National Health Journal, “No Time! Exercise like a Two Year Old!”
Mind Body Green “It’s Not Stress That Kills You: It’s How You Handle It”
Polly Cambell “Uncover the Source of Self-Sabotage”
Ian Welch “8 Plants that Starve Fat Cells”
Plantation Dentists “15 Ways to Exercise as a Family“
Most of us don’t have the resources or the time to work with personal trainers or nutrition experts to get us eating right, shaping up, and losing weight. We do, however, have the Internet—an incredible resource for finding free expert resources specific to our personal needs, including online tools that make healthier living easier to accomplish (including apps that can be downloaded to smartphones).
Food and Nutrition
Although the NutritionData.com website is affiliated with Self magazine, its information is equally valuable to men and women. This is the place to learn about nutrients in the food we eat and which foods have the highest nutritional value. Tested recipes help achieve nutritional goals. The database (largely sourced from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference) has information on thousands of foods.
Other key features are a nutrition blog and plenty of online tools that compare the nutritional value of foods, search for foods with specific nutrients, and establish dietary goals. The daily-needs calculator is handy for determining individual daily nutrition and calorie needs.
Epicurious is all about food, recipes, and menu planning. Affiliated with Bon Appétit magazine, it advertises itself as a website for “people who love to eat.” Recipes are usually creative and challenging—but not necessarily time-consuming. Check out the “quick-and-easy” options.
Links go from the most basic “how to cook” to “around the world in 80 dishes.” Recipe guides come with instructional videos.
World’s Healthiest Foods is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to sharing a vast database of science-based nutritional information for fruits and vegetables. Other features include links to the 127 healthiest foods, essential nutrients, recipe of the week, food of the week, in-home cooking demo, and a seven-day menu plan for renewed vigor and energy.
The food advisor questionnaire is a helpful tool that analyzes personal nutritional status, identifies nutritional deficiencies, and recommends foods and recipes to bring the body back into balance. Four-day meal planners for people with specific health conditions are also available.
Weight Watchers is well known as an effective way to lose weight. Its mobile app, however, provides just a few basic services, such as a point system for tracking food, success stories, and featured recipes. Each food consumed during the day is given a point value; the objective is to stay within a certain point total for the day.
To go beyond these minimal functions and tap into more useful tools (such as a searchable database of more than 30,000 foods), users must pay a monthly fee to Weight Watchers Online.
Plenty of free apps provide these tools for free.
This website/smartphone app makes counting calories easy. The core of the program is a comprehensive database on more than 2.3 million foods and restaurant items, along with an easy-to-use food journal. Users can add foods at any time, including their own recipes. A built-in application uses a smartphone’s camera as a barcode scanner to read UPC codes on food items and access the related information from the database.
Discussion forums allow users to connect with each other, share goals and experiences, and make new friends around the world..
Fitness and Training
Joining Step Forward provides access to online tools that track fitness activities, medications and supplements, sleep, and water intake. The site is continuing to build its food database and encourages users for suggestions. The limited food database can be frustrating, however—for example, there was no listing for string cheese at the time of this writing. For the typical American, the site is probably useful. However, if you are an informed consumer, or eat specialty foods or follow a restricted diet, this website will likely be inadequate for your needs.
Also, for the sleep function, hours cannot be logged in half-hour increments; this makes sleep totals inaccurate, especially for weekly or monthly totals.
This site provides web-based programs, tools, and resources for individuals, families, groups, and communities, including informative articles and blogs. Food and exercise can be tracked, although entering data can be cumbersome. Many of tools are fact sheets with basic information. Interactive tools don’t go much beyond step trackers.
Unfortunately, this is a boring site. It is certainly well-intentioned for improving eating and exercise habits, and provides solid information; however, the site lacks creativity and visual stimulation and tends to be slow. In its present state it can’t compete with what already exists.
This smartphone app will track your running, cycling, or other physical activities. It’s easy to calculate your route on a map and monitor key metrics such as distance, time, speed, average speed, altitude, and heart rate. Voice alerts can also be programmed to announce performance milestones or reminders. Other Endomondo users can also words of encouragement during your run. Users can also take a previous workout as a goal and access the audio coach to help them beat it.
On the downside, online reviews say you can’t control the playlist while listening to your iPod.
SportyPal is a mapping tool that tracks route, position, speed, distance, elevation, and calories expended. Performance stats can also be generated on maps and graphs, including total time, distance, and maximum speed. Users can still listen to music, make or receive phone calls, or send and receive messages on their smartphones while using the application. A community feature allows users to post results, follow other members, and get new workout ideas.
Cyclists have noted that SportyPal consumes too much battery power on longer rides, sometimes necessitating shutting down the program in order to maintain phone capability. Incoming phone calls and texts may also interfere with tracking. Some users have also recently reported pop-up ads that clutter their screen.
CardioTrainer allows you to track all your indoor and outdoor fitness activity. Functions include counting calories burned, plotting your course, counting steps, and monitoring heart rate. The program will automatically pause when you stop moving, as at a crosswalk or stoplight. Voice feedback provides real-time information on distance, time, pace, and calories burned. It’s easy to post your numbers and compare your results with other users around the world.
For a fee of $2.99 each, other functions can be added, such as setting up a weight-loss plan or a program for competing against your best times. Although CardioTrainer has received generally solid reviews online, a number of complaints have been made about GPS and audio/music malfunctions.
This site enables users to track their fitness and nutrition programs. Members start by opening a calorie tracker account, reviewing the plentiful articles and videos, and designing a personal weight-loss or fitness program. Online tools for calorie deficit, weight-loss target date, body fat percentage, body mass index, basal metabolic rate, and calories burned help determine baseline numbers for tracking progress. Blog entries are well written.
A body-building and weight-training section provides access to training, nutrition, and cardiovascular fitness materials by experts such as Holly Rigsby and Tom Venuto. Titles include “Ten Ways to Exercise at Home with No Equipment.”
This “global fitness community” offers a vast selection of exercises, articles, and recipes. Many of the everyday exercises can be done around the house without special equipment. Detailed instructions and pictures are provided for each exercise step, making it easy to create customized workout programs.
Other features include sample recipes and exercise videos. In addition to the standard calculators for body mass index and basal metabolic rate, online tools include a five-minute fitness test, 12-minute run test, hidden carb finder, and Greek proportions—which determines your ideal physical measurements based on the ancient Golden Ratio.
Serious runners use RunKeeper to chart routes and monitor and track their running activities and metrics, including speed and distance progress over time. These data can be stored and analyzed to improve workouts and establish new goals. The program utilizes the GPS function in smartphones to provide accurate data regarding pace, distance, time, and calories burned.
Built-in audio cues through the headphones provide stats, updates, and coaching during runs. Weight can also be updated to keep “calories burned” as accurate as possible. Detailed reports showing trends in key metrics during individual runs as well as over time can be accessed. RunKeeper is also an ideal app for walking, hiking, and biking.
Medicine and Health
This website has an abundance of information. “Health A-Z” and “Drugs A-Z” are loaded with links that connect readers with articles, recipes, and other key sources of information. Other sections of the website are a symptom checker, food and fitness advice, and groups with live discussions.
Online tools include a recipe box, meal planner, pollen counter, and calculators for body mass index and body fat. There are plenty of free apps too, such as tracking health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A stroll through this website, which calls itself “the world’s largest health community,” reveals a wealth of articles, advice, forums and discussion groups, and success stories regarding healthy living. Healthy living groups focus on male health, female health, nutrition, parenting, pregnancy, senior care, and weight loss.
If you are looking for health-related smartphone apps, this is the place to start. Nearly 100 applications are available—these include a drug-interaction checker and trackers for food, weight, mood, sleep, ovulation, exercise, and pain.
In addition to in-depth materials on a wide variety of health topics, this popular website provides a wealth of valuable information on healthy living, nutrition, food, and recipes. For example, the online “food and fitness planner” tool helps users customize a health plan, record diet and fitness activities, and track results.
Other tools and applications provide nutrition facts, assess diet, and calculate body mass index. The unique portion-size plate tool shows size equivalents for more than 70 common foods to help manage serving sizes. Smartphone applications for drug data and WebMD magazine are also available.
Mesothelioma Treatment Community is dedicated to the assistance and guidance of asbestos and mesothelioma victims around the world.
The Mesothelioma Group has published an informative guide to understanding cancer. This group also donates to local charities and provides scholarships to people who suffer from cancer and their families.
Provides the latest Mesothelioma treatments, information, resources and information about the Asbestos trust fund.
Helps children battle and overcome cancer.
Provides resources to help patients and their loved ones so that they may stay on the road to recovery, and can successfully overcome addiction for life.
A government website where you will find information and tools to help you and those you care about stay healthy.
A new but growing online community and learning hub for smokers in search of inspiration and information.
A health guide to vaping.
For over 100 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has worked relentlessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer. Together with millions of our supporters worldwide, we help people stay well and get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer.
An online resource to help people recovering from addiction to regain control of their nutrition that has suffered negative effects due to drugs/alcohol.
From the January/February 2013 issue of JACA Online, the journal of the American Chiropractic Association.