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HEALTH & WELLBEING
HEALTH & WELLBEING
A list of resources that offer support and guidance on wellbeing and health during the COVID-19 period.

Given that the COVID-19 crisis may have a significant impact on the wellbeing of surgical trainees, we have put together a list of resources to help support trainees during this difficult period. We will update this list regularly as more resources appear. Stay safe and keep up the amazing effort! 

 

HEALTH & WELLBEING RESOURCES:

Stress-management and Mindfulness:

 

Yoga and Exercise:

 

Counselling and Support:

 

ASiT COUNCIL REVIEW WELLBEING APPS

Members of our ASiT Council have volunteered to review their user experience after signing-up for free trials of five popular wellbeing apps and websites.


FiiT (reviewed by Joshua Clements - ST5 General Surgery)

Rating: Overall 5/5 - Signing Up 5/5 - Price 5/5 - Usability & Navigation 5/5 - Compatibility 4/5 - Content Variety 5/5 - Functionality 5/5

Signing Up:

I signed up for the free NHS trial with my NHS email. FiiT were very quick to provide the code.

Price:

Everyone has the option of a 14-day free trial of a “premium” account. If you don’t want the premium option you can access 75 classes for free. Price plans are as follows: £20/month or £15 quarterly or £10/month as an annual payment.

Add-Ons:

FiiT chest strap tracking device (£45), if you require fitness equipment FiiT have designed packages to buy through their partners Origin Fitness – FiiT offer a discount!

Usability & Navigation:

The website is easy to use and answered all the questions I had. The app is simple, well designed and very easy to navigate around. There were no glitches or shutting down of the app mid workouts! You can browse workouts with information on your trainer for that session and the nature of the workout.

Compatibility:

The app works on iOS (iPhone and iPad) however I found the screen too small during an up-tempo workout. For the most immersive experience, the app can easily be synced to your TV. There are several ways to sync to your TV which are easily explained on the website.

Content Variety:

There is a great variety of training options to suit your fitness goals. Whether you want to gain strength, burn fat or improve your flexibility, there are classes and training programmes for everyone. The trainers are excellent with some well-known faces. Live classes allow you to compete with other users from around the world. Track your performance on the live leaderboard and try and beat your personal bests! There are numerous live classes running throughout the day creating flexibility when you train. You don’t require any gym equipment for most of the programmes and classes. If you have a specific training goal you can sign up to a 2, 4, 6 or 10-week training plan and let FiiT do all the planning for you. If you want to start a strength program or workout, you often will need some gym equipment (e.g. dumbbells) FiIT even have the option for you to buy dumbbells. The FiiT edit offers the latest health-related articles you can enjoy in some downtime or after a workout.

Functionality:

I have trialled classes with and without a smart device. For certain pilates/yoga-based classes it isn’t necessary. Personally, if you want to get the most from the app and the live classes the addition of a fitness tracking device is essential. The FiiT device is the most compatible however there are 25 other devices that sync and give all the information you are likely to need in tracking your fitness goals.

Overall:

It’s the number one rated fitness app for a reason. I will certainly be continuing my membership beyond the free trial period. FiiT is applicable to anyone. Any training plan, anytime you want for a very affordable price. For the best overall experience, I recommend using a compatible fitness tracking device. FiiT brings the gym class to your living room offering a competitive spirit, real-time feedback and ability for you to see real improvements in your health.

 

SLEEPIO (reviewed by Andrei Tanase - ST7 General Surgery)

Trial Period: 7 days

Rating: Overall 5/5 - Signing Up 5/5 - Price 5/5 - Usability & Navigation 5/5 - Compatibility 4/5 - Content Variety  5/5 - Functionality 5/5

Overview:

Developer: Big Health (https://www.bighealth.com/). Sleepio is a web-based and iOS app designed to help and improve sleep through the use of CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia). It has been developed by an NHS Innovation Fellow (Peter Hames) and a Professor of Sleep Medicine (Colin Espie). Sleepio is based on the evidence-based success of CBD-I in sleep disorders. Sleepio as a platform is also backed up by 40 peer-reviewed paper published in academic journals.

Pros:

  • Excellent interface

  • Fun interacting with The Prof

  • Simple and easy to follow tasks

  • Focuses on evidence and facts, enforces why they work and gives real-world perspective on sleep and sleep disturbance.

  • Links with wearable devices that track sleep: Jawbone (discontinued) and Fitbit

  • It really works. In only one week I have seen a significant improvement.

Cons:

  • Web-based mainly. App is only available for iOS users. Android users must use the web-based interface

  • Website is not responsive and to access the mobile version users must navigate the www.sleepio.com/mobile link. It does, however, work on most desktop screen resolutions without any issues

  • Links with wearable devices that track sleep. Unfortunately, the only devices available are Jawbone Up (discontinued and company in liquidation) and Fitbit.

Conclusion:

Excellent digital health platform with amazing results and real-world application. Sleepio is easy to use, interactive, intuitive, and most important it really works. It does not require hours of commitment and by using CBT-I it can improve the sleep for a lot of people without expensive and demanding face-to-face CBT sessions and most importantly avoiding medication. For someone that has struggled with sleep for a long time and has not actually addressed it, Sleepio has been a breath of fresh air.

 

DAYLIGHT (reviewed by Lizzie Kane - ST5 General Surgery)

You can register for your free access to Daylight at https://www.nhsemployers.org/news/2020/03/free-access-to-wellbeing-apps-for-all-nhs-staff.

I’ve used it intermittently for the last couple of weeks and although I’m usually a sceptic to this kind of thing, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and it definitely has some positives! Described by its own website as a ‘digital therapeutic for worry and anxiety’ it starts by opening with quite a detailed analysis of you and how YOU are doing. Which isn’t everyone’s bag but is helpful to admit how you are feeling and the app tailors the rest for you and off you go. I really like the simple but effective graphics especially when feeling anxious; I think the overall design works really well. There are specific sections for setting goals such as increasing concentration and reducing procrastination, which I’ve really struggled with a lot more when there is so much going on at the moment. The exercises are short, you can dip in and out and revisit as you want to.

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster for everyone but I could definitely see how some of the techniques such as tense and release and scheduling ‘worry time’ would actually be really helpful for a stressful week on call in the future and not just during this time. Even if you feel like you already cope well with anxiety, I think this one is worth a whirl. One downside is the slightly slow loading of exercises but learning to appreciate the pauses is perhaps part of the positive effects that the app has.

 

HEADSPACE (reviewed by Tash Keates - ST3 ENT)

Rating: Overall 5/5 - Signing Up 5/5 - Price 5/5 - Usability & Navigation 5/5 - Compatibility 4/5 - Content Variety 5/5 - Functionality 5/5

Overview:

Headspace is a mindfulness app which is currently free for NHS workers. It aims to help with stress and anxiety. I personally have used it for a while for managing acute stress and insomnia. There are courses that take you through basic meditation. Or if you want to be more varied you can look for help with particular emotions or situations e.g focussing at work. There is now also movement and exercise advice to help aid stress relief. If you are too tired to choose there is literally a button for that!

If like me insomnia is your issue, I love the sleep tracks which play you to sleep. From a few minutes to all night. Exercises to wind down and guides to help you fall back to sleep if you find yourself awake at 3 am. They also have SOS meditations for when life or work is a little too much. Simply find a quiet spot in either an office, toilet, the chapel or outdoor space if available and help get yourself back on track.

Cons:

  • If you find digital mindfulness difficult to engage with a downside is it is very easy to ignore the app and lose continuity.

  • You can choose either a male or female voice which is calming. However, if you are feeling sensitive they can come over as slightly patronising.

  • It does require an internet connection to work, even though the items are ‘downloaded’ they are not stored permanently, so cannot be used offline.

In summary, it fits well around my life and needs. I hope you also find it helpful.

 

PELETON (reviewed by Katie Hughes - CT2 Orthopaedics)

Rating: Overall 4/5 - Signing Up: 4/5 - Price 5/5 - Usability & Navigation 4.5/5 - Content Variety 4.5/5 - Functionality 4/5

Overview:

For me, coronavirus has meant an enforced break from Jiu-Jitsu and wielding a hammer at work, so I turned to the Peloton 90-day free trial to try and prevent total regression into spaghetti arms. Peloton is a New York-based lifestyle fitness brand that gained popularity through remote-participation group cycling classes. Their app allows you to tune in ‘live’ or stream thousands of pre-recorded classes on demand. Peloton offers much more than just cycling – ranging from strength, stretching, yoga, meditation and cardio. They also have a series of audio-only classes designed to coach you through running and walking outdoors. Classes range from 5 minutes to 1 hour+ and you can watch on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

It’s a lot like going to a gym group class – watching a chirpy toned instructor demonstrate exercises over upbeat tunes. You can search by length, music genre, instructor and easily combine sessions to create a varied workout – such as 20 minutes cardio / 20 minutes strength / 10 minutes stretching. Sessions are graded by difficulty and modifications are always offered by the instructors. It’s not reinventing the fitness wheel – expect the usual painful slew of mountain climbers, squats, planks and push-ups but it’s delivered really well and video quality is excellent (the majority being filmed in a professional studio pre-COVID). You can further incentivise yourself by signing up for 4-week programmes to ‘crush your core’ and log your sessions to gain medals and achievements.

Personally – the core and upper body strength classes have been great adjuncts to outdoor running and cycling and I would consider continuing a paid subscription for those alone. However, I found the audio running coaching insufferable and promptly switched back to old faithful Master of Puppets. I also tried out a cycling class on my turbo trainer and found it pretty dull – I think the Global Cycling Network (free on YouTube) and Sufferfest cycling training videos are far superior. All in all, the Peloton app delivers simple, high-quality exercise through a clean interface with something for everyone to ‘enjoy’.

Regular Price: £12.99/month

Pros:

  • versatile, simple interface

  • something for everyone

  • community aspect

  • the closest thing to a real group gym class in current times

Cons:

  • A fair amount of cringe ‘fitspo-ration’

  • some of the conditioning workouts require you to have weights

  • personally didn’t enjoy the audio running coaching or cycling classes

BBraun
Medtronic
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