It's easy to get behind when you're a busy executive. It's also easy to get a big behind when you're a busy executive. Yes, sitting at a desk all day, flying from city to city, and collapsing on the couch as soon as you get home from back-to-back meetings can all contribute to weight gain and a general feeling of unhealthiness. Oh, and let's not forget the endless vending machine snacking and late work dinners out.
Fortunately, the very technology that is tethering us to our work can also help us to stay in shape. More than 40% of doctors believe that mobile health tech can reduce the number of office visits and more than 80% of doctors currently use smartphone and medical apps in their own practices, according to data released last month from Float Mobile Learning.
With more than 10,000 health care apps on the market distributing an endless amount of free or almost free information, it's clear that smart working professionals should be in much better shape. After all, the most successful business people are often high achievers, constantly looking for better ways to improve their diets and enhance their exercise routines for more energy at the office. However, with so much time spent focusing on work and so little time to homing in on health, it's tough to piece together the perfect mobile solution.
To make better food choices and to put physical activity back on top of your to-do list, here are three apps that can ensure you're ahead on the fitness front.
LoseIt (iOS/Android - FREE)
Most nutritionists and personal trainers will tell you that tracking what you eat and how much you work out is one of the best ways to lose weight and stay healthy. Unfortunately, a paper-based food diary can be a cumbersome method to monitor every snack you have and every step you take. A better answer is LoseIt. This app makes it a cinch to record everything that goes in your mouth, without taking up too much time in your busy day. Just ate a handful of almonds? This mobile download will tell you that 10 of these tasty treats have 69 calories (and it will break down the carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, and more). If you have a weight-loss goal, just enter that number into the app and LoseIt will calculate your daily caloric allowance. The more exercise you do (which you must also track), the more calories the app will "give" you back. If you want to share your LoseIt progress, you can output daily reports (or just keep all your great progress to yourself!).
Fooducate (iOS/Android - FREE)
It's easy to make bad food decisions when you're rushing around all day, trying to keep up with a nonstop schedule. Sometimes reaching for that Kashi Protein & Fiber Bar tin your desk might seem like a smart and healthy choice, but you may not know that the Chocolate Almond Toffee variety gets a "D" food grade. Based on the Fooducate app, this product has more than 20% of your daily saturated fat allowance (which, according to information also supplied in this tool, is responsible for bad cholesterol buildup). Instead of making poor food choices, use this app to automatically scan a barcode when you're shopping for snacks or looking for lunchtime meals or simply do a product search from within the tool. Not only will the app give you the food information you're searching for, it will also provide healthier recommendations so you can eat better when you're on the run.
P90X (iPhone, $4.99)
If you're looking for an intense way to get fit, the P90X exercise routine is getting a lot of mainstream buzz. This new app includes a day-by-day schedule for the popular 90-day home workout program. There are detailed photos and videos to show you how to do each exercise correctly, and a colourful journal to ensure you're meeting your fitness and diet goals. While this program can be done at home or on the road, there is a significant time commitment of an hour per workout. For business professionals looking at something a little less intense, on the other end of the spectrum is the newly updated Lastics Office Stretch app (iOS/Android - 99 cents). This digital download, which also provides step-by-step videos, is ideal for anyone looking for two- to four-minute stretches that are easily done at the office. This is the perfect mobile companion for anyone who needs a short break from staring at a computer screen or who is stuck on conference calls all day.
[Image: Flickr user Séan Venn]