It's no surprise that in the first few weeks of January, the gym's packed and there's no lettuce left at the supermarket. While having a "get healthy" new year's resolution is great, a $50-per-month, 5-day-a-week gym membership doesn't always fit nicely into a busy life schedule. That's why I came up with an alternative.
Welcome to my "I don't need a gym to work out" workout.
(Please Note: I don't have a Ph.D. or an M.D., and can't tell you how to work out. But I also don't have a gym membership card -- this is just what works for me. Maybe it can help you, too!)
Find your own "I workout and don't go to a gym" lifestyle
If you're a busy mom of three, a full-time student, or crunching the numbers at your 9-5 (actually, 9-9), finding time to go to the gym can be tough. That's why I have what I call, "The Apartment Hustle."
I live in a small city apartment (and work in Manhattan) so there's never time to do much because of long commutes. So, I started doing lunges on my way down the hall, sneaking in a few sit-ups while my next Netflix episode loads and even running (yes running) up the stairs to the apartment. It's everything you could want in a workout without having to go to the gym and work out.
However, once I'm done with the Apartment Hustle, I need a bit of recovery (because I'm actually a retired and very injured athlete at 21-years old). So, when it comes time to make sure I'm feeling A-OK, Paincakes are pretty great. These little ice packs stick to you for optimal recovery and you can just pop them back in the freezer for the next time you run up the stairs a little too hard and sprain your ankle.
(Not like I've ever done that.)
Healthy doesn't always mean gym membership
An intense, sweat-inducing workout can feel good, but it's not always about the physical. You may look good but it's about the mental part, too. Whenever I'm not feeling up to a 10-minute sit-up routine, I'll go for a long walk, break out the skateboard, or even play soccer (hence the retired athlete).
Finding a hobby to do can help make the "getting healthy" lifestyle a bit easier. You can get the exercise you want while still doing something other than lunging your way to the bathroom just to get toned legs.
(Shameless plug: We know just the place to get some pain relief if your activity gets a little intense.)
Check out these gadgets
With technology today, there are so many apps to use when you're working out (or to remind you when you're not). It really pushes me to stay on top of my workout (only because the notification won't go away). There are apps you can set up to remind you, apps that keep track of your heart rate, and even apps that track your workout if you run or take a certain number of steps per day.
If the hi-tech apps aren't up your alley, we have other products to keep you in the hi-tech-healthy circle. We have smart blood pressure monitors, TENS units, and a bunch of other connected pain-relief products, so getting healthy can be a tech lovers paradise, too!
Here's to a great year
Maybe it's a little late in January to still be saying, "happy new year," but I'm going to do it anyway. Even though some of those resolutions might be on the back burner already, it's not too late to set new ones.
If you're sold on my Apartment Hustle workout, it's available for the low price of $50 a month (just kidding). But, you can get the best workout and healthy lifestyle no matter what gym you go to, or what at-home substitutes you decide to take on.
It's all about doing what makes your body feel good and if the pain or injuries you thought were gone three years ago (oops, that's me too) we're here for the pain relief you need.
Admit it, you've looked at wearable devices and thought, "THIS is just what I need to get healthy and stay on track this coming year!" No judgment - we're guilty of the same thing. And we're just as guilty of wondering if we could find one of these fun toys in our stockings tax-free.
Wearable devices are getting more popular by the day - not only for those looking to get healthy, but also for employers looking to motivate workers into staying that way. (Because healthy employees mean fewer sick days and lower costs.)
Well, even though there have been some rumblings about changes, wearable fitness devices are still not considered FSA-eligible. If devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit were specifically designed for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a disease, this might be a different response. But general health and overall well-being aren't quite enough to make them qualify.
So, are there any alternatives?
The good news is that there are plenty of other hi-tech, FSA-eligible products that can help you stay on top of your health, using the latest technologies, including smartphone compatibility.
For example, the Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor makes keeping track of your vitals easy. Qardio measures systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. The Qardio is compatible with iPhone and Android, and it's light and compact, so you can easily carry it with you!
If tech-focused pain relief is your goal, then the Omron ElectroTherapy Pain Relief TENS Unit provides relief for multiple types of pain, whether you're at home, in the office or traveling. The unit relies on electrical nerve stimulation to offer relief and the small size of the unit makes it extremely portable.
And for deeper pains, maybe deep tissue light treatment is the answer. The Nuve N72 goes beyond the surface to improve blood circulation, alleviate swelling, and relax muscles. Users will enjoy near-immediate relief from pain, right at the source, within seconds of using the device.
But this is no portable heating lamp. Deep penetrating light (DPL) treatment uses an advanced form of energy to reach deep into your body, helping to heal while helping you eliminate nagging pains. The Nuve N72 has a wide range of uses, for most external parts of the body.
Of course, there are a lot of connected health products that are fully FSA-eligible. We've compiled our best, most-popular selections right here, in our Top 10 FSA-eligible products for the hi-tech health fan. And if you're looking for inspiration across the entire FSA-eligible spectrum, we encourage you to check out our comprehensive FSA Buying Guide.
Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Leaving your baby behind for a much-needed weekend away can be nerve-wracking. Calm your senses a bit by making sure your caretakers are prepared.
Educating them on your child's schedule, dietary needs, and likes and dislikes is all well and good, but don't forget about their medical needs. We go over what to leave behind for your child's caretakers, from basic first aid supplies to feeding gear, even some useful items in the off-chance your little one comes down with a cold.
And don't forget to have a few extras of everything on hand. Trust us, something will inevitably get misplaced.
Take our advice: Stock up on more diapering must-haves than you think you'll need. That includes diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream. Amateur diaper changers always go a little too heavy on the wipes, am I right?
With FSA-eligible items like ointment, gas drops, and a hi-tech baby monitor to your arsenal, and you'll be more than ready to leave your little one. And if you're not ready, go anyway. Having a little time apart is good for both you—and the baby.
If your caretakers plan to take your little one on an excursion of two (don't panic—even the most novice babysitters can handle a walk around the neighborhood in a stroller), be sure they have all the goods to keep baby protected.
Be sure you have some infant sunscreen (keeping in mind sunscreen recommendations by age), a good water bottle and a sunhat. You may even want to spring for some sunscreen with bug repellent.
If you're little one is still breastfeeding, be sure to leave behind enough pumped milk or formula for the entirety of your time away, plus some extra. An FSA-eligible breast pump can help you save up some liquid gold for your little one. And don't forget to take your pump—along with some nursing pads, trust us on this one—on your weekend away. If your baby is formula-fed, be sure to have a few canisters on hand, as well.
Don't forget to leave specific feeding instructions on ounces, frequency, even which bottle your baby prefers (yes, this is very much a thing). While feeding your baby is like second nature to you, it's a whole new ballgame for anyone else.
Kids get sick at the most inopportune times. Let's face it, it's usually when you and your spouse finally have a trip planned for some much-needed R&R. But don't cancel your trip on account of a few sniffles. Instead, stock up on some must-haves like Boogie Wipes, a nasal aspirator, and a humidifier.
Once you have the supplies to ensure both baby and babysitter will be well-taken care of, it's time to take care of you. And that means getting away, sleeping in, and maybe even having an adult beverage or two. After all, you won't have your tiny alarm clock rousing you at 6:00 the next morning.
Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Did you know smartphone-enabled or connected hi-tech health products are FSA eligible? Learn about popular items with your FSA for cold & flu season.
Did you know smartphone-enabled or connected hi-tech health products are FSA eligible? Cold & flu season is no laughing matter. While you can do your part to ward off illness by eating healthyand exercising, some illnesses strike when you least expect it. Thankfully, much of the technology you can find in your doctor's office is now available in at-home devices that can help you better treat illnesses and share vital information with your physician. Best of all, they're FSA eligible!
Let's explore some of the best hi-tech health products:
It was only a matter of time before a smartphone-enabled thermometer was developed! This device has the added advantage of a free app that records time-stamped fever readings, and symptoms for various members of your family. This is especially handy when discussing an illness with your doctor!
Check Out: Kinsa Smartphone Thermometer
Connected Medical Kit
If you're looking for a thermometer with a bit more utility, CliniCloud is your answer! This device and accompanying app for your smartphone combines a thermometer and stethoscope into one connected medical kit that can integrate readings from the two devices through the use of infrared technology with Bluetooth connectivity. You can even take your little one's temperature while he/she is sound asleep! And of course, the CliniCloud app logs all of your readings to easily share with your doctor.
Check Out: CliniCloud Connected Medical Kit
Vibrating Pain Relief Mask
Avibrating pain relief mask is a great, drug-free option to fight a sinus infection or another ailment this winter. These subtle vibrations provide gentle compression to enhance blood circulation and aid in pain relief. The mask blocks out light while still allowing the skin to breathe and can even be placed in the freezer to provide cooling relief.
Check Out: Intellinetix Vibrating Pain Relief Mask
Baby Bluetooth Thermometer
If you have a newborn or toddler at home, taking his/her temperature can be a trying experience.The TempTraqBluetooth thermometer is such an amazing advance in home health care. This wearable thermometer patch is placed under the arm to continuously monitor body temperature. And, itcan also provide convenient alerts on a compatible smart device.
Check Out: TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer
TENS units, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, treats chronic pain issues. A TENS unit can treatosteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle/joint soreness pain, or acute pain from a cold or flu. TENS machines block pain signals along pathways to the brain, thereby reducing the body's pain response. These devices have a wealth of potential uses.
Check Out: AccuRelief™ Wireless Remote Control TENS
If you have FSA funds to spare, use them at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products.
When you shop with an FSA, you might be surprised to find hi-tech health items. Let's explore what those are at FSAstore.com.
When you shop at FSAstore.com, it quickly becomes clear that you can buy a lot of products with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). FSAs can offer everything from band-aids to contact lenses to breast pumps and blood pressure monitors. But, did you know that you can also shop for items that connect to your smartphone and can help you keep track of health?
That's exactly where the Hi-Tech category comes in at FSAstore.com! Let's explore some of the most popular products that you can get with your FSA from that category!
Blood Pressure Monitors
It may not be something we think about much, but it's suggested that people get blood pressure checkups every two years (or more often), depending on what your doctor recommends. That's at least what WebMD recommends in an article related to monitoring blood pressure.
"If your blood pressure is borderline high -- systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 -- check it at least every year or more often as your doctor suggests. Depending on whether or not you have other medical issues, this number might be considered too high," WebMD said. Adding, "If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, talk with your doctor as this is high blood pressure and requires a doctor's attention."
The article also explains that you can easily measure blood pressure at home, as well. This is particularly important if you have high blood pressure. Though, WebMD cautions, "Before you take your blood pressure, it's recommended to avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes prior to the test.
You can use different types of blood pressure monitors, but since we're focusing on Hi-Tech Health today, let's discuss two popular ones that also connect to your smartphone. The next time you visit your doctor, you can easily share your readings!
1) The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor connects with a simple cuff, and can easily and automatically connect to the Health Mate app where you can store all readings. You'll be able to read your stats anytime whether it's on an iPhone, an Android or an iPod touch, and they are also stores on an online dashboard. Since the data is stored in the app, you can easily share it with your doctor at any time.
Shop for the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor with your FSA
2) The Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor connects to iPhone and Android to provide accurate, clinically validated data that's also FDA approved for use by medical professionals. This monitor can detect irregular heart beat and seamlessly connects to your smartphone or tablet with a simple setup (all you do is turn on the device, launch the app on your smartphone or tablet and press Start). You can carry it with you no matter where you go, and it also comes with the free Qardio iOS app where you can share the data with your doctor or family members.
Shop for the Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor at FSAstore.com
In addition to monitoring vitals such as blood pressure, thermometers ofcourse come in handy when you or a loved one are dealing with a fever. According to WebMD, "Body temperature is only one way of monitoring your health. Besides temperature, other basic measurements to monitor your health include your pulse, breathing rate (respiration), and blood pressure. These basic measurements are called your vital signs."
Here are a few popular thermometers that you can buy with your Flexible Spending, whether it's to monitor your own fever, that of a family or even of your baby.
1) The KINSASmartphone Thermometer gives you a 10-second and accurate reading of your temperature and even lets you track each member of your family. The thermometer connects to your smartphone (iOS and Android)through a free app that lets you share with family members and your doctor. It comes with a fun animated screen for kids, and a flexible design for comfort. You can also download the data to your mobile device and keep tracking fevers.
Shop for KINSA Smartphone Thermometer at FSAstore.com
2) The Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer also makes it easy to monitor and get temperature readings per family member in 8 seconds (individual profiles will store each family member's temperatures), and you can set up reminders to check the last reading. You can connect the thermometer through the Vicks app to wirelessly keep track of the readings on your smartphone. A special Symptom Tracker monitors symptoms as they occur and the Fever InSight feature displays the temperature rreadout in green, yellow or red. The device is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
Shop for the Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer at FSAstore.com
The TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer offers a convenient, non-invasive way to monitor baby's body temperature through a soft, comfortable single-use, 24-hour patch. The patch is placed under your baby's arm and will transmit your baby's temperature using Bluetooth technology to compatible devices. As a parent, you'll be able to track your child's temperature from another room (up to 40 feet away) for 24 hours with alerts in case of a higher temperature. You'll be able to email the data to a doctor or family members, as well.
Shop for the TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer at FSAstore.com
Other Popular Products
As you're browsing the Hi-Tech Health category, you'll be sure to find other interesting products that are covered by an FSA.
1) One of these is the AccuRelief Ultimate Foot Circulator. This is an electrical stimulator that can provide relief to stiff muscles, reduces swollen feet and more. The technology works by placing electrode pads on your body or through the foot pads. You can easily use a remote control to control the electrical stimulation with 15 preset programs to alleviate different types of pain and increase circulation in your swollen feet or ankles.
Shop for the Ultimate Foot Circulator at FSAstore.com
2) The Quell Wearable Pain Relief Starter Kit provides 100%, drug-free relief from chronic pain through lightweight, doctor-recommended technology. This device is specifically designed for those who deal with sciatica, fibromyalgia, arthritis pain, and other types of pain. Just connect your Quell through Bluetooth and a smartphone app to easily monitor your pain therapy.
Shop for Quell Wearable Pain Relief with your FSA at FSAstore.com
3) The Eustachi Ear Unclogger works naturally to unclog your stuffy or congested ears, similar to how yawning and swallowing work. Eustachi is physician-recommended, and is also perfect for swimming, diving, flying and during cold and allergy season. It's great for kids and adults alike.
Shop for Eustachi Ear Unclogger at FSAstore.com
Looking for additional products? Browse the Hi-Tech category and learn about other products available with your FSA!