Personal Automation Hack #15: Use a health & fitness app

Much like Hack #16, hack number 15 seems to be a bit of no-brainer as well.

Use a health & fitness app.

Not only will help to improve your physical and mental well-being, it’s an area that’s prime for your personal automation.

The great news is that you’re likely already using a health & fitness app. Even if you’re not using a dedicated app chances are that your smart watch or phone is probably recording this data for you (however scary that may sound). If you’re in the Apple camp your iOS Health or if you’re an Android User use Fit to see what’s being recorded. Even if you’re just tracking movement and sleep you’re off to a good start.

From there you can start simply use an app to track your walks or runs (one of the few things that most of us are able to do during this pandemic). Some of our recommended apps are below. Try to use a broader app where you can keep a log food diary. Myfitnesspal is one of the best apps with a huge database of food items to easily log and track food & drink consumption. It has a handy built-in barcode scanner that makes it super-easy to scan and log any packaged food consumption.

From that point there’s some easy automation triggers and commands you can implement. Logging your runs, walks or rides can be logged automatically with your chosen app. Tracking your weight can also be largely automated if you have the right scales at home.

Strangely, no app really automates logging food really well. Alexa has a couple of skills which allows you to log water and basic calorie consumption into Myfitnesspal but doesn’t allow to use natural language such as “Alexa, add an apple to my food diary”. Myfitnesspal are oddly mute in this area (pardon the pun).

Some of our recommendations:

Myfitnesspal – We’ve been big fans (if you can’t tell) and users of Myfitnesspal for over ten years. From our experience and continued testing of other apps Myfitesspal continues to lead in terms of how wide and deep its food database is and recently (likely due to its acquisition by Under Armor) it’s integrating a lot more content the app. It could do with a bit of an update of its UI, admittendly.

Nike Run Club – This is another app we’ve been using for decades, especially seeing with Nike+ it was the first to combine a pedometer with the iPhone. Now that it’s evolved from that the Nike Run Club has gone from strength to strength with its features and capabilities.

Strava – A veteran app for runners, Strava excels at tracking runs and rides off-trail, also monitoring altitude. This is for serious hiker, runner, rider who wants to connect with their tribe.

iOS Health – Again a no-brainer as more likely than not this app is tracking your activity, especially if you’re wearing an Apple Watch.

Whatever your choice, automating your actions (literally) from your fitness app to your personalisation platform will make your life a lot healthier and happier.

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