Tech-Supported Wellness Apps with multimedia content and tracking features help foster your well-being. App-titude
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App-titude  |   May 01, 2014
Tech-Supported Wellness
Author Notes
  • Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Mass., and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” ■sean@speechtechie.com
    Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Mass., and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” ■sean@speechtechie.com×
Article Information
Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / App-titude
App-titude   |   May 01, 2014
Tech-Supported Wellness
The ASHA Leader, May 2014, Vol. 19, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.19052014.34
The ASHA Leader, May 2014, Vol. 19, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.19052014.34
When it comes to wellness and technology, it’s all about content and counting! The advent of true mobile technology allows us to access health-related content and keep track of our goals anytime, anywhere.
The ability to package any content—images, text, audio, video—and data-keeping functions in the palms of our hands has led developers to create apps targeting many aspects of wellness. Apps can help you develop your goals of eating better, reducing stress, exercising more and stimulating learning. And, of course, all these steps can help you be a better and happier clinician.
Emotional wellness
Recent evidence supports the benefits of mindfulness—the practice of tuning in to our own thoughts, feelings and surroundings—for improving well-being and addressing conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to chronic pain. You don’t need a meditation studio to begin to access these strategies, as a number of apps can bring digital coaching directly to you.
Stop, Breathe and Think (free for iOS) is a great example of an app that provides appealing visual and audio content to promote relaxation and emotional intelligence and that also tracks daily emotional states. The app’s broad target audience—middle school through adult—also makes this app potentially useful for SLPs working with students with social skills objectives.
Buddhify 2 ($2.99 for iOS also available samples and audio files for Android) is my go-to app for hacking my brain. With simple activities you can do anywhere—such as “Tag,” in which you mentally note different sensory experiences—the app teaches practical thinking strategies for awareness and calming. Many other apps in this realm are available for both iOS and Android, so search away to find one that might work for you.
Physical wellness
Many apps provide instruction on exercise and healthy eating, two areas that are on many people’s to-do lists. Having on-the-go guidance and tracking capabilities for workouts and food consumption can support more time spent off the couch. Not much time to work out? Recent research supports the benefits of intense, short periods of exercise.
Johnson & Johnson’s free 7 Minute Workout app compiles 1,000 workout routines, video guidance, and tracking and sharing features created by an exercise physiologist.
If you are looking to reinforce simpler exercise activities, try Human: Make Moving Fun (free for iOS). This app uses the movement detector of the iPhone or iPad to automatically record physical activity such as walking, running or bike riding and report your efforts for the day.
The days of needing a specialized cookbook to change your eating habits are long gone. Spark Recipes (free for iOS and Android) provides access to the more than 450,000 healthy concoctions on the website of the same name, along with searchable information by calorie or carb count and prep time. Want help documenting those calories? My Fitness Pal has a well-regarded tracker that allows you to pull from an extensive food database for quick data-taking (free for iOS and Android).
Healthy eating is not only a foundation SLPs can help to lay with their students, but also a categorical and sequential context for developing language skills. Smash Your Food is a fun interactive website and app for learning about healthy eating through game play; the activities also can provide a context for language activities (for laptop, desktop or Android; $2.99 for iOS).
Intellectual wellness
Not least of all, apps can stimulate our own desire for lifelong learning by streamlining and facilitating access to relevant educational content. Zite (free for iOS and Android) is one of many magazine-like newsreaders that compile well-regarded sources of information on any topic of interest. Like Pandora, you can make your experience with the app improve over time by rating the articles you receive. (Note that Zite was recently acquired by Flipboard and Zite’s features will be incorporated into Flipboard.) For an even more structured experience, iTunes U (available via free iOS app or the iTunes application on Mac or PC) provides free access to videos, books, lectures and other content collected within the context of courses created by educators from many disciplines, institutions and organizations.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
May 2014
Volume 19, Issue 5