10 must-have health & fitness apps

Between trying to track your calorie intake and staying on top of your fitness goals, healthy living can sometimes be tricky. Luckily, there are many mobile phone apps to make the process easier. For the best tools to keep you motivated and on track, check out these 10 must-have health and fitness apps

Between trying to track your calorie intake and staying on top of your fitness goals, healthy living can sometimes be tricky. Luckily, there are many mobile phone apps to make the process easier. For the best tools to keep you motivated and on track, check out these 10 must-have health and fitness apps.

Training calendar

To help keep track of your training and schedule fitness activities into a busy week, a training calendar is essential.  Not only will your calendar help you remember to make time for exercise and keep on top of fitness appointments, but it will give an overview of how much (or how little) you are training so that you can track your progress and up your game if necessary.

Alcohol unit calculator

Alcohol is part of many people’s lives but, as we all know, it needs to be enjoyed in moderation. Handy apps which explain your alcohol limits according to your BMI and lifestyle as well as calculating your consumption of alcohol units can be your best friend if you’re dieting, keeping track of your health or want to know your bounds. Often, people don’t realise the extent of their alcohol consumption so apps like this should be an essential.

Pedometer

Research suggests that walking 10,000 steps a day can significantly improve your wellbeing by burning calories, improving energy levels and maintaining a healthy heart. However, many of us fall short of this mark. A pedometer can help track how many steps you are taking, your speed and the approximate number of calories burned. It can also help motivate you to walk more as you see the steps clocking up.

Goal-tracking tools

Setting goals is great for your mental health and happiness and, depending on your objectives, can be great for your fitness levels too. To help you manage and achieve your goals, make sure you download a goal-tracking app where you can list and be reminded of your goals, share them with others for some moral support, analyse your progress and ultimately cross things off your list. These apps are great for increasing motivation and boosting your sense of achievement.

Sleep app

If you’re not of the rare breed that worries about hours wasted while snoozing, you do love your daily dose of slumber. Perhaps you even look forward to it with unnatural enthusiasm. If so, you’re

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If you’re not of the rare breed that worries about hours wasted while snoozing, you do love your daily dose of slumber. Perhaps you even look forward to it with unnatural enthusiasm. If so, you’re doing it right. Apart from being the most relaxing end to a long day, sleeping also has multiple health benefits.

Top 8 health benefits of sleep

Reduces stress: In the case of sleep deficiency, the body’s functions enter a state of high alert, and cause an increase in blood pressure and production of stress hormones. The stress hormones make it harder to sleep and the higher blood pressure amplifies the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

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Mdhil | Photo by Thinkstock
Tue 5 Jun, 2012 4:30 PM IST
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for good health, with research suggesting that sleep can help you live longer, boost your memory and reduce stress. However, many people struggle to switch off after a stressful day and find that their sleep patterns suffer. Luckily, there are a variety of apps available to help you prepare for a restful night, including meditation apps, apps to help you customise a sleeping soundtrack and tools for analysing your sleep habits.

Calorie calculator

It can be tricky to keep track of your calorie consumption when you’re aiming to lose weight, but with a handy calorie counting app you’ll be in the know about how much you’ve consumed, where you can cut back and which foods are taking you over your limit. By totting up the calories contained in the foods you eat you can adopt improved eating habits and maintain a healthy weight. A useful app like this may be simple but is a must-have.

Exercise instructor

With so many different ways to exercise it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming and confusing. Questions like ‘how can I properly stretch my hamstrings?’ and ‘what is the most effective way to tone my stomach?’ can be answered with your own virtual personal trainer app. Images or videos explaining how to carry out certain exercises or stretches will enable you to get the most out of your gym or home workout safely and with confidence.

Heart rate monitor

Achieving an optimum heart rate when you are exercising is a great way to maximise the benefits of your workout, so being able to easily measure it using your phone is a big help. This clever kind of app allows you to place your finger over the phone’s camera, which will then measure your pulse. Simply subtract your age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate, and then aim for 60-80% of this heart rate when you are working out to reach the optimum level.

Run tracker

Run tracker apps use the GPS in your phone to keep a record of a whole host of running stats, including distance, route, average speed and elevation. You can then upload this data to a computer, so you can keep a record of your running progress over time and store the maps of your favourite routes.

Food scanner

Next time you’re out shopping and want to find out the nutritional information of a product, rather than struggling to read the small print on the back of the packet simply use a food scanner app. With this handy piece of tech you can scan a barcode and instantly find out the amount of calories, fat, protein, and much more in a product. Some of these apps will even take the information and suggest healthier alternatives to what you have just scanned.

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