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$300 loan.

I’ve been testing out a few new healthy-living tools recently, and wanted to share my thoughts:

  • RunKeeper app. This has helped me keep track of my walks (sometimes walk-runs) and also gives me a good measure of distances in my neighborhood. I load my playlist (usually “Tuff Stuff” or “Hot Jams”) and hit the road with Chloe. If you’re on RunKeeper, feel free to find me. I’ve also synced it with MyFitnessPal (you can find me there, too) NOT to count calories but to keep track of what I’m eating and how I’m feeling. On that note…
  • MyFitnessPal. Food journaling has indeed proven useful in weight-loss studies, but for those who read the magazine regularly, you know we don’t count calories, fat, and carbs here. We like to focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods that make us feel good and fuel our bodies. I stay conscious of portion sizes, listening to my belly when it’s full — which comes surprisingly quickly when you eat healthy fats and fiber-packed vegetables. So, while I do like this app for journaling, it has it’s flaws. Note to self: Design an app that allows you to adjust and turn off calorie counts, or measures based on phytonutrients. What I do like: Both MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper (along with other apps) sync with my new UP band, so I get a better picture of my health.
  • UP by Jawbone. An app and a bracelet that tracks your movements, UP notes my steps each day and my sleep patterns, recording “deep sleep” when I’m laying still and times when I wake up at night. Once the app is open on my phone, I can plug in the band via my headphone portal and it syncs all my information. It is also compatible with several other healthy-living apps, making it easy to track my information. I’m a fan of the Idle Alert setting, which buzzes every 15 or 30 minutes to remind me to stand up and take a stroll (you can set it for longer, but I like to work in 30-minute window then stretch and give my brain a break). I also love the Smart Sleep Alert, which I can set to a 20-minute window within my desired wake-up time, so it only buzzes when I’m in my light-sleep mode. (You can also set it for 10 minutes, or longer than 20 minutes.) I’ve been waking up in a much more pleasant mood!
  • Fitletic Hydration Belt. I’m new to the running-belt world, but I like the option to bring along two water bottles with this belt: One for me and one for Chloe. We have yet to take a long enough run where we need it, but it’s nice to have. I have noticed, however, that as much as I want to bring water along for a run, I don’t care for the weight of it on my body. This belt has a little zippered pouch for my phone, ID, and key, and it is adjustable — a nice feature as my weight changes.

I’ve also been tipped off recently to the Streaks app, so I’m going to give that a try and report back.

What apps or tools have you tried and liked? Share with me in the comments below, or Tweet at me: @clewisopdahl.

Thoughts to share?

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