Smartphone Fitness for Families

It's always with you, so use that smartphone to boost your family's fitness.

You use your smartphone to snap pictures, check Facebook, play games, and maybe even make phone calls (once in a while). But don't miss out on its usefulness as a health and fitness tool! Here's how to make smartphone fitness work its magic for you and your family.

1
Track fitness achievements.

Mom using smartphone camera outside
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Whether you use your phone's built-in tracker, download an app, or sync with an external device (such as a FitBit or Jawbone), your phone can let you know at the touch of a button how you're doing today. Have you walked enough steps, climbed enough stairs, logged in a workout? Information can be powerful—and motivating. You can even keep tabs on your child's fitness by syncing up his activity tracker too.

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2
Use a fitness app.

No matter what kind of workout you enjoy, there's an app for that, from running to escape zombies to relaxing, meditative yoga. Downloading a few of these apps to your phone is like having a gym or instructor on call, ready to help you exercise anytime, anywhere. (I use my yoga app in hotels, and stream Netflix if I'm on a treadmill somewhere without a decent TV station.)

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3
Celebrate your sports kid.

Use your phone to take pictures and videos of your kid at play, both to celebrate her achievements and to help her boost her skills. She can use your footage to improve her form, or even just pump up her self-esteem. Apps such as Coach's Eye allow your child's coach to analyze her moves on video and provide constructive feedback.

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4
Use a sports team app.

Especially if you are the "team mom" or manager, an app can come in handy for coordinating some of your volunteer tasks. Programs such as TeamSnap allow you to facilitate registration and scheduling processes, keep rosters and other records, and communicate quickly with other parents.

5
Keep a food diary.

Logging your food can be tedious, but it's a great tool to help you lose weight, or make your diet more nutritious. And one small study even found that food-loggers who used a smartphone (either through an app, or just by using the memo function) recorded their intake more consistently than people who used pencil and paper. Using an app lets you take shortcuts, like having a built-in library of food info, enabling bar-code scanning, or sometimes even taking a photo of your food instead of having to tap it in!

Source:

Wharton CM, Johnston CS, et al. Dietary self-monitoring, but not dietary quality, improves with use of smartphone app technology in an 8-week weight loss trial. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Vol. 46, No. 5, September 2014.

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