American Journal of Medicine, internal medicine, medicine, health, healthy lifestyles, cancer, heart disease, drugs

Fitness & Health Apps: Do They Work? (video)

MsFit Shine

These two screen shots from the iPhone display of the Misfit Shine app show a sharp contrast between weekday activity (1a) and weekend activity (1b). Figure 1a clearly shows the early morning swimming pool cardio followed by a day of sitting at a desk. Figure 1b shows a day of gardening and yardwork—with movement throughout the day. Even with 40 minutes of lap swimming on the weekday, more calories were burned and more steps taken on the yardwork day.

Electronic gadgets make popular gifts. No doubt during this holiday season some of your patients will receive wearable fitness devices as gifts and others will start a New Year’s Resolution fitness regimen with a smartphone app.

A recent article in Forbes claims that most doctors “don’t know what to do with” data that their patients have gathered through wearable fitness devices and applications.

If you’re one of those doctors who is wondering about the benefit of this technology to your patients’ well being, read the review by John P. Higgins, MD, MBA, MPhil in the January 2016 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Higgins discusses the utility of smartphone applications not only for health and fitness but also for monitoring vital signs, and he provides a detailed list of smartphone applications.  Read Higgins’ article here: Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness.

Also in the January issue, AJM Technology Editor Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH, writes a related editorial. In The ‘Springer Gene’: Combating Familial Obesity with Technology and Exercise, Powers Hannley discusses the evolution of her fitness tracking from spreadsheets to wearable devices and smartphone apps. These data may not be of much use to physicians, as Forbes suggests, because of their level of accuracy, but wearables and apps provide users with visual, written and auditory reminders, tracking mechanisms, encouragement, social interaction, and health information.

In the video below, AJM Editor-in-Chief Joseph S. Alpert, MD discusses smartphone apps.

 

 

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