Health is a matter of balance. Order, rhythm and harmony. Just how do you find that kind of balance? Getting feedback on your behavior helps to become conscious of your behavior , and sensor technology may well play that role for you. By creating healthy feedback loops, you can better substantiate the choices you make regarding your health. But, for what areas is biofeedback useful? When browsing through literature regarding lifestyle, wellness and health, you will continuously encounter the same (five) aspects. Let’s say ‘the big for healthy life’. By taking proper care of yourself in these areas, you’ll probably live longer in a healthy way and meet up to the expectations of your genetic potential.

Food and physical activity
A well-balanced diet, moderate alcohol consumption and enough water. This has basically become common knowledge. You could use, for instance, a smartphone app like Foodzy to gain more insight in your nutritional behavior. For daily physical activity there are several guidelines with advice, e.g. 10.000 steps a day or 30 minutes a day moderate-intense physical activity or sport. Besides this, it is even more important to curb the time you spend seated. You could spend your whole day seated, and workout for an hour in the evening. It would be better and more effective to spread your activities during your day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cycling to work instead of driving your car and getting out of your chair to go for a short walk during lunchtime. Are you interested in finding out how active you are? Try using an activity tracker like fitbit, jawbone or the Nike+ Fuelband.

Stress and Sleep
A bit of stress (eustress) is okay, it’s even healthy. Larger amounts of stress (distress) and especially larger amounts of stress during a prolonged time is very bad for your health. Do you want to know how stressed you are? Check your heart rate variability with Azumio’sapp for your smartphone. Also, in recent years there has been increasing attention to the role of sleep. Sleep deprivation – which affects a lot of people in our 24-hour economy – is very draining to your system. Researchers in Groningen showed with animal testing that sleep deprivation is directly linked to brain damage. For that matter, sleep deprivation is a form of stress. And stress leads to sleep deprivation, which in turn starts a vicious circle, leading to a downward spiral of your health. Are you interested in your own sleeping pattern? Try sleeping with a sleep tracker like ZEO’s sleepsensor.

Social interaction
Humans are very social and that shows in everything we do. When we eat and drink by ourselves, we consume differently from when we are in company. Working out by ourselves is different from working out together. For some, social interaction is the greatest form of stress there is. For most, social interaction is an effective way of relaxing or to relieve stress. In short, other people influence practically everything you do, including your health.

By Martijn de Groot

Source: Digitale Zorggids, 5 February 2013