WORDS Rebecca Evans

Most of us spend at least part of each day taking care of other people. Partners, Children, Colleagues, Strangers. We don’t even realise we’re doing it some of the time. But how much time per day do we dedicate to taking care of ourselves? It’s important, as if we’re not in good health then it restricts our ability to look after others. For the Care issue I’ve been investigating gizmos and gadgets that harness technology to help keep us healthy.

FITBIT ALTA HR ACTIVITY TRACKER

We all know by now that in order to stay healthy we need to eat well and move, as Humans we’re not designed to be sedentary, but modern habits and desk jobs don’t lend themselves to an active life. If you haven’t already, jump aboard the fitness tracker revolution with the discreet and well-designed Fitbit Alta.

Unlike many of the lower priced trackers, the Alta monitors not only your activity but also your heart rate, keeping a track of how much you’ve moved, how intense your exercise has been, and in turn how many calories you’ve burned. Gentle reminders throughout the day spur you to keep moving, and who doesn’t like an excuse to spend a minute away from their desk, even if it is just to squeeze a few steps in walking to the photocopier or kettle?

The Fitbit Alta pairs wirelessly with your phone and has its own free app, allowing you to monitor your progress and achievements anytime, anywhere, plus functionality on the watch itself is simple and easy to operate with a simple tap display. Of course when you’re not tracking your treks, it also doubles as a watch, and a range of straps are available to suit your style.

The Fitbit Alta HR Activity Tracker is £117 from the Powerhouse

ORAL B GENUIS 9000

Anyone who has ever suffered a moments toothache will attest how much that constant nagging pain makes you want to cut your own head off for relief, disrupts your sleep and makes it hard to function. Keeping our teeth and gums healthy is paramount in avoiding this, and a host of other complications. I would hope that we are all brushing our teeth already, but are we doing it right?

The Oral B Genius 9000 takes electric toothbrushes to the next level, and is the next best thing to have a dentist seated on the side of the bath instructing you. Position Detection Technology not only sounds fancy, it harnesses motion sensors and facial recognition software(!) which when paired with the accompanying app will alert you to any spots you have missed. The brush head has been designed by dentists for maximum plaque and stain removal, and pressure sensors automatically adjust the rotation speed if you press too hard. There’s no toothbrush on the market that can come so close to guaranteeing the whitest of pearly whites, and healthy gums.

Supplied with this bright brush are 4 replacement heads, a smartphone holder for your bathroom wall, and a travel case which charges not only your brush, but also your ‘phone. Clever stuff.

The Oral B Genius 9000 is £300 from Boots

HAPIFORK

We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is good for us, and there’s a lot of information out there regarding how to do it. One tried and tested way of managing weight and avoiding a range of nasty gastric upsets is to eat slowly, chew fully, and allow your body to let you know it’s full before the point that you’ve shovelled in a heap of unnecessary calories. It all sounds simple in theory, but sit me in front of a bowl of chilli or a Pizza Projekt pizza (haven’t been yet? Check the review on page 64) and all my self-control flies out of the window.

The HAPIfork was originally developed for clinical use, with this exact first-world problem in mind. It uses motion sensors to keep track of how often you’re lifting it to your mouth, and if you’re throwing food down your throat like it’s your first meal in a year (despite it being an hour since you last ate), the handle will vibrate and circular light turn red, as a reminder to take it easy.

Dishwasher safe and charged via USB, the HAPIfork connects to an accompanying app and allows users to track progress and statistics, along with accessing a 21 day coaching program including general tips on eating smarter and healthier. Forking wonderful!

The HAPIfork is $104 from Hapi.com, including delivery

LUMIE ZEST WAKE UP & SAD LIGHT

After a winter that seems to have started last Battle of Britain Day, and at the time of writing isn’t showing much sign of abating, it’s easy to understand why SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a thing, and why studies have shown that incidences of mental health conditions in general rise in the cold, dark, winter months. Symptoms of SAD can include lack of energy, disrupted sleep, anxiety, loss of libido and depression, and some people think it affects most of us, to a greater or lesser degree.

The Lumie Zest Wake Up & SAD light aims to reduce the symptoms of SAD by providing a hit of bright, sunshine mimicking light, kick-starting our brains into producing the serotonin we need to balance our circadian rhythms and operate at full capacity. The portable light features 5 different light levels for adjustable treatment, and can also be used as an alarm clock, gently filling your bedroom with a simulated sunrise to stir your body and brain into a natural and refreshing wake up, without the jolt of a sudden alarm blaring in the pitch dark.

Supplied with a detachable stand and mains adaptor, this is pricey for a bedside light but can you really put a price on a good nights sleep and energised morning?

The Lumie Zest Wake Up Light is £149.99 from Boots