Current Government guidelines stress the need to take extra precautions when it comes to keeping commonly touched surfaces clean, and we share why this should include your smartphone.
Use apps to help reach your goals for the new year
Dust off those exercise shoes, it’s that time of the year where most people look to the New year and set resolutions, you yourself may have done some, did you achieve any of last years?
Whatever you want to call them, or however many you want to set, make them achievable for you! Try not to chastise yourself too much if you forget, or can’t exercise, but more on that later!
Experts say we should raise our heartbeat for at least 30 minutes every day. A good way, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while, is to start small, and build up your exercise regime.
Try to remember a walk every evening is better than not doing anything, start easy and build up, go with a friend, your dog or even have a podcast or book playing in your ears as you walk.
There’s lots of friendly, helpful advice out there, and as 2021 draws to a close we may start to look towards a healthier (hopefully less restricted) 2022.
Do you have any goals in mind for the new year?
We’ve brought together some tips, apps and even some of our personal goals for the new year!
Many of us have goals in mind, some of us may choose to lose weight, or get/remain active or perhaps just to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Some of us may plan and set these goals with good intentions, but less than halfway through the year we end up slipping.
This is quite common, and it may be better for you to pause your goal and reflect why you may no longer do the activities surrounding this. Perhaps you’re coming back from an injury, you’re no longer seeing results, or you’ve simply stopped enjoying the activity(ies)?
Only you know your own body and to listen to its limits, always take care when trying a new activity and obtain advice from medical or sporting professionals if you are ever unsure.
Our Digital Marketing Manager, James Hart’s goals: “My goals are to try and use my device less during the evenings, to exercise more, and to eat less meat per week by swapping meat for plant-based products and also to learn the banjo.”
To help you kick start the new year, we’ve looked at some apps which may help you track and maintain any exercise goal(s) or healthy eating you may have.
Apps that support health goals
Apple Fitness+ is an exercise tracking app, available on iOS 8.2 (the iPhone 6 Plus) and above, this app is available for users with a connected Apple Watch. With the ability to track exercises such as HIIT, Yoga, walking and many more.
Apple Fitness offers a new workout, ranging from 5-45 minutes, every week. You can also view your heart-rate on screen and more.
Starting with a free 1-month trial for Apple watch owners, then if you chose to stay you’d pay £9.99/month or £79.99/year.
This free App will record and analyse your activities, whether you walk or run, hike or bike, play indoor or outdoor sports, you can track the various physical exercises and activities. Samsung Health can also help you track sleep, monitor your heart rate and you can input what you eat. To help you maintain a healthier lifestyle.
The Better Points app
The Better Points app is a free exercise app to help track your walking, running and cycling, by using your phone's GPS to track your movements. With Better Points, you get rewarded for exercising, build points each time you exercise, to then spend in shops such as New Look, Starbucks, John Lewis, and Hotel Chocolat or online for Amazon.
There is a free version of this app, which has a database of more than 1,300 exercises to help you plan your weightlifting sessions and to track your reps and weights used. You could consider there paid for application, at $6.99 (£5.20) or $39.99 (£29.76)*.
*Pricing accurate at time of publishing - November 2021
Joe Wicks - The Body Coach App
This free app boasts exclusive live workouts with Joe each week, home workouts suitable for all fitness levels. Also included in the app, you’ll find tasty recipes tailored to you and a planner to help keep you on track.
Although it’s currently only available on the Apple Store, you can now pre-register for this app to download from the Google Play Store.
The SHREDDY app is available on both Google Play and the Apple Store for £9.99 per month. This app provides users with real-time classes, healthy meal plans and high-energy workouts, with a Shreddy Club that is a community of users to help you stay motivated.
Asana Rebel builds a daily plan that encourages you to make small actions throughout the day. Use the free app to see quizzes, music, exercise, food recipes and more.
This is a free application, but you can pay for a premium subscription at £14.99 per month, they currently have a discount running on their yearly subscription. Where you ‘unlock everything’ to see more exercises, routines such as mindfulness music and sleep patterns and more healthy recipes and more.
Dance like there is no one watching
The Dance Fitness Lite app is a free app that has a vast range of different dances, including Cheerleading, Street, Bollywood, Zumba, and Salsa. So, get your dancing shoes on and lose yourself in the beat whilst you exercise!
Please always research and find what app or device may work best for you. Consider consulting a professional if you have concerns about yours or a loved one's mental health.
Try not to get too hung up on the small things
Resolutions concerning health and diet are the most common type of resolutions and the most that are broken. How many times have you set yourself a resolution only not to see it through, even the most focused, goal orientated persons may have fallen short of their resolutions.
So try not to get too hung up on the small things. Yes, you might slip and have a ‘day off’ but there are some things you cannot control. The question is, will you lead off from where you started, can you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and get going?
Push yourself, but not to extremes
Make sure your goal or goals are achievable, set a goal that you think you’ll achieve in the timeframe you’ll achieve it in, make sure it’s based on your desires, goals and personal self, just because your friend may have also set a running goal, does not mean you have to go at their pace! Setting a goal that is not right for you, may end in not achieving your goal(s) or worse, you could hurt yourself in the process!
Why it’s important to take time to think about what to do
Choose something fun
Perhaps something you’ve always wanted to try? Perhaps now things are seemingly returning to normal, you feel as though you’ve not got enough time to do this.
Choosing something fun or selecting an activity you’ve always wanted to try, may help motivate you to keep going. Remember to give yourself time to settle into any new activities and as above, listen to your body and if unsure a medical or sporting professional may be able to help guide you in choosing an activity that suits you, your body and your lifestyle and what you want to achieve.
It doesn’t all have to be about diet and exercise. Mindfulness and setting yourself a challenge can be just as beneficial as a jog round the block.
2020 saw a lot of people jump on the home-baking, maybe you did too and found out you quite enjoyed it?
Why not set a day where you bake something for your friends, family, colleagues or even just yourself*, although we think sharing is much better!
*Enjoy as part of a balanced lifestyle, see some of our tips guidelines on healthy eating.
Can I use a smartwatch to help me keep track?
Yes! Some of the apps we mention above, may also produce a smartwatch, or these watches may even connect to fitness and exercise apps, helping you track and manage your activities in one place.
See below some of the more popular watches that you may wish to use as part of a healthy lifestyle. As always, please look into each product before purchasing. Just because you have a Samsung doesn’t necessarily mean you need a Samsung watch!
As you expect, prices for smartwatches can vary from make to model, so if you’re considering purchasing a watch, then please check that the device meets your requirements prior to purchasing.
The Apple iWatch is a device that can help you aim for a healthy life. It helps you track various physical activities such as running, walking, diet, heart rate, and sleep, with some of their watches being swim proof*
*Please note some watches may vary in depth and how long they may be submerged. Always check with the manufacturer about the IP rating prior to purchase.
Samsung develops both smartwatches and fitness trackers. With their highly resistant, long-lasting battery fitness trackers, you can purchase various styles of watches that may suit your lifestyle. Pair your Samsung watch with Samsung Health, a free application developed by Samsung that serves to track various aspects of daily life contributing to your wellbeing, such as physical activity, heart rate, diet, and sleep.
Fitbit is a wearable technology physical fitness monitor and activity tracker. With a Fitbit watch you can monitor your heart rate, steps, exercise and sleeping patterns. Fitbit produces smartwatches, trackers and even has an app, to help you track and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Multisport GPS watches by Garmin have numerous sport-specific features that help you to track your progress.
These watches link to ‘Garmin Connect’, which enables you to track your heart rate, steps, other exercise, sleep, and can even connect to other apps such as My Fitness Pal to help you track your calorie intake.
Got a smartwatch?
If you have decided to use either of these watches to help you track your activities, or you may even already own one! Then please consider these helpful tips for keeping your watch clean.
- Clean & Dry:
Keep the watch and your skin clean and dry. Remember to regularly clean the watch with a soft cloth and wipe the sweat off after exercise. If you have stubborn stains on your watch, try bruising them with a soft wet toothbrush.
- Charge your battery when you need to:
Samsung advises ‘charging regularly and keeping the battery above 50 percent’. There’s nothing worse than trying to finish your steps off for the day and your watch battery dying.
Most watches come with a long life, and some may even come with fast charge, so make sure you’ve got a device that suits your needs, and you don’t feel like you’re constantly needing to charge it.
- Do not use solvents to clean your watch:
May sound obvious but don’t use soap or anti-bac to clean your watch, as it could damage the watch or irritate your skin. Just rinse the straps with water and remember to dry it thoroughly before wearing it.
Food, glorious food!
So you like food (who doesn’t!), perhaps you find it hard to ‘give up’ the food you like the most? Or maybe a more balanced diet is what you're aiming for this year, but you’re not sure where to start?
Giving up food you like in its entirety may not be the best move for you! Try instead to swap out one of your meals or treats with something a little healthier for example brown rice instead of white, fruit or veg in your lunch box instead of biscuits or chocolate.
Tracking what you eat, especially at the start of your journey may be beneficial for you. So to help, we’ve researched some apps and have brought together 5 food tracking related applications, which may help you meet your goals.
Daily calorie diary, easy to log what you eat throughout the day, with a barcode scanner and a database of over 11 million different foods, it can also find many restaurant foods that aren’t always easy to track. Can be synced to your smartwatches to easily track how many steps, or other exercise you have done. This App is free but you also have the option of going ‘premium’ by paying £7.99 p/m or £39.99 per year*.
*Prices correct at time of publishing December 2021
If you have a Fitbit, why not consider using the app to log your food to help you stay in a calorie range. Although you can use the Fitbit app for free, to track your exercise, sleep and heart-rate, you will need the device itself, which ranges in price so it may be worth looking into other gadgets prior to purchasing.
Fit Men Cook
There isn’t a free version of the Fit Men Cook app. However, if one of your goals is healthy eating, then this app may be for you. It boasts over 500 recipes, some of which include handy how-to videos, these healthy meal plans can help you keep track of your calories and macros, and the app also has a handy shopping list where you can check off each ingredient.
Thinking of going Vegan?
It’s vital that you make sure you’re eating all the nutrients that your body requires, especially if you decide to go Vegan. With this in mind, the Vegan Society created the VNutrition app. This free app gives advice, from registered dietitians, about plant-based foods.
This free app with more than 150 recipes to help you eat healthier, with a daily meal planner and you can even send recipes to generate a shopping list. The downside to this app is that you can’t plan for more than one day.
Please note, Insurance2go is not in any way affiliated with any of the apps mentioned above. Please speak to your GP or Health Advisor before making any lifestyle changes, or starting a new activity, to make sure the activities or changes you wish to make are suitable to your personal health and situation.
Keep your phone safe whilst exercising, and for added peace of mind consider phone insuranceMobile phone insurance