Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram - it’s very likely that you already have these popular apps that allow you to speak to your loved ones, follow celebrities, see what is going on in the big wide world and even listen to music.
Apps are a big part of today’s culture, and many people worry that we spend too much time looking at our phones. While Facebook allows you to speak to your friends, it doesn’t do much else – and after an hour of scrolling, the only part of your body that actually got a workout was your thumbs.
But what about apps that can help you to monitor and improve your health?
If your smartphone is always in your pocket, you may as well use it to live a healthier, fitter life.
Smartphone apps have vastly improved in the last few years, and now the apps include extra features and elements to make sure that they are genuinely useful to the user. There are lots of fantastic apps that can help you to eat healthier and work out more, and a recent study has found that these apps are pretty effective: people who use fitness and health apps were more active than people who don’t use the apps, and they also had a lower body mass index.
This highlights the benefits of health apps. They help people to improve their understanding of workout techniques and diet, and they can help to improve organization. This helps to encourage better exercise habits, and daily notifications help to keep you motivated even when you are feeling lazy.
The only problem is the number of health and fitness apps out there. Some apps are fantastic, but others can be clunky and less effective (and some can be expensive).
Thankfully, we have listed some of the most effective health and fitness apps on the market. From apps that improve your diet to apps that encourage you to exercise more, here are the top five apps for monitoring your health that we’ve found.
1. Simple Steps
Simple Steps is a great app for people who want to be healthier without making huge changes to their lifestyle. Instead of constantly sending you workout plans, Simple Steps focuses on the small changes that we can all make to live a healthier lifestyle. The app regularly sends you small tasks that are designed to eventually become daily habits. For example, the app will remind users to drink a glass of water multiple times a day rather than saying “drink eight glasses of water”. This smaller task can be completed immediately, so the user is more likely to complete the task again and again.
Users don’t have to count calories or follow a diet; instead, they commit to making one change consistently (such as eating more fruit). This means the user is less likely to take too many tasks on at once, which may leave them feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. This helps people to consistently eat healthier and drink more water, so the user is more likely to continue with these good habits even if they stop using the app.
There are lots of other benefits to Simple Steps. Your friends and family members can also join up, so you can try to make positive changes together - although users can see if their friends are succeeding or failing! As users make progress, they will unlock new habits and routines, making the app feel more like a fun game than a health app.
Most importantly, the app is based on dozens of nutrition studies, so you know that the information is accurate and useful.
2. Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal
Calorie Counter is perhaps the best app available for people who want to improve their diet. The app allows users to log their daily diet using a database that includes more than six million foods (along with nutritional information for local restaurants). Users can even scan barcodes with their phone camera to download nutritional information directly to their phone, making it easier for people to know if certain foods are healthy or not. At the end of the day, users receive a breakdown of how much protein, fat and carbs they ate. This is ideal for people who want to eat healthily but know little about nutrients and what to avoid.
The app is also personalized to each user, as it remembers their favourite foods. This is a useful way to make sure that the user enjoys their healthy meals so that they are less likely to give up on their diet.
The app also features over 350 cardio and strength training exercises, so it can be used to improve your fitness levels.
Calorie Counter is free, and it is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.
Sworkit is a useful strength fitness app that doesn’t require any extra equipment. The app takes a holistic approach to workouts, and it includes a custom workout builder that is designed for fitness professionals and athletes. They can create and share their own customised routines (known as playlists) using the app's library of nearly 200 exercises. This is very useful for beginners who can’t afford a personal trainer, as they can learn how to exercise safely and effectively.
The app is free, but there is also a Pro version that users can pay for. Pro comes with a few useful features: users can save their favourite custom workouts, and they can view their full workout history to see how much they have improved. Pro is also ad-free, which is wonderful!
However, the free version is nearly as good as Pro. In fact, the University of Florida health researchers say that is it the only fitness app available that actually follows most of the exercises guidelines issued by the American College of Sports Medicine.
The app focuses on strength workouts, but users can also choose cardio, yoga or stretching workouts. Once you have chosen a workout, you set how long you want to do it for (you can choose anywhere between five minutes and an hour), and then Sworkit guides you though the workout with directions and tips.
FitMenCook was created from founder Kevin Curry’s Instagram community, which had nearly one million followers at the time. The app focuses on healthy recipes, meal planning and getting fit in the kitchen.
One of the best things about FitMenCook is the lack of pressure. It can be used by people who have very little spare time and money, and you don’t need to be a good cook to use the simple and delicious recipes. All of the recipes come with clear, easy-to-understand instructions and beautiful images, and some recipes even include short videos that show users how to prepare their food.
Users can search for certain ingredients or recipes to create their meals, or they can search for vegetarian, low-carb, high-carb or budget meals. This means the app caters for lots of different diets, so it is easy to find recipes that suit you.
Users can also save their favourite recipes, and they can even use the app as a shopping list to make sure that they don’t forget any essential ingredients.
It can also be used for weight gain or weight loss. It can provide recipes that are ideal for bodybuilders, as well as recipes that can help you to lose weight. New recipes are constantly being added to the app, so there is always something new to try. This helps users stay focused on their goal as they find their new diet exciting (and delicious).
FitMenCook is £0.79 monthly or £4.49 annually. It is available for iOS devices.
If you have problems with sleeping, Sleepbot is the ideal app for you. This app focuses on healthy sleep patterns so that users can get enough sleep each night. There are lots of sleeping apps on the market, but Sleepbot has a lot of unique features that other apps don’t offer.
For example, Sleepbot has a motion tracker and a sound recorder to accurately monitor how long you sleep for. The app also records how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many hours you sleep each night, how restless your sleep is, and if anything is interrupting your sleep. In the morning, an alarm will ring when you are in a light sleep cycle rather than a heavy sleep cycle so that you wake up easily and don’t feel too groggy. It also works: the app features thousands of positive reviews, so you can expect to see results if you download it.