Apps by Which to Live Healthily
How many times you have thought of modifying your everyday routine, adding some physical activity in it, doing some yoga, starting with a bit of jogging, joining a gym, or even keeping a tab on what you eat! That first day of starting it all rarely comes and if it does come, the enthusiasm goes for a toss after a week or so, and you are back to the same lifestyle, this time unhappy with yourself. Then you give yourself reasons for not being able to do what was required. ‘If only I could afford a nutritionist to keep a check on my food and create healthy everyday menus.’ ‘If only I could appoint a personal trainer to check my exercise routine or could have a yoga trainer coming home.
Well, many of these ifs and buts have been well understood by new-age geeks who have used digital technology to create software applications that can act like your personal assistant while costing you almost nothing. All that you need is a simple smartphone, a tablet, or even a personal computer, and then download these apps and trust the technology.
Indeed, many of these apps can actually help you in bringing about the change that you always wanted to see in your lifestyle. Team Consumer Voice did a thorough Internet search, read hundreds of reviews, tried a few apps themselves, and shortlisted a few apps that stand out in the clutter (there are thousands of apps free to be downloaded).
We have segmented these apps in categories with a short brief on each – all you have to do for more details and to download the same is to either follow the mentioned URL or Google them by their names.
PERSONAL FITNESS APPS
- Cardio Trainer [www.worksmartlabs.com] Follow the yellow brick road or just use the GPS on this app, which lets users track just about every detail of their workout. The product comes with a pedometer and workout playlists and provides instant feedback through voice notifications. And do not forget the fun bit: compete against other exercisers in a game called Move Your Bot. Available for free on Android.
- Vitogo [www.vitogo.com] What good is a personal trainer that does not fit in a gym bag? Customized workout programmes guide users through exercises with tips and videos. Whether the goal is losing weight, building muscle, or increasing endurance, Vitogo’s got it covered. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – to be soon out on Android, so says the website.
- JEFIT [www.jefit.com] Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is just getting to the gym, and Jefit understands that. Beginners can try this app that lets users create a workout schedule, track their progress, and search for new exercises. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- Fitness Builder [www.fitnessbuilder.com] Browse a huge selection of instructional workout videos and get all the tools necessary to achieve fitness goals: a live personal trainer, fitness calculators, progress reports, and more. The app also helps therapy professionals create customized plans for clients. It gives free subscription for the first month. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- Nike Boom [Find it on iTunes] This app creates the perfect exercise routine with upbeat music and audio motivation from coaches. Users can also opt to raise money for cancer research through Livestrong, publicizing their progress to social media connections. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Nike Training Club [Find it on iTunes] This is Nike’s personal training app exclusively for women. Users enter their current fitness levels and find exercises that help them reach their goals. And fitness gets fancy when users try workouts from celebrities, professional athletes and trainers who are part of this exclusive club. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- StrongLifts 5x5 [Find it on iTunes] StrongLifts guides users through a strength training workout, with instructions on exercises to try and how much weight to lift. The app compares users’ exercise performance to earlier workouts and sends motivational messages when they meet their goals. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- iFightBack [Find it on iTunes] Fitness with martial arts – get knocked down and get back up again with this self-defense training app. Users browse videos that teach them how to defend themselves in common situations like getting stuck in an elevator with an attacker. All segments feature the founder of the Self Defense Training System, used worldwide. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
WORKOUT TRACKING APPS
- Fitocracy [www.fitocry.com]workout tracking app
It is all fun and games with the Fitocracy app. Users track their workouts, earn points for exercising, and compete against other members of the Fitocracy community. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
- MyFitnessPal [www.myfitnesspal.com] This one is much popular in the United States and Europe. The app lets users track their daily activity and food intake. Nutritional info is available for almost any food. The app even comes with a barcode scanner, so users can find out this cereal’s not so nutritious before they buy it. Get support from friends with similar health goals and track each other’s progress. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry, Android and Windows.
- GymPact [www.gym-pact.com] Gympact users earn money when they check in at the gym from their smartphones. If they skip a session on the elliptical, they lose the money they paid to sign up. It is available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Workout Trainer [www.skimble.com] This app from Skimble gives users exercise advice from personal trainers. Get photo, video and audio instruction while working out, whether the focus is yoga or weightlifting. And let pals know what those muscles are up to by sharing workouts on social media. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- GymBuddy [www.anywiseenterprises.com] Everybody needs a gym buddy. Log workouts and track progress toward fitness goals by recording exercise schedules, workout results, body weight and BMI. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Fleetly Fitness [www.fleetly.com] Almost anyone can benefit from the tools included in Fleetly Fitness. Users get detailed instructions for exercises that match their specific fitness level and goals, and then track their progress with training logs and charts. You can join challenges with friends to see who can get fit fastest. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Alpine Replay [www.alpinereplay.com] Take the slopes by storm with this app that records all the details of a skiing workout. Users track their speed, distance, vertical, and calorie burn, and see how they have improved over the course of the season. Compare stats with friends to see whose skiing skills reign supreme. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- Runtastic [www.runtastic.com] This is one of the most popular apps across the globe. The Runtastic technology measures running time and distance, plus how many calories runners burn. Users track their progress toward fitness goals; they can even send friends live updates and photos of the wind in their hair. Other versions are designed for walking, road biking, mountain biking and winter sports. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Bada.
- MapMyRun [www.mapmyrun.com] MapMyRun tracks runners’ exact paths as they cross the globe on foot. Plus the app records other features of a workout like speed, distance, pace and calories burned. Users can share their achievements with comrades on social media. There are also versions for walking, hiking, biking and triathlons. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
- Nike + GPS [Find it on iTunes] This app offers users a GPS and a coach on the go. Track running routes and record the pace and distance of every workout. Post live updates on social media and hear cheers every time friends check out the status. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Couch-to-5k [www.easeinto5k.bluefinapps.com] Running newbies have all the tools they need with this app – starting from an eight-week workout schedule with detailed instructions every step of the way, plus tools to keep track of progress. You can post updates on social media and let friends know how close you are to the 5K mark. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- RunKeeper [www.runkeeper.com] This app can track users’ progress at any outdoor workout. The GPS lets users know where they are running, how fast they are going, and whether they have burned off those breakfast calories yet. It is even possible to design interval workouts based on time or distance. Record progress and share updates with friends on social media. Other versions track activities like walking and cycling. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Windows and Android.
- Runmeter GPS [www.abvio.com] Thousands of walkers, runners, skiers and others log their workouts with this app from DailyMile. A GPS is only part of the package – users also track their time, location, distance and speed, and hear audio announcements announcing their progress! Other similar apps (including some free ones) track running, walking and cycling. Available on the iPhone, iPad and Android.
- miCoach [www.adidas.com] miCoach is the running app from Adidas. Never feel alone with real-time audio coaching throughout a workout. Create a customized workout plan every day; then measure time, distance, pace and calories burned. The app even keeps track of fancy footwork, letting users know when to replace their shoes. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
- Pocket Yoga [www.pocket-sports.com]
- Do surya namaskar on the train, on the sidewalk, or in the comfort of home – this app lets users take the benefits of yoga virtually anywhere. Choose a difficulty level and then downward dog into 27 different video sessions. Refer to the handy dictionary of yoga poses anytime. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- All-in Yoga [www.mobile.viaden.com] Everybody’s different, and this app lets users create a personalized yoga programme based on fitness level, goals and lifestyle. Then perfect each pose with photo, video and audio instructions. The app even adds some relaxing tunes in the background. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
NUTRITION and WEIGHT LOSS APPS
- Fooducate [www.fooducate.com] iPhone chose it as 2011’s best health and fitness app. Fooducate turns smartphones into scanners. Pick a food product and scan the barcode to get all the details on the nutrients inside. Users can even compare different items to find the healthiest, tastiest and most affordable choice. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- ShopWell [www.shopwell.com] ShopWell rates thousands of food products based on users’ specific nutritional needs. Whip out the smartphone on the next supermarket visit to get a personal shopping list with the best options around. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Whole Foods Market Recipes [www. wholefoodsmarket.com] This app is the ‘whole foods’ dictionary. Search for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes that use only natural and organic foods. There are options for specific diets like gluten-free and vegan. And amateur chefs are welcome — enter the ingredients currently in the fridge and the app figures out how to combine them in a healthy concoction. For more adventurous chefs, the Whole Foods Market Missions app offers ways to prepare less conventional healthy meals. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Caffeine Zone [www.frankritter.com] Designed by a psychology professor, this brandnew technology monitors users’ caffeine levels to let them know when it is time to have coffee and when should it be avoided. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; the ‘lite’ version (it includes advertisements) is free.
- Weight Watchers Mobile [www.weightwatchers. com] The technology makes dining out a little easier for dieters: enter a menu item and the app calculates the PointsPlus value. Stay motivated 24/7 with weight-loss tips, recipe ideas and a network of Weight Watchers members. Also check out the Kitchen Companion and Calculator Apps, which make Weight Watchers membership a little easier. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- MealSnap [www.mealsnap.com] Users take a photo of their meal and the DailyBurn app gives a rough idea of the nutritional info and the calories. It is also possible to share meals on social networks so friends can drool when they see the nutritious Nicoise salad you ate for lunch. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- MyPlate Calorie Tracker [www.livestrong.com] This Livestrong.com app offers almost all the benefits of a nutritionist and personal trainer. It works with MyPlate online, where users can determine a target calorie range. Enter the calorie goal and search more than a million food items for nutritional information. A fitness database also includes different activities and how many calories each one burns. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry and Windows.
- Noom Weight Loss Coach [www.noom.com] It offers personal tips based on users’ weight-loss progress. (One example from the site reads: ‘You have your scheduled shopping trip at noon. Time to burn some calories at the mall!’) Sneaky sensors on the phone record physical activity and users manually enter their daily food intake. Earn points for sticking to the programme and share successes on Noom forums. Available for free on Android.
STRESS REDUCTION APPS
- Stress Check [www.azumio.com] Stop stress in its tracks with this app from Azumio. The technology uses physiological signals to measure stress levels. And by tracking this data over time, the app helps users figure out what situations are causing them the most grief. Azumio also offers stress-reduction apps for biofeedback training and monitoring heart rate. Available on the iPhone.
- Relax and Rest Guided Meditations [www. meditationoasis.com] Choose from a range of meditations that focus on breathing or full-body relaxation; then add music or nature sounds for a moment of peace. Or try other Meditation Oasis apps for meditation music and techniques to reduce anxiety. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Sleep Cycle [www.sleepcycle.com] Good morning, sunshine! This bio-alarm clock tracks users’ sleep patterns and rouses them when they’re in the lightest sleep phase, for the least torturous wake-up possible. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE APPS
- HealthTap Express [www.healthtap.com] This app puts a doctor in your phone. Just enter the question on HealthTap Express and a doctor will respond within a few minutes. The service is available 24/7, so even when a fever strikes at 3 am, someone will be ready with information. Users can also find local doctors and check out their tips before an appointment. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
- MyQuit Coach [www.livestrong.com] This one helps smokers quit, with options to stop the habit gradually or right away. Users get inspirational photos and tips and see their progress on personal charts. And a community of supporters is always available on Livestrong.com and social media. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Skeletal System Pro [www. applications.3d4medical.com] Chosen as one of the best medical apps of 2011, Skeletal System Pro lets doctors see the inner workings of the human body. The app features 3D, rotatable images of the human skeleton, plus animations of different body movements. It’s a great tool for medical students, too, complete with quizzes and hints. There are also versions for the muscle system, heart, brain, knee, hip and shoulder. Available on the iPad.
- Epocrates [www.epocrates.com] Doctors can avoid prescribing Prozac for a paper cut with this extensive mobile drug reference. There is information on clinical, generic and over-thecounter drugs, plus tools for identifying pills and determining proper dosages. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm and Windows mobile.
- SkinScan [www.skinscanapp.com] SkinScan users upload photos of moles to find out if they’re dangerous. The app provides a preliminary risk assessment to see if a medical visit is necessary. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- GlucoseBuddy [www.glucosebuddy.com]
This app may be just what diabetics have been waiting for. Users monitor blood glucose levels, record when they take medication, and track their food intake and activity. Available for free on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
- Green Kitchen [Find it on iTunes] From the bloggers at GreenKitchenStories comes this extensive collection of organic, vegetarian recipes, complete with mouthwatering photos. To make life easier, upload ingredients right to a shopping list and get easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Cookwell [Find it on iTunes] It’s designed for beginners who want to learn how to cook nutritious food. Create weekly meal plans and grocery lists, plus find practical recipes for meals and snacks. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Substitutions [www.gormaya.com] This app lets users figure out how to recreate recipes so the food meets their dietary restrictions. There are recipes for meals, snacks, baked goods and even alcoholic drinks, with substitutions for meat, gluten and more. Other Gormaya apps feature recipe timers and cooking conversions. Available on the iPad.
- CookingLight Quick & Healthy Menu Maker [www.cookinglight.com] This app helps solve the problem of how to prepare healthy, tasty food on a tight schedule. Find recipes and photos of satisfying meals, complete with nutritional info. Share favorites on social media. Available on the iPhone and iPad.
- Memory Trainer Pro [www.raptlook.com] Memory Trainer Pro can help those who just want to try a little mental exercise. Users make their way through 15 levels of memory games, from the standard ‘memory card’ game to ‘ABC123’, with sequences of letters and numbers. Available on the iPhone and iPad.
- Brain Trainer [www.lumosity.com] The Brain Trainer app finds tons of exercises that improve memory, enhance concentration and increase creativity. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Palm Pre and Android.
- Awareness [www. ronitherzfeld.com] The app sends inspirational messages throughout the day to keep users calm and focused. Users can also journal their feelings and track this data to improve their attitudes and behaviour. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.