Health holds more attention in the daily lives of Americans than it ever has before – driven in part of exciting workout options and increasingly concerning studies about the negative impact of sedentary lifestyles and obesity. Tech lovers have been shedding pounds and living healthier thanks to a new phenomenon: smartphone health apps.
These small programs run seamlessly on smartphones, enabling users to call up guidance on healthy choices and activities with the swipe of a fingertip. Using smartphone health apps to both track and improve health is smart – because a user’s cell phone is almost always physically nearby, it makes health information, measurements, alerts and efforts more useful. These health apps can also make the process of a healthy lifestyle more engaging, which encourages users to stick with their fitness plan for items like virtual badges, bragging rights and more.
If you’re curious as to what smartphone health apps this tech-health movement has embraced, here are six of the most popular on the market right now.
6 Popular Smartphone Health Apps
Having a great playlist can be motivating, but some would-be exercise buffs need a little something more. Zombies, Run! 2 takes your workout tunes to a whole new level by turning them into a verbal version of the zombie apocalypse. You’ll hear the growling, moaning undead monsters gaining ground behind you, mixed in with your own music and prompts on when you need to sprint for your life. Using the GPS on your smartphone, the app can actually tell how fast you’re going, enabling it to give realistic volume levels on the “approaching” undead, spurring you to push yourself a bit harder to save your brains. Sure, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek, but a lot of former couch potatoes are weighing in on amazing results from this fun game-workout hybrid.
Available: Zombies, Run! 2 is available for both Android and iOs smartphones.
A vital approach to any holistic fitness approach is keeping an eye on food. Even the most diligent regimen can be led astray by an out-of-control diet, which is why having a nutrition app like Lose It! can really make a difference. In addition to a food diary log to keep track of caloric intake, the health app boasts a barcode scanner and impressive database of already-quantified foods to keep painstaking from-scratch entries to a minimum. The premium plan even offers interfacing that works with other high-tech items like smart scales at doctor’s offices. This smartphone health app is a decided advantage in the battle of the bulge.
Available: Lose It! is available for both Android and iOs smartphones, as well as most tablets, Kindle and Nook.
Cost: Free for Basic, $39.99 annually for premium.
Keeping your head in the proverbial game is difficult when you can’t focus or keep yourself centered. Simply Being is one of those smartphone health apps that makes meditation accessible to everyone, complete with customizable features such as nature sounds, vocal instruction, and even the desired length of a meditation session. With extra modules like chakra alignment available to increase the versatility of the app, this is one meditation helper that will help you sync your mind and body and put a little “ohm” into your “oomph.”
Available: Simply Being is available for both Android and iOs smartphones.
No matter what type of exercise you’re tackling, going into it with stiff muscles and tight tendons is a recipe for disaster. Keep sprains and strains at bay with the time-honored tradition of yoga – now available as a smartphone health app.
Pocket Yoga uses a handful of talented trainers, easy-to-follow illustrations and a user-friendly glossary to de-mystify this versatile and beneficial practice. With settings that allow users to pick their difficulty level and overall duration, there’s no worry that you’ll have to grapple with advanced pretzel-like techniques when you still haven’t mastered the downward dog.
Available: Pocket Yoga is available for both Android and iOs smartphones.
Naturally, once health and tech began working together, it was only a matter of time before some really interesting apps popped up on the market. Instant Heart Rate, while it may sound implausible at first, actually takes your pulse rate via the camera on your cell phone. The smartphone app measures the light that passes through your skin and calculates when it dims due to blood pressure moving through your finger.
A running tally that times and dates measurements is kept in the app, making it an ideal log to show a doctor during a physical or other medical exam. With access to regular measurement information, trends and trouble areas are more easily identified, ensuring that problems like high or low blood pressure are noticed and addressed quickly.
Available: Instant Heart Rate is available for Android smartphones.
Vitogo looks and works much like the Pocket Yoga app, offering users a pleasing infographic-like lineup that illustrates various workout exercises and uses trainer recommendations to keep you on track with reps and sets.
The program automatically changes itself ever 4 to 6 weeks to prevent fitness stagnation, keeping you on track with your long-term fitness goals. A built in virtual trophy-earning system keeps things fun, light and just competitive enough to keep you going, and sync capabilities allow you to export your workout information into other popular smartphone health apps and reports for easy tracking.
Available: Vitogo is available on iOs smartphones.
These smartphone health apps take physical activities away from high-pressure expectations and turn them into fun challenges instead. With long hours on the treadmill turned into a zombie-laden game and dieting incorporating a chance to earn trophies, more people are getting in shape.
Whether it’s pixels or personal motivation that gets you up off the couch and out the door, the results are the same: you’ll be happier and enjoy a better quality of life overall. Don’t let hesitation to visit yoga studios or gyms keep you from discovering what you’re capable of – grab your smartphone, open up the app store and find out!
Which smartphone health apps do you use – feel free to share in the comments below.
Please share these smartphone health apps with your friends – you will be thanked for the knowledge.
About the author: Gary Hamilton is president and founder of InteliChart, a health information technology company connecting healthcare organizations, providers, patients, and their communities through integrated solutions. InteliChart’s portal solutions for patients allows people to take an active role in their own health, something Gary loves to help people with. Connect with InteliChart on Twitter and Facebook.