By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
We live in an age where technology has or will take over so many areas of our lives, but are we allowing technology to take control of our health? Technology is around to add value to your health or possibly be a tool in keeping track of your health, but is it controlling you? If you are using a health app, stop and think for a second, how much do you rely on it?
I personally get the impression that people are relying on technology way too much and it is really worrying me. So we all know how phone applications can potentially support a wellness lifestyle… Some applications assist with tracking and monitoring your daily food intake, overall nutrition level, physical activity and even sleep to maintain or improve your health. Other apps provide you with facts, information and research, increasing your knowledge. A few applications even visually demonstrate how specific muscles are engaged and affected by certain exercises, stretches or poses that you might want to incorporate into your programme. Then you have other apps that provide you with personal coaching and provide general or customised fitness programmes for you to reach your body or health goals. There are also mindfulness applications that coach you in relaxing or meditation. Let’s not forget the apps that group together likeminded enthusiasts or bring wellness communities of all kinds together and closer. If you are using any of these, how much do you rely on them and could you continue your journey without them?
I am a firm believer of being in control of your own health. Active learning, researching and educating yourself is the foundation for a successful future. These apps should be used to support our learning curve, to support our tracking and to support and continuously improve our individual wellness journeys. Letting technology dictate or instruct you is a mistake. You should understand the underlying reasons for the treatment and apply them to yourself because you comprehend and see the benefit of what you are being advised to do. How can these applications have control over your actions when they have zero knowledge of the real-time you besides your general biometrics that you might have input in the beginning? On another note, why do so many people track and count calories? Can’t we just train and use our minds to decide our own food intake? Can’t we base our decisions on our self-education and listening to our bodies? Do you look at your phone every few minutes while you are working out? While you are eating? Can I be flexible and change my plan according to what and how I am feeling?
Trial and error is crucial in each and everyone’s wellness journey and all the applications available are there to help us find our balance, not act as our decision-making assistants. No person’s biology is the same and no programme or advice is one-size-fits-all. All of us cannot expect the same outcomes from the same advice, you have to custom-make your own wellness lifestyle. There are ways to learn, adapt and apply what you understand according to your wants and needs. Lastly, not all applications are factual or evidence-based, therefore, always make sure to look at least two or more sources when taking and applying any wellness decision.
Go back to my question, can you maintain or improve your healthy lifestyle without these applications? We need to be aware of all the commercial schemes in and around the health and fitness realm and make sure to keep our minds and its decisions first when it comes to our health, not our phones.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.