Glow, Menstrual Cycle Tracker: App Review

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This time I’ve been testing Glow, a menstrual cycle and fertility calculator.

Glow Ovulation Tracker Review


App Name: Glow Ovulation Calculator

Platform: Android (Google Play), iOS (iTunes)

Cost: Free on Android and iOS

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.1 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Glow is the world’s best ovulation calculator, period and fertility tracker. Glow’s menstrual and ovulation calculator help women learn about their fertility, whether avoiding or attempting pregnancy. Glow is a ovulation calculator that also records your period, mood, symptoms, sex, and medications, and assists those undergoing fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.

Winner of 2014 Webby for best Health & Fitness app, Glow is an elegant, data-driven ovulation calculator and period tracker designed to help you take control of your reproductive health.”

Glow   Ovulation Calculator – Android Apps on Google Play

 

What I say:
Pluses:

+ Can be used to aid or prevent conception, or just to monitor your cycle.

+ Very easy to use.

+ Option to track a lot of data, including your mood, physical symptoms, temperature, exercise and sleep.

+ Notifications when you are due to ovulate and when your period is due to start.

+ Helpful daily health tips and reminders.

+ Fairly active and supportive community.

 

 

 Minuses:

– Some of the tips and insights are a bit obvious.

– You need to log daily for it to be most effective.

– There’s a small bias towards encouraging conception, which can get a bit annoying.

 

Glow   Ovulation Calculator – Android Apps on Google Play

The bottom line: 

If you are want to feel more informed and in control about your menstrual cycle, this is the app for you!  It is easy to use and very informative.  I highly recommend it.  Download it from Google Play  or iTunes.

Your Laptop is Wrecking Your Posture…Here’s How To Fix It

Do you work at a laptop?  How often do you get to the end of the day with tired, aching shoulders and a headache?

Fix your Laptop posture

Laptops were designed with portability rather than ergonomics in mind so they are really not great for your body.  They force you to slouch forwards and tilt your head down to see the screen.  The track pad makes you turn your arm inwards, further encouraging you to slump forwards. Carrying your computer from place to place can put extra strain on your shoulders, especially if you use a shoulder bag rather than a backpack.

Luckily there’s plenty you can do to make laptops more posture friendly – here are some ideas:

 

– Use a peripheral mouse instead of the track pad.

– Use a peripheral keyboard.

– Put your laptop on a box or stand to raise the height of the screen.

– Use a peripheral screen.

– Take a break from work every hour (get up from the desk and move around!).

– If you have to carry your laptop around, choose a light model and carry it in a back pack.

 

 

Stretch Your Back – Child’s Pose

If you have ever done yoga before you have probably done this stretch.  I think it is just lovely – relaxing, easy to do and very soothing for tight, stiff backs.

childs pose - an easy and gentle back stretch

1. Start in a kneeling position.
2. Stretch forwards and down, allowing your forehead to rest on the floor with your arms outstretched ahead of you.
3. Rest your buttocks onto your heels if you can.
4. Breathe slowly and deeply. With each out breath allow your spine to relax and elongate.
5. Remain in this position for 10 breaths.
Notes:

Keep breathing normally while you exercise. Do not hold your breath.

Move gently and slowly. Exercises should not hurt.

If an exercise becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform exercises which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.

Download a pdf of this stretch ▶

 

If you suffer with back pain, Osteopathy may help you! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to find out more or to book an appointment at my East London clinic.

 

Weekend Reads: April. Personality Tests, Popping Knuckles and Parkour

Welcome to the end of April!  How has your month been?  Are you looking forward to the bank holiday weekend?

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.

 

1.  A surprisingly accurate personality test – although it did say I’d make a good accountant so don’t trust it too much.

2. A 1000 year old Anglo Saxon remedy killed MRSA – Fascinating!

3. Looking for a new hobby? Beginner’s guide to Parkour

4. Why do your knuckles pop?

5. What happens when one identical twin exercises and the other doesn’t?

“Identical twins in Finland who shared the same sports and other physical activities as youngsters but different exercise habits as adults soon developed quite different bodies and brains, according to a fascinating new study that highlights the extent to which exercise shapes our health, even in people who have identical genes and nurturing.”

 

What I’ve Been Up To

 

I went to see the excellent Marcus Bonfanti at the Rose and Crown in Walthamstow.

Marcus Bonfanti Poster

Enjoyed  a day trips to Brighton and Colchester.  Did you know that with a group ticket you can go to Brighton and back for £7? What a bargain.

Looked after a cat for a week.  This is Daisy:

Daisy the Cat

And I made a pin cushion in a tea cup with my friend Make, Thrift London

pincushionlogo

 

 

Listening to: Marcus Bonfanti – Devil Girl

What have you done this month?

Health App Review: NHS Health and Symptom Checker

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This month I’m reviewing NHS Health and Symptom checker.



App Name: NHS Health and Symptom checker

Platform: Android (Google Play), iOS (iTunes)

Cost: Free on Android and iOS

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.1 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Our NHS Health and Symptom checker app allows you to check your symptoms if you’re feeling unwell. You can get an assessment, information about your condition and advice on how to look after yourself.

Getting health advice really couldn’t be easier! Simply work through one of our clinically tested health assessment tools by selecting your symptoms and answering some short questions about how you’re feeling.

Once you’ve finished, we’ll instantly give you advice on the best course of action and, if you can look after yourself at home, we’ll tell you how.”

 

 

What I say:

This app is just a link to the NHS website.  I can’t see the point in it.  You may as well go straight to the NHS website or google whatever you want to know.

 

Pluses:

+Handy link to the NHS website.

 

 Minuses:

– It doesn’t really do anything.

– You could just go straight to the website.

-Waste of space on your phone.

 

 

The bottom line: 

Don’t bother with this one.

How High Should My Computer Screen Be?

Having your screen too low makes it impossible to maintain good posture.  In order to see clearly you are forced to slouch over your desk, putting pressure on the muscles of your neck and shoulders.

How high should my screen be?

To get your screen at the right height just follow these steps:

 

1. Sit at your computer chair.  Bend your elbows.  Adjust your chair height so that your elbows are level with the top of your desk.

 

2. Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you.

 

3. The centre of your screen should be at eye level.  Your screen might be adjustable, in which case simply raise it up to the appropriate height.  If it isn’t adjustable you can place it on some boxes, books or reams of paper.  For a cleaner look you can buy special screen risers- 1, 2, 3.

Relieve Tension in your Head and Neck

Here’s a bit of self treatment to relieve tension and stiffness in your neck.  This technique can also be useful for tension headaches.  You will need a friend/glamorous assistant to help you.

home-tt-neck-tension

1. Lay down somewhere comfortable.  Rest your head on a small pillow or folded towel.

2. Ask your friend to kneel behind you and place their hands softly on the back of your neck.  See the image above for reference.

3. They should gently cup the base of your head in their hands and use their finger tips to press into the muscles at the top of your neck.

4. Rest in this position for 30 seconds or so.  It may feel a little sore at first, but keep your head nice and relaxed and the discomfort will slowly fade away.

 

Notes:

Keep breathing normally. Do not hold your breath.

If you start to feel nauseous or dizzy STOP this technique immediately. 

Do not allow your head or neck to bend backwards.  

Only perform exercises/self treatment techniques which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.

Download a pdf of this technique ▶

 

If you suffer with neck pain, Osteopathy may help you! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to find out more or to book an appointment at my East London clinic.

Weekend Reads: March. Eiffel Tower, Generosity and Happiness

The end of March has arrived and I am away in Rome for the weekend so this post is scheduled in advance.  Can you believe Easter is next week?  Hope you’ve had a brilliant month and have lots planned for the long weekend.

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.

1.  What Your Bones Have In Common With The Eiffel Tower

2. Why generosity makes you happy - proof that volunteering can be good for you!

4. Are good habits the secret to happiness?

“40 to 45 per cent of what we do every day is a habit—something we do by default. When we wake up, we brush our teeth. We get in the car to go to work and, without thinking, we put on our seatbelt. There’s no decision-making at work. It’s automatic. “If you have habits that work for you, you’re much more likely to be happier, healthier and more productive.””

5. Lack of sleep my play a role in both obesity and diabetes.

 

What I’ve Been Up To

Like I said, I’m away in Rome at the moment so that’s the highlight of my month!  I’ve reopened my Guide unit so Friday evenings are filled with entertaining a group of excitable ten year olds again. Unite Pale Ale for International Women's Day I was also happy to celebrate International Women’s Day at Wildcard Brewery.

Leigh on Sea SunsetWent for a little trip to Leigh on Sea one Saturday – isn’t the sunset beautiful?

 

Listening to: Alvvays – Marry Me, Archie

What have you done this month?

How Can I Remember to Take Breaks From Work?

Sitting at your desk (or anywhere else!) all day is a terrible, awful thing to do to your body.  You should aim to get up at least once an hour, and definitely leave your desk at lunch time.   Short breaks make you more productive as well as healthier so it really is a win-win situation.

 

Stop skipping breaks at work - here's how

I know this can be a tricky habit to develop but it IS possible and it IS worth it.

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

  • Sip water/tea/squash throughout the day so you need to get up and go to the loo.
  • Listen to the radio while you work and have a break when the news comes on every hour.
  • Ask one of your colleagues to remind you when it is break time.
  • Add a break reminder extension to your browser: Timer, Simple Pomodoro, Take a Break, eyeCare (gives you stretches too!)
  • Or on your phone. Android: Break Reminder, Brain Break  iOS: Break Reminder, Stand Up! The Work Break Timer
  • Schedule breaks in your Google calendar.
  • Find some pleasant outdoor space near your work so you actually want to leave the office.
  • Reward yourself every break time with a small treat.

 

Or try all of the above!

 

If you do sit at desk for work, here’s how to do it properly.

If you’re suffering with neck, shoulder or back pain, Osteopathy could help! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to book your appointment.

Daily Yoga: App Review

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This month I’m reviewing Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play

App Name: Daily Yoga

Platform: Android (Google Play), iOS (iTunes)

Cost: Free on Android and iOS

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Daily Yoga is the world’s most popular yoga coaching app suitable for all levels, beginners, intermediate and advanced, providing 50+ HD yoga exercises and the largest database of 400+ yoga poses, HD VIDEOS, live voice guide, soothing music, social community, and more.”

Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play1

 

What I say:
Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play3

 

Pluses:

+ Lots of routines to choose from; meditation, back pain, weight loss etc

+ Easy to fit in to your routine.  Different durations are available from 10 minutes upwards.

+ Videos and verbal instructions for each posture.

 

 Minuses:

– You have to download each routine separately.

– Some routines are paid.

– Moves quite quickly for beginners.

– Difficult to know if you are doing the poses correctly.

 

 

The bottom line: 

A pretty handy app.  Take it slowly and go through the routines for beginners first.  This app will never be a replacement for one to one or small group sessions but it is a useful way to practice yoga at home.

 

Download it from Google Play  or iTunes.