I am a big fan of better living through technology, and I want to share some of the apps I’ve used lately to improve my health. I’ve talked about my love for my Fitbit before, but it really has been a great investment for me. But even if you don’t want to spring for the Fitbit, I’ve rounded up 6 free healthy apps to help you reach your fitness and sleep goals.
Fitbit does it all
Since buying my Fitbit, I’ve lost 8 pounds (I’ve been up and down a bit, so really, since May I’m down 8 pounds.) I have the *Fitbit Flex, which is a little electronic stick that pops inside of a rubber bracelet. You wear it all the time, and it tracks how many steps you take during the day. It also tracks how many times you are awake or restless in your sleep. It ties in to an app on your phone or desktop which displays your numbers.
The app also allows you to manually enter additional information. For example, if you lift weights you can log that and get credit for the calories burned. You can enter the food you eat and track your daily calories. It also allows you to set weight loss goals and calculates how many calories you can eat per day to reach your goal. You can even track how much water you drink in a day.
As I’ve said before, I love my Fitbit. I’m always sad to have to take it off to charge for a couple hours! It’s been really useful to see how I sleep, and how it’s improved when I take a calcium and magnesium supplement at night. Tracking calories helped me to realize I was eating way too much, and tracking water helped me realize I wasn’t drinking enough. This is seriously one of my best investments from the last year.
However, if you don’t think Fitbit is for you, I’ve found some apps which do bits and pieces of what the Fitbit allows you to do. I’ve also got a couple apps that help with relaxation, sleep and even exercise. Check out these 6 free healthy apps for health! All are available for both Android and iPhone unless otherwise noted.
Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal allows you to enter everything you eat and tracks your calories. Lots of common foods are already in their “dictionary” so you can type in “apple” and choose the closest fit to what you’ve just eaten. You can add your own foods to the app and manually add your calories. It’s a great way to stay aware of how much you’re really eating.
Water Time Pro allows to track how much water you drink daily. You can set alerts so that your phone reminds you to drink water. Mine’s set to remind me every hour. It has a cute water drop that will look really sad if you don’t “feed” it water!
(Android only, though there are plenty of similar free apps for iPhone users.)
Couch to 5K (C25K) provides an eight week plan that prepares beginners to run a 5K. It tells you exactly what to do in your three-times-a-week workouts. When you do the workout, it tells you when to run and when to walk. It works alongside music services like Pandora and Spotify so you can still listen to music while you train. I’m still in the first week (I had to repeat day one because I had a hard time with it) but hopefully I’ll be a real runner soon!
You’ve probably heard all the hype about Pokemon Go! It’s a free app that was just released in the United States last week. The app encourages you to get outside and walk, and a stroll through any urban area will have you discovering and “capturing” Pokemon on your screen. It sounds a little stupid but is weirdly addictive. Check local parks and museums for lots of fun! Here’s a great article on how to get started.
MHK – Meditation the Hare Krishna Way provides a selection of meditation exercises for the heart, mind and body. Yes, it’s linked to Hare Krishna, an offshoot of Hinduism. However, there aren’t any religious overtones to it. It’s just some relaxation exercises and chants you can listen to and work through on your phone. I’ve used it a few times before bed and usually fall asleep by the time the second exercise is complete.
Speaking of sleep, I used to have a really hard time falling asleep when I lived in a noisy apartment complex. I hate wearing earplugs, so I decided to try to drown out the noise with the Relax and Sleep app on my phone. It plays a variety of sounds like white noise, ocean waves and birds singing. You can play several sounds simultaneously, building your own perfect sound combination for sleep. I like “air conditioner” for white noise to drown out the neighbors. Rain is good too. It allows you to set a timer so it doesn’t play all night.
(There’s a similarly named “Relax and Sleep Well” app that is NOT this one. Watch out for that!)
Do you use apps to improve your health? What are your favorite healthy apps? Tell me in the comments!
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