Smartphones have brought the internet to the pockets of close to 70 percent of Americans, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, and the majority of these smartphone owners download and use apps. These mobile apps take advantage of device features not available to traditional browsers, such as easy account login using fingerprint technology, GPS location for maps and zip code lookup and access to the built-in camera and microphone.
There’s no shortage of apps available to users: Google Play store and the Apple store both have around 2 million apps available to download, covering every conceivable lifestyle need.
Here are a few of for consideration.
1. Dining Out
Online reviews have changed the way Americans dine. While sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor can be great places to comb through restaurant reviews, OpenTable goes above and beyond by enabling users to view restaurants with open tables and book reservations in real-time directly through the app. OpenTable includes restaurant reviews, menus, photos and a blog. Bonus: OpenTable is an international app.
2. Streaming Music
There are many noteworthy apps for streaming music on your mobile device. Spotify and Pandora are two of the most well-known, but Deezer is quickly making its way to the top of the list. Users can search more than 40 million tracks for their favorite tunes and can use the app’s features to discover new artists. What makes Deezer unique is that the app customizes its sound catalog around personal taste. Its “Go with the Flow” feature suggests additional artists and songs based on your existing playlists. Bonus: Deezer playlists are ad free and work offline!
3. Road Trips
Have you ever gone on a road trip and found out later that you drove right by some of the best attractions on your route? Roadtrippers is an app designed to help travelers find amazing places and hidden treasures without missing a beat. Forget sifting through Trip Advisor recommendations – Roadtripper allows users to plan their driving route from point A to point B and can customize points of interest based on established categories, including attractions, natural wonders, historic sites and hotel and food accommodations. These destinations can all be conveniently saved for future reference. Bonus: Users can also view estimated fuel costs for their trips.
4. Home Security
Home security systems help protect your assets, and these systems have become more advanced with smart home technology. WardenCam360 is an app that allows users to convert old smartphones and tablets into tools for real-time video surveillance of your residence. App features include a motion detector that automatically triggers established cameras and night vision. Recordings are stored and saved to your Google Drive for free, and app users can opt to receive alerts and even have screenshots sent to their smartphone. Bonus: Two-way talk capabilities allow users to listen to what’s going on and even talk to your pets and children!
Our top pick for parenting apps is MamaBear, which advertises itself as “The Ultimate Parenting App.” MamaBear allows parents to track and monitor their children’s online activity beyond using a keylogger or Google search – the app is a catch-all social media monitoring tool. Parents receive alerts when their kids are tagged in photos, use foul language or are being cyberbullied. They can also monitor phone activities, such as text messaging, and set speeding alerts for teens with driver’s licenses. Bonus: Parents can use the app to send family messages and photos
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
* Content provided - Mercury Insurance (Issue #134)
Many people wish they lived a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s losing weight, eating more nutritious food, being more active or reducing stress there’s one common obstacle that seems to derail our best intentions: life’s hectic pace. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take right now to embark on a better, healthier life.
1. Work some exercise into your daily routine
Regular exercise is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also one of the most difficult things to work into your schedule because of time constraints. However, there are some easy ways to break a sweat without blocking out a ton of time.
One misconception is that a good workout is a long one, but there are great health benefits that come from doing short, intense bursts of activity. Doing high level cardio – like running, biking or taking a brisk walk – for only 20 minutes can make a big difference.
If you work in an office you probably sit a lot, which is detrimental to your overall wellbeing, so get up and walk whenever possible – take the stairs or just stand up and move around. If you want an extra challenge, there are many desk exercises you can try.
Despite the benefits of exercising in your regular locations, going to the gym still has its unique benefits. To motivate yourself, always have a gym bag with you. Going during off-peak hours means you can use all your favorite machines and maximize your time.
2. Eat better by planning ahead
It can be easy to forgo cooking healthy food in lieu of what’s fast and readily available, especially when you’re working full time. A more nutritious option can be just as convenient and a lot easier on your budget with some thoughtful planning.
Bringing a lunch to work is one of the best ways to introduce nutritious food into your diet and remove the temptation to eat a high calorie fast food meal. Prepare big meals like soups and salads that you can store and eat throughout the week if cooking beforehand is tough to do on a regular basis. Another good plan is to have a stock of healthy snacks like granola bars, dried fruit and nuts at your workplace for days when you’re hungry or don’t take a lunch. When you do eat out with co-workers, look for menu items that are lower in sugar, sodium, fat and calories.
3. Make sleep a priority
Getting enough sleep each night is one of the simplest changes you can make in your daily routine. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. A good night’s sleep will help you function at your peak during the day, but not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk for contracting chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
Limiting caffeine consumption, not doing heavy activity before bed, making your bed as comfortable as possible and cutting back on naps during the day will also help ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Another tip is to limit screen time before nodding off. The light emitted by smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs interferes with your body’s natural rhythms and can make it harder to fall asleep. While staring intently into a phone in bed is not good for you, there are apps that can help you stick to a sleeping schedule and some will also analyze the quality of your sleep each night.
4. Create breathing room
Try to carve out as much time as possible to recharge and refresh – it’ll make you happier and healthier. Take a walk and get some natural vitamin D from the sun, but remember to put sunscreen on. You can also read a book, take up a hobby or just do something you love. All of these things will help reduce stress and restore your energy.
5. Connect with others
Human beings need time with others to thrive. Set aside time for friends and family, do a random act of kindness or volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. Remember, your emotional wellbeing is just as important for your health as your physical wellbeing.
6. Start small
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to make one or two small changes at a time and build from there. Following these simple steps can help you get on the road to a healthier lifestyle in no time!
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
* Content provide via Mercury Insurance - Issue #135
Cecil Williams -