly learns and improves.

words to train by and live by

Champions are willing to risk a little in the short run to gain an advantage in the long run

2 athletes
2 athletes hard at work

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream. 

be a champion.
I may not be a competitive athlete, but I will stay as active as possible as long as possible.

Excellence is achieved only through constant pursuit. 

The athletes live, eat, and sleep here.


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