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New Year’s Day has come and gone, and you’ve made the commitment to live healthier. Maybe you even decided to start exercising. Now what? If your resolutions involve health and wellness goals, chances are you can use some help. Luckily, we live in a digital age where countless resources are (literally) at your fingertips—in that smartphone, tablet, or laptop that’s glued to your hand 24/7.
Your health is in your hands
Apps can be a convenient way to build a healthy routine that improves mind and body. From healthy eating, to fitness, to finding ways to wind down after a long day, there are tons of apps to choose from.
More tips for choosing apps
Sorting through the thousands of apps that fall under the “health and fitness” label may seem overwhelming, but filtering for what works for you can be easy. Start by talking to a doctor, coach, athlete, health educator, or just a friend who uses apps to help you narrow down what you’re looking for.
Try to find apps that work best for your goals and lifestyle. Beware of apps that are bogged down with ads, and understand that sometimes the most useful apps cost a few bucks. Many will offer a “light” version for free, so you can check out the app before committing to buy it.
Find what works for you
Different apps work best for different people, so find what works for you. If you find one that you like but it’s not available for your device, search your app store using similar keywords.
Here are a few things to think about while exploring:
- Reputation: Talk to people and read reviews to learn which apps have worked for other users.
- Designers: Look for names you recognize. These designers have already been rated by users and often have the money to fix any problems the app may have.
- Reviews: User comments will give you a sense of how the app works. But keep in mind, some people may be more likely to write a negative review than a positive one.
- Downloads: Lots of downloads probably means there’s also a lot of user recommendations.
Here are 15 apps* to help you focus on your health in 2015:
1. Lose It!
by FitNow, Inc.
Certified personal trainer Zac Flanders suggests Lose It! for checking and tracking your food’s nutritional information. You can also receive 24/7 support by connecting with family and friends using the app. Are you the competitive type? The app has a challenge feature where you can compete with people or work together toward a common goal.
by Fooducate, Ltd.
With this app you can use your phone to scan items in the grocery store. Scanned food gets a grade based on how healthy it is, and the app will even offer a healthier substitute if one exists. This is a great way to see the stuff manufacturers try to hide, such as extra sugars and sneaky trans fats.
by Day Logger, Inc.
Drinking enough water each day is necessary for great skin, hair, and health. Are you drinking enough? With this app you can track how much water you drink to make sure you reach your daily goal.
R & R (rest & relaxation)
4. Buddhify 2
by 21awake Ltd.
Meditating can reduce stress and improve quality of life, but it can be tough to fit it into a busy schedule. Buddhify 2 provides you with custom, guided meditations that you can listen to in all kinds of situations, such as while you're online, traveling, or going to sleep.
5. Relax Timer (Sleep Cycle)
by Master B
This app makes relaxing and falling asleep easy by giving you data on your sleep habits, as well as calming audio and alarms.
6. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
by Maciek Drejak Labs
This innovative app uses your phone’s ability to track movement to analyze your sleep. It then tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you at the best time—when you’re in a light phase of sleep—so that you wake up feeling refreshed.
7. Stress Check and Stress Doctor
by Azumio, Inc.
These apps work together to help you manage stress. The first measures changes in your heart rate, a sign of stress. The second teaches deep breathing techniques so you can feel more calm.
8. Just 6 Weeks
by Just Do, Inc.
Flanders recommends this line of apps for people looking to reach exercise goals. The app coaches you through pushups, sit-ups, dips, squats, and pull-ups, all while providing helpful workout reminders and great visuals.
9. Endomondo Sports Tracker
This is one of the most popular fitness apps. It covers every angle of your workout, from the tunes you play to the trails you run. The app even gives audio feedback during your workout—to motivate you like a trainer.
10. Yoga and Pilates with Kristen McGee
by Daphne Borowski
This yoga and pilates combo app is the perfect fit for days when you need to blow off steam. Pilates and yoga workouts target core strength, stretching, and balance. They also focus on the mind/body connection, helping you get rid of stress.
11. Instant Heart Rate
by Azumio, Inc.
Monitoring heart rate is important for cardio and interval training. With this app, you can track your resting and exercising heart rates, and heart rate recovery time.
12. Fitness Buddy
by Azumio, Inc.
If you’re looking for detailed explanations and exercise demos, this app is one of the best. It has photos of each exercise and includes tons of options, with more than 1,700 exercises built in.
This very popular app, available for nearly all smartphones, tablets, and laptops, offers tools for weight and physical activity management. The food and exercise trackers, message boards, and other functions are all free.
14. The Walk
by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman
This app turns an everyday stroll into a game, all while tracking your steps. Before you head out, you choose an episode, and then you walk to find the clues. The more you walk, the more clues are revealed, and the closer you get to saving the world.
by Humanco, Inc.
This fitness app takes a more casual approach, encouraging you to take on the “Daily 30” minutes of physical activity each day, whenever and however you want. Whether walking, skipping, running, dancing, or jumping rope, as long as you’re active for more than a minute, Human will track your movement and let you know when you’ve reached your goal.
Don't have a smartphone? No worries! There are plenty of interactive wellness resources online. Many are offered by the same companies that provide apps, so they're designed to be easy to use.
You can get there!
Take advantage of every resource available and keep your mind open. In addition to apps, don’t forget to surround yourself with other people who care about their health.
Pursuing wellness is a lifetime commitment and a journey.Recognize every milestone you reach and never give up!
* Not all apps available on all devices. App prices vary.
Zac Flanders, BA, certified personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, Canyon, Texas.
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