According to a survey of users on goal-setting Web site 43 Things, the most popular New Year's resolution for 2011 is to lose weight. (This is Jasmine's utter lack of surprise.) Indeed, many of the top resolutions year after year are health-related. Drink less, get fit, quit smoking, manage stress, be happy, and run a marathon all continually rank high on the list.
Luckily, there is plenty of technology available to help you reach any of those goals. Of course, it would be irresponsible of me to attempt to cover it all in one article; after all, carpal tunnel from hours of scrolling isn't healthy either. So for the time being, we'll focus on eating right and getting in shape.
The first step in bodily maintenance is to do your research. The Internet is a resource of vast proportions, but DON'T believe everything you read--there's a lot of crap out there. Some reputable sources for health and fitness advice include Nutrition.gov, WebMD, and About.com Health. Magazines such as Health & Fitness, Shape, and Fitness also offer Web portals filled with useful--and generally well-researched--information, but be prepared to deal with some heavy-duty ads.
Once familiar with the topic, DO establish a plan of healthy eating and regular physical activity. Once again, the Web is a great source of tools and information, with tons of sites dedicated to planning, cooking, and eating nutritious meals. Simply want to know the nutritional info of a certain food? Check out CalorieKing. For those who want to take things a step further, Livestrong.com hosts The Daily Plate, a free online calorie tracking tool. And of course, there are countless online services that offer everything from meal planning to healthy recipes.
When it comes to fitness, DON'T get burnt out doing the same routine month after month; you'll get better results if you vary your activity anyway. Switch things up with some workout ideas from the aforementioned magazine Web sites, and consider joining a fitness forum where you can gather some insight into what others are doing (and even get motivation). Also, find free exercise videos on Exercise TV and even YouTube (try search terms like "yoga routine" or "ab workout").
Of course, the Internet isn't the only resource a dedicated techie can turn to. DO make full use of your smartphone and download some health and fitness apps. iPhone users can turn to our roundup of Top 5 fitness apps, but the Android OS also supports several apps designed to help you manage your diet and get fit.
Finally, DON'T suffer through workouts in silent boredom. Pick up a gym-worthy MP3 player and fitness-friendly earphones to keep you motivated during cardio and strength routines. Also, DO download a video or three on your mobile device to get you through endurance sessions on the treadmill, stairstepper, or elliptical machine. Hardcore runners should consider Nike+ products, which include tracking software.
Oh, and this isn't tech-related, but it bears mentioning: DO consult with your physician before undertaking any major changes in diet and exercise.
Have tips of your own for using tech to reach health and fitness goals? Please share them in the comment section below.
Last time: Out with the old