Like many people, fitness and health are on top of our resolutions for 2015. The cool thing about fitness in our modern world is that we can get fit using tools and techniques from our phones. From using search to Google Maps, check out some of our favorite ways to stay fit and healthy in 2015.
- Time to walk: When you’re trying to burn off a few holiday pounds, every opportunity counts. One of the easiest healthy decisions you can make is taking the stairs, or walking instead of driving or taking the subway. Google Maps can help you determine if you’ve got time to to walk, or even bike. Just type in your destination, then press the car, transit or walk icons at the bottom right of your phone to toggle between options and see if you can fit in a walk, or bike!
- An uphill battle...or all downhill from here: Speaking of biking, if you want to maximize your ride, check out biking directions on your phone. You’ll see elevation of the route, and if there’s more than one route available, you can compare to opt for the most challenging (or flattest!) option. Plus Maps offers turn-by-turn biking directions, so you can ride somewhere new without worrying about getting turned around.
- OK, Maps, show me a map...even off the beaten path: If you’re planning a hike or run in an area without Wifi, you can still access a Google Map to help you navigate. While you’re still in WiFi/range, select your destination, then just press the mic and say, “OK Maps,” then hit “save” and name it, and you’ll have an offline map you can access without Wifi or data. You’ll still be able to zoom in and see roads, trails and landmarks, but not live traffic. To access your saved maps, just go to settings and pick “your places.” You’ll see them at the bottom.
- Make healthy eating choices on the go: Nothing’s better than seeing that knife and fork on a highway sign when you’re on a road trip--and starving. But all too many times it ends up being a fast food place, and you may just break down and get a burger and fries because you don’t want to stop again. Google Maps can help you find a healthier option that better suits your needs. Just choose a location, hit the X, and then tap the search bar, and you’ll see a list of icons. Hit the fork and knife, and you’ll get a list of restaurant options, along with ratings, travel time from your location, hours, address and phone, photos and menu if available.
- Your Ski Buddy: Did you know that Google Maps also features ski trails at many resorts, so you can plan your day, and even access trails right from the slopes? Just type in a resort, say, Snowbird, and when you zoom in you can see the various trails. And of course you can save these by saying “OK Maps,” so you can access them when you’re out of WiFi. And for warmer climes, Maps also features hiking trails many locations. Google Maps’ Street View also features imagery of ski slopes (Whistler, Deer Valley, Squaw Valley and more) and hiking areas like Ithaca, Yosemite and Kilimanjaro, so you can preview your trip or determine if a hike is the right elevation for you and your family.
- Nutrition: Between the parties, the dinners and the eggnog, the holidays are filled with temptations that can lead you to break good eating habits. And whether you’re traveling or on the go, sometimes you just need a little help making healthy decisions (should I get the ground turkey or the ground chicken?). Over the past few years they have been a lot of Google searches for nutritional content steadily rising, but there was no one good source for the data, so we introduced nutrition search. Just ask Google about the nutritional value of any food and most drinks, and you’ll get both a spoken answer as well as a drop down card of all of the nutritional information, including total fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, caffeine and more.
- Find a class anywhere: Don’t skip a class if you don’t have to! Whether you’re at your in-laws for a visit or traveling for work, let your phone help keep you fit by asking Google to help you find a class nearby: Say “Ok Google, show me a yoga studio near here” or “Is there a Soul Cycle near here?” If you have only 15 minutes to fit in a workout before you leave for work - and no other window that day, try asking Google. Say “show me five minute ab exercises” or “show me a 10 minute Pilates routine” and you’ll get YouTube videos you can click to in an instant.
- Your Recipe Helper: Looking to cook healthy with what you’ve got in the fridge? Ask Google for “healthy recipes with chicken and spinach” or “recipes for low-fat lasagna” and you’ll see results and videos of step by steps in seconds. You can also determine the nutrition of recipes (and decide if you need a swap) by asking “how many calories are in a half a cup of milk.” You can also filter recipes by ingredient, cook time, and calorie count on Google? On desktop, type in your recipe of choice in the Google search bar, then click on "Search Tools" to the right under the search bar. You'll then see options to search for recipes based on an ingredient, cooking time and/or calorie count. Looking for a chicken pasta recipe, without crushed red pepper, that will take under 15 minutes to prepare, and that is less than 500 calories?
- Symptom Checker: Is that tendonitis? A pulled muscle? The flu? Ask Google and you’ll see a short list of symptoms that will either put your mind at ease or encourage you to visit your doctor. These results are for informational purposes only-- you should always see a doctor if you have concerns.
- Take a computer break from your keyboard: Typing all day can strain your eyes and test your posture. Using your voice to search is three times faster than typing, and can give you a much needed break from the keyboard. You can search for info, dictate texts and emails, make restaurant reservations, search for photos and more.
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