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MEDIA // ARTICLE

Hot Health Apps

February 25, 2019

Whether you jumped on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon, or you’re always focused on fitness and nutrition, there’s probably a health focused app out there to help you reach your goals. We’re introducing five hot health apps that do everything from tracking your gym visits to encouraging you to keep a food diary. Most of these apps are available on both an iPhone and Android device, and they’re all focused on improving your health and adding convenience. Best of all- they’re all free!

Let’s start with one of the most versatile apps, MyFitnessPal. Started initially in 2005 as a website, MyFitnessPal tracks everything you eat, keeping it in an easily accessible and useable program on your phone. It also keeps records of your workouts- basically tracking the calories you consume verses the ones you burn. Numerous studies have shown that keeping track of what you eat and what you do, helps you lose weight. MyFitnessPal is a testament to those claims, with over 150 million pounds lost by 65 million users over the years.

MyFitnessPal has an easy to use database with over 4,150,000 food items- and that database grows every day. It also keeps a memory of food items you use often, so you can access them again and again. One more cool tool: you can scan almost any packaged food item’s bar code and MyFitnessPal will add the nutrition information for you!

The app’s fitness database has two categories: cardiovascular and strength. You just put in the activity, like running, swimming or crunches, and the amount of time you spent doing each activity. The app estimates how many calories you burned doing that activity, and subtracts it from your daily allowed calories intake. Set your goals according to your body type and whether you want to lose or maintain weight, and MyFitnessPal will help you get there!

The next app actually physically tracks your workout using GPS. First launched in 2008, RunKeeper allows users to track activities like walking, running and cycling, and to see detailed statistics about their pace, distance and time. RunKeeper tracks those statistics and progress, and can offer coaching tips to help you reach your fitness goals.

You can share your personal content with friends on Facebook and Twitter, adding an accountability aspect to your workout. Posting weekly runs is rewarding for more runners, and gives them an extra incentive to keep to a schedule. RunKeeper also allows you to track your personal records and set goals for yourself, whether it be a weight loss goal, a distance goal, or a time goal. You can then view your past goals and set new ones accordingly.

GymPact actually runs in conjunction with applications like MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper. Around since 2012, GymPact offers for monetary rewards for healthy living. It also penalizes you if you don’t complete your goals. Hooked up to your credit card, every week you set a goal, and attach a monetary value to that goal. For instance, if you pledge to run three times this week, with a $5 penalty (the minimum), you’ll be charged $15 for the full week if you skip all three workouts. If you complete each workout, you’ll earn a cash prize (averaging about $0.25-0.50 per instance) compiled from the penalties of users who didn’t meet their goals.

GymPact offers three goals- fitness, veggie eating and food logging. The fitness goals are monitored using GPS apps like RunKeeper. Your servings of fruits and vegetables are accounted for by posting photos of your food. Food logging is monitored through apps like MyFitnessPal.

The idea behind GymPact is that people are more prone to follow through on healthy goals if there is a monetary penalty attached. If the health benefits of eating right or going to the gym aren’t enough motivation for you, then this app may be the one for you!

As a health-conscious person, you already know eating right and working out aren’t the only aspects of healthy living. Taking your medication, supplements and vitamins is also an important part of staying fit. But if you have trouble remembering to take your pills, then you’ll want to check out Mango Health.

The Mango Health app allows you to add in any medications, supplements or vitamins you’d like to keep track of, including what time of day or what day of the week you take them. This generates a notification with an audible chime. When prompt, you tell the app whether you took the pill, you didn’t take the pill, or if you’d like it to remind you in 15 minutes. Mango Health keeps track of all your medication, and gives you background information on your drugs. It’ll tell you dosage instructions, safety info, and potentially dangerous interactions between medications.

Mango Health also lets you know when it’s time to refill your prescriptions, so you’ll never miss a dosage again. The app, like GymPact, rewards you with points when you consistently take your pills. Those rewards points can be used to buy gift cards and coupons.

Another important aspect of healthy living is getting enough sleep. Cell phone use right before bed isn’t recommended because the screens stream wavelengths of blue light. That blue light at night keeps you alert by suppressing your body’s production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. But what about cell phone use during sleep? It could actually help you sleep better!

Sleep apps like SleepBot track information about your sleep cycle. They record how long you slept, how well (based on movement), and any noise like snoring or sleep talking. You can also take notes on your sleep habits. The idea is that by noticing your sleep habits, you can learn ways you can get a better night’s rest.

SleepBot is also an intelligent alarm clock. You set your alarm clock for a half hour period of time. It monitors your movement, and won’t alarm until it notices you’re in your lightest state of sleep. That way you’re alarm isn’t going off when you’re in a deep sleep, and you should wake up feeling more refreshed.

So, whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or sleep better, as Apple Inc. says, “There’s an app for that”!