Wellness? There’s a new Cal Rec Sports app for that

For anyone (everyone?) who makes New Year’s resolutions each year and lets them fall by the wayside, Cal Rec Sports has just the thing: a new, year-round health and wellness tool that is no further away than your computer or smartphone.

The Daily Wellness Facebook app officially launched this week, after a soft rollout. This isn’t software that tracks your miles, your calories or your heartbeat. It’s designed around the premise that good health is a matter of doing a series of small things in six key dimensions: physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, career and community.

Daily Wellness app page on FacebookThe app helps people do that. It can be used by anyone of any age or ability. And it builds in the power of social media, by connecting friends and strangers around the idea of wellness as a way of life.

“The app was developed from a belief that wellness is about achieving balance in all aspects of your life,” says Joe Watz of Rec Sports.

According to Watz, Cal Rec Sports is the first collegiate recreation department in the country to create a wellness tool that integrates social media with a person’s journey to living a healthier life. The tool was developed in collaboration with Berkeley’s University Health Services and the Greater Good Science Center.

Using the app is simple. Open the Daily Wellness app (you can also find it on the Cal Rec Sports Facebook page) and “like” it. There is also a mobile version, scaled to a smartphone’s screen.

Once “liked,” the app opens to reveal six tabs, one for each of the key dimensions. Clicking on any one of them opens up a long list of suggestions for “wellness activities” that a user can check.

For instance, from the Physical tab, a user could pick “Eat fruit instead of bacon and eggs for breakfast” or “Rest even if you can’t sleep.”

Under Spiritual, options include “Forgive yourself and others” and “Enjoy solitude.”  Among suggestions for intellectual well-being are these: “Try something another person’s way” and “Buy a magazine you have never read.”

Some 150 activities are listed, and Watz says they’ll be changed out every few months with ideas solicited from users. The idea is that users will use the app regularly and try different things, or many things, and incorporate some into their lives.

A couple of times a week, users might get a reminder to use the app. Users are invited to share the app with friends.

Watz expects the app to appeal to students, who are the most social media-savvy people on campus, but also to faculty, staff and friends and acquaintances outside the campus community. Even before the launch, the soft rollout quickly attracted more than 500 users, Watz says.

“This is a tool. It’s like anything else — there’s not one tool everyone is going to use,” he says. The app has the advantage of being easy to dip into anyone, with no downloading of software needed. And, like any app, it can evolve with humans and the Internet.

“This is just the beginning,” says Watz.