I’ve got two fun-tastic topics to share with you this month, so let’s get started!
Let’s Get Appy!
I get questions about the best fitness apps and tech all the time. So thought I’d share my answers. You may not know about some of these or you just might be an enthusiastic user.
The free Vizer download is a social fitness rewards app that gets you moving, while also fighting hunger. You set a daily activity goal, and when you reach your goal, corporate sponsors donate a meal to a local food pantry. You also earn Vizer points to celebrate your exercise and contribution. Local rewards can be used for merchants in your area. Help others as you move along your own path of health and wellness. When using these apps, be sure you are comfortable with how they will use your fitness data.
LoseIt has had some recent enhancements. In addition to being able to manually track food intake through the app and gain motivation through the connected community, LoseIt now offers food logging using their SnapIt feature (simply take a picture of what you are eating). They also have a new Challenges feature where you can compete with your friends from around the world to close your Activity rings on an Apple Watch. The app is free for the general app and $59.99 for the yearly premium features.
There are many heart-rate monitors, and Myzone is a favorite for many clients I work with. In addition to connecting to a smartphone, it can also connect to other wearable devices and gym equipment. Real-time heart-rate monitoring allows you to view your personal effort live on your smartphone using easy-to-understand Myzone Effort Points (MEPs), which is a five-color, zone-point system. Each zone has MEPs associated with the effort you put into your exercising. This unique point system levels the playing field, allowing you to challenge and motivate your friends through friendly competition, no matter what their fitness level. The accurate heart-rate monitor starts at $89.99, which is comparable to Polar and Garmin monitors. They also have a Bluetooth scale ($69) that automatically records your body-weight measurements inside the Myzone app.
If you know anything about me you know I love to travel and have long felt that a place is best discovered by foot!
Let’s Roam isn’t your traditional fitness app, but it will get you outside, having fun and being active. Think of your traditional scavenger hunt with some extra physical activity included. Their team of global explorers has created exciting experiences (many of them walking-based) in more than 400 cities worldwide.
For example, if you live in San Diego and have yet to tour Old Town (1 mile in less than an hour), the Gas Lamp (1.8 miles in 1.5 hours), or downtown (2.3 miles in two hours), this app will guide you around town, pointing out bits of history and local lore. Consider helping out a local restaurant (a healthy one of course) and plan a post-adventure meal at the end of your hunt to recap your day of fitness. Want a post-COVID adventure in Europe? They have active maps for cities such as Galway, London, Madrid and Rome, and have plans for more cities in 2021. Tours start at $12.99 with an annual pass available for the more adventuresome.
Just in case you want to double-check your Let’s Roam walking distance or calculate a new walking or running route, you can do so using the Footpath app. You can map routes with your finger in a matter of seconds. The app can measure elevation and distance, save offline topographical maps to navigate even without a connection, and provide turn-by-turn directions for your fitness jaunt. This app is free to download with an elite subscription for $3.99 a month or $23.49 for the year.
Remember that not all apps or wearables are created for every person. Do research on your own before spending any money. Be sure that the app or wearable matches up with your wellness and fitness goals!
Updated Nutrition Facts on Labels
Do you read nutrition facts on labels? I do, and of course suggest everyone does. Depending on how keen an observer you are, you may have already noticed some updates on labels. This is all part of the FDA’s ongoing public health efforts to reduce nutrition-related preventable death and disease and to help individuals maintain healthy dietary practices.
Here are the 6 important changes:
1. Serving Sizes Have Been Revised to Better Reflect the Amounts of Food and Drink People Typically Consume
They are not a recommendation for how much a person should consume. For example, the serving size for soda has changed from 8 ounces to 12 ounces not to encourage the consumption of more soda, but instead to better represent how much soda is typically consumed as a single serving. In addition, the declared serving size now appears in a larger and bolder font. If a food package contains an amount that is between one and two servings, such as a 15 ounce can of soup, it is required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume the whole can.
2. The Most Noticeable Change to the Label Is the Larger and Bolder Font Used for Calories
This change makes this information easy to find, which can be very helpful when comparing foods in the store or when keeping track of calories consumed.
3. Because Research Suggests That the Type of Fat Consumed Is More Important Than the Amount of Fat Consumed, “Calories From Fat” Has Been Removed From the Label
• The daily nutritional goal for total fat is 20–35% of total calories.
• Daily saturated fat intake should be less than 10% of total calories.
4. Added Sugars Are Now Required to Appear on the Nutrition Facts Label as a Percent Daily Value and in Grams
This addition to the label aligns with a key focus from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for limiting foods and beverages higher in added sugars, with a recommendation to consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. If you consume more than 10% of calories from added sugars, it is hard to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.
5. Underconsumption of Vitamin D and Potassium Is Considered a Public Health Concern for the General U.S. Population Because an Inadequate Intake Is Associated With Health Concerns
Luckily, ensuring an adequate amount will now be easier with the requirement that potassium and vitamin D appear on the label. Additionally, not only must a percent daily value be provided for vitamin D, potassium, calcium, and iron, but the actual amount must also be provided. Vitamins A and C are no longer required to appear on the label because deficiencies of these nutrients are rare. Also, it is important to note that new scientific evidence has led to higher and lower percent daily values for certain nutrients. For example, the percent daily value for total fat has increased from 65 grams to 78 grams, meaning that if a packaged food contains 40 grams of fat in one serving it would have previously been labeled as 62% of the daily value and now it would be labeled as 51% of the daily value. In addition, added sugars and choline now have percent daily values.
• 5% daily value or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low.
• 20% daily value or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.
6. The Footnote at the Bottom of the Label Has Been Simplified to Better Explain the Meaning of Percent Daily Value
This helps individuals more clearly understand nutrition information in the context of total daily calories consumed.
Reading the nutrition facts label may seem like a daunting task, but it can help you both make informed dietary decisions and avoid nutrition-related health concerns.
Book of the Month Suggestion
In more than 25 years of practice, neurologist Daniel Gibbs had seen many people with Alzheimer’s. And then, he started to notice signs that he might be headed in that direction—and knew he had genetic markers that predisposed him for the disease. In this rare account—written by a knowledgeable person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s—Dr. Gibbs paints a hopeful picture of the path forward for this devastating disease. Learn more here.
Until next month, keep finding Joyinmovement and if you know anyone who would enjoy and benefit from receiving these newsletters, please tell them to sign up here!