If there is one item we carry with us at all times, it’s our beloved smartphone. Whether at work, at home, in the bed, or even while we respond to nature on the toilet, it seems there is no place we can separate ourselves from our phones any more.
While excessive phone use has been linked to many health issues, it can be used as a positive force for our health. Like Apple’s famous marketing slogan tells us, “there’s an app for that”, specifically, for improving our fitness, posture, and overall well being in the office place.
In this article I go over my top 5 favorite iOS and Android health apps anyone who spends a lot of time in the office should have in their phones. They remind us to stretch, show us helpful exercise routines that can be done right next to our desks, and teach us the proper way to set up our workspace for ergonomics. Lets get started!
- Platform(s): iOS
- Cost: $2.99, one time cost
Did you know that according to medical researchers, in a study performed on rhesus monkeys and replicated for humans, elongated periods of sitting decreases the body’s ability to bear loads and handle power movements in the joints by 39% and 32%, respectively. In fact, it is recommended that you stand every 20-30 minutes in order to keep your blood flowing and avoid stiff joints and/or muscles.
The Stretch app is here to make sure you get your butt out of your office chair. In fact, you can set reminders for when you get up, in as short of intervals as every minute! Other features of the app include:
- A library containing 40 office-friendly stretches for every body part
- Non-intrusive break reminder
- Simple to use interface and high quality videos
- Ability to link up to your MacBook to show real-time mouse clicks, keyboard typing times, and computer usage
- Customizable break times and sounds.
The cost of the app is low and only a one-time fee.
2. 5 Minute Yoga Workouts
Maybe you are just not a fitness person, with something slower pace like yoga more your scene. That’s okay! 5 Minute Yoga Workouts is an animated app that guides you through yoga routines that can all be performed in just 5 minutes. Yoga throughout the day can help to alleviate cramped muscles and get your blood flowing again. This helps to avoid muscle strain and discomfort, and keep you working at your top level!
Other features of the app include:
- Suggested yoga workouts rooted in exercise science studies
- Daily workout routines
- All yoga sessions are accompanied with simple, clear text instructions along with graphic
- Timer to take guess out of how long to perform each routine.
3. Office Ergonomics
- Platform(s): iOS
- Cost: free
- You can download it here!
Sometimes, our office is not primed for exercise. This can be for a multitude of reasons: not enough space, too much clutter, or there’s simply not enough time during your shift for a quick stretch. However, there is always the option to change your workplace environment in order to reduce the risk of intramuscular disease that normally occurs due to inactivity.
The Office Ergonomics app shows you the ideal set up for your own office, based on your preferences and office space. It includes step-by-step graphics that quickly help you to optimize the best seated positions, keyboard placements, and more to ensure that your office ergonomics are top-notch. You can even request a follow-up to any adjustment you make, just in case you ever think about changing it.
Plus, the app is free! So you can have a better back at no additional cost.
4. Fittbe Daily Pilates Workouts
- Platform(s): iOS, Android
- Cost: 1 week free trial ($1.99/mon after)
Everyone knows about strength training and yoga for better muscles and flexibility, but what about Pilates? Pilates is becoming the new fitness sensation, and this app is definitely geared towards getting you there as quickly as possible — even from the comfort of your chair!
The app is still in its new stages, but that’s all the more reason to jump on it. It takes you through a huge library of video-taught exercises aimed to improve your core strength and, therefore, improve your overall posture. They recommend 3-4 exercise videos per day, and don’t worry: you can repeat them!
5. 20-20-20 Rest Your Eyes App
- Platform(s): Web
- Cost: Free
- Access the app here
Computers and mobile devices have our eyes working overtime every day, causing eye strains, headaches, and even possibly myopia in young kids.
Developed by Jon Muller at ErgonomicTrends.com, 20-20-20 is an online app that reminds you to rest your eyes every 20 minutes, by looking 20 feet into the distance for 20 seconds each time. The 20-20-20 rule was developed by doctors as an effective way to relax and refocus your eyes daily as you work.
As you can see, whether you are an Apple or Android fan, there is no excuse to load your phone up with a couple of these health apps, and start using your phone to improve your health.