Your smartphone addiction could actually be good for you!
Post Date
13th June 2014
Your smartphone addiction could actually be good for you!

The common wisdom is that our reliance on technology – and smartphones in particular – will lead us all to our doom!

But there’s another school of thought to suggest that ‘an app a day’ may be replacing ‘an apple a day’ as our shortcut to good health. Just Another Mother blogger, Rowena Newman, weighs up the arguments.

Some things come into your life and change you forever.  Once you’ve made the transition you can’t remember what your life was like before.

When I say that, I’m thinking of my first car and how liberated I was from the shackles of public transport. And my children, to whom I am forever indebted, for releasing me from the very boring chore of weekend sleep-ins.  Cue yawn. 

If it wasn’t for them I would be oblivious to the amount of fun that can be squeezed into the four hours between 5am and 9am on a Saturday morning. 

Accumulated over the course of a lifetime, they will be able to take credit for more than two years worth of pillow fights, fire alarm drills and haggling practice. Thanks to them, I am a changed woman.

Enter the smartphone. It wasn’t that long ago that every family fought over the one humble phone with a funny tangly cord that plugged into the living room wall – but now look at them. They could almost run a small country (and most likely do).

Now, with sleek and stylish smartphone held firmly in hand, I have no more need for multiple phone calls to plan dates with friends. It’s just: ring me when you get there.

There’s no more stopping at the lights to check my Gregory’s and work out where I’m going. No more leaving my emails at work where they belong.  And no more clear geographic boundary between working persona (who sends sensible and well-thought out emails during the day) and sleep-deprived mama (who sends random jumbled responses to all in the middle of the night).

Yes…the little devil is addictive. And possibly takes the place of my brain on many occasions, much the way that same as the spell check has dun fr spilling.

It’s a one-stop shop for music, maps, camera, calendars, texts, social media, newsfeeds, photos, video and – oh, yes – the odd telephone call.

It’s hard to get cranky with the kids for too much screen time when you’re busy checking your emails, share prices and pulling up a recipe at the same time.

But…and it’s a good ‘but’… now I've learned that the computing power of the smartphone can be used for good (by which I mean my mental and physical health) rather than just plain evil (checking facebook during meetings).

I have to admit that I did start to panic when I saw myself in a statistic about the vast number of people for whom the smartphone is the last thing they touch before they go to sleep and the first thing they touch when the wake up. Yikes.

But, just when I thought I might have to perform a phone intervention and reduce the amount of time spent with my little mate, it turns out it’s my own personal health guru! Woohoo!  

A tiny bit of online exploring and I’ve uncovered a mine of smartphone apps and related devices that can turn your phone into your best training buddy.

  • Airsonea is a digital device that hooks up with an app on your smartphone to give you a personal and portable asthma monitor. It measures breathing throughout the day and keeps track of wheezes, sharing the information with other family members or your doctor, as you prefer. It’s a particularly great way to keep an eye on kids with asthma, even as they sleep during the night, and can give you an idea of how you – or someone else in your family – are responding to medication.
  • AliveCor is a personal heart monitor. The device records your heart rate through your fingertips or your chest wall and converts the electrical into ultrasound signals which are transmitted to your smartphone’s microphone. It’s great for anyone who likes to keep a close eye on their health, but especially for those with known heart conditions.
  • Map My Walk is an app that works with the GPS built into your smartphone to keep track of how long you’ve walked, what distance you’ve covered, how far you’ve been going, how many hills you’ve climbed and how many kilojoules you’ve burned along the way. There are also variations for cycling and running.
  • Pocket Yoga is an illustrated guide to yoga poses (including how to do them and what benefits you’ll be getting form them) and complete yoga sessions. Suddenly you’re free to do your yoga whenever and wherever you are – including business trips!
  • BrainyApp is a free app created by Alzheimer's Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation. Your first step is to take a survey to assess your ‘brain health’, then in the days and weeks ahead you can complete various brain games and activities and track how your mental capacity is expanding. Anyway, it’s always a good idea to exercise your noggin. Which brings us back full circle.

So, with all that in mind, my best buddy iPhone and I are going out tonight to celebrate our partnership in good health.

Might start with a yoga stretch, map tomorrow’s morning walk and then do some brain gymnastics, just to keep in shape.

I’ve got an iPhone in my hand and I’m not afraid to show it. Show it. Show it. I’m healthy and I know it!



Rowena- Just Another Mother