By Chris David
The flu, the common cold, strep throat, H1N1, SARS, MERS… and now the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Oh my. Fortunately, we live in a world interconnected by technology. We have more options to get things done, without ever having to step a foot outside. We can work from home and order many essentials online. And when we do have to hit the road and go to a public place, we can use technology and smartphones to make our interactions easier and safer. Here are eight tips to help you stay healthy and fit.
Clean your phone screen and case
At least twice a day, clean your phone and other electronics using a cotton cloth or disposable soft wipe, with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. Using cotton or a soft wipe will ensure that you don’t damage the screen. Clean the whole phone, front and back, screen and case. Don’t get it too wet of course… just use enough solvent to get the cloth or wipe slightly damp. After cleaning, wash or dispose of the cloth/wipe and then wash your hands.
Share your grocery shopping lists to family and friends
Cut down on trips to the store. Create an online grocery list using an app like Google Keep, Google Docs, Microsoft To Do or Wanderlist. Share your list to family, so if they stop by the store, they can see on their phone all the items you need for the family.
Get a good workout app
Many gyms could be closed during public health emergencies. But this doesn’t have to stop you from staying in shape! In fact, to avoid getting sick, you’ll want to keep fit and pump that iron. Use a smartphone app like Seven Minute Workout, Darebee Pocket Workouts or Sarah Beth Yoga to plan your activities. These apps will let you plan workouts based on difficulty, available equipment and time. Some of the best workouts can be performed using just your bodyweight and a chair! You can also check out the YouTube app for more inspiration and workout programs.
Make fewer trips to public spaces… plan your routes using Google Maps
Need to get gas, drop the kids off, stop by the store, go to work and pick up your package at the post office? Minimize your chances for infection by combining trips and going out less. Google Maps or OpenStreetMap will help you find the best way to connect the dots. You can also order food via Google Maps, or through other services like Grab and GrubHub.
Configure your phone to receive emergency broadcast messages
Ensure you are notified in the case that local authorities send out an emergency cell broadcast message. All phones and operating systems will handle this differently. So find your phone settings and make sure you are signed up to receive broadcast messages. If you are roaming, you may also have to enable additional options to receive the messages.
Set an app to motivate you to get outside for walks and bike rides
You might be self-quarantined or feeling slightly unwell, but this doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors and miserable. Talk a walk or bike ride in the great outdoors! Getting some steps or pedal strokes in will perk up your mood and get your blood pumping… an ideal way to spend time if you want to stay/get healthy. Services like Runkeeper and Strava will let you track your activities and schedule reminders to get you up and moving.
Make sure you don’t spend too much time online
Part of staying healthy is your mental health. A smart person keeps up on the news, but the media hypes everything to the maximum degree. If you watch the news for too long, you’ll think the world is ending… And staying glued to your smartphone and TV all day for the latest updates will take a mental toll.
Make sure you balance your news/app/tech time with real life. Choose a timer, like your phone clock app, Pomodoro timer or for Samsung owners, the Samsung digital “well being” app. Apps like Youtube can be configured to remind you to take breaks or tell you when you’ve been spending too much time online. Even Windows 10 includes built-in alarms and timers that you can use to control your technology usage. Also check out the Time Sense app for Win10, which will help you track your screen time.
Use Messenger Video Chat, Facetime or Whatsapp to keep in touch with friends and family
If you are sick, feeling unwell or under self-quarantine, you can still spend time with friends and family. Use a video chat app on your phone or tablet, and it will seem like you are together in the same room. Play a game, tell stories, share frustrations, sing a song, plan your next great adventure… All thanks to modern technology!
Can you think of anything else?
Can you think of any other ideas to use technology better during health crises and uncertain times? Share them in the comments below.