Newsbrief: Smartphones can help your health

by Ashley LaBounty
edited by Whitney Dowds

Your smartphone can help keep you safe in emergencies and benefit your health with new apps.



A recent article in The New York Times has pointed out that makers of smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy models, and iPhone models have been building and creating health and safety feature apps to help track physical fitness activity such as steps, distance traveled, and stairs climbed, track nutritional info. They also provide set up medical ID information and even help track your family members if needed, as well as dial 911 with voice command.

Most smartphones now are equipped with motion sensors and a GPS that can measure physical activity of running, walking, and climbing stairs. For iPhone, the Health app can track fitness with no set up necessary, as long as you have your phone in your hand, or a clothing pocket.

Dani Turner of Bellow Falls, VT said, referring to the health app on her phone, “I looked at it once but it doesn’t really serve me any purpose. Or I just don’t know how it works.”

For Samsung Galaxy phones, the S Health, which is their version of a health app, can track fitness activity after setting it up for the first time. The app also measures heart rate. You can punch in nutritional and diet information in these apps.

However, as useful as the health apps can be, some people don’t like them. Junior Darby Winkler said, “I don’t think fitness tracking apps are all that helpful because they are not always on you, and they do not always know when your muscles are actually contracting, so I don’t use them.”

Both Androids and iPhones have voice activated 911. On iPhone models you can activate Siri and use it to call and get medical help faster. Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy models now have Google Now. By simply saying “O.K. Google,” you can activate the the feature so you can tell your phone to dial 911.

The Health app of the iPhone also has some cool features that the Samsung models do not. There is a medical alert bracelet feature in the app. If you enter your medical emergency info, and make sure you enable the button to show even when the phone is locked, emergency workers will be able to access your medical info.

Another cool feature iPhone has is being able to track family members by the Find My iPhone app, as long as they have their location services on. These phones also have apps such as Find My Friends, and Family Sharing which do similar location tasks.

Check out the multi-media version of this article, that has tutorials on how to use the apps!

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