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Published: September, 2014; Vol 11, Num 4

 

A Review:

Eight Handy Apps to Improve Your Health and Wellness

Back in April, we covered five smartphone apps that can help keep Laborers safe on the job. This month, we’ll focus on apps that can help improve your health and wellness off the jobsite.

Below are some of our favorite health and wellness mobile apps across four different categories. We chose these standouts based on a few important criteria:

  • Cost: all of these apps are free
  • Availability: all of these apps are available for both iPhone and Android
  • Popularity: we sought out apps with a large number of downloads, members or positive reviews

These apps will help track your exercise habits and daily calorie intake, guide you toward better nutrition decisions and motivate you to take charge of your health.

Weight Loss

MyFitnessPal

This simple calorie counting app has helped over 50 million people lose weight. There are no fad diets or complicated nutrition programs here – MyFitnessPal educates members about food choices by making it easy to see how many calories are really in the foods you’re eating each day. With over three million foods in its database, seamless integration with Facebook and active message boards, it’s easy to see why MyFitnessPal is such a popular choice.

LoseIt!

With LoseIt!, members set a daily calorie budget, then track the foods they eat to meet this goal. The app makes it easy to share your progress with family and friends, creating a strong support system that will motivate you to make smarter food choices. Those with a competitive side can test themselves in head-to-head challenges with other members or work together to achieve a common goal in team or group-based events.

Exercise

RunKeeper

This exercise app has stood the test of time. RunKeeper uses your smartphone’s GPS system to track your runs, walks or bike rides, delivering instant feedback on your pace, time and distance. The app also stores this data for later, so it’s easy to monitor your progress over time. RunKeeper even delivers audio cues during workouts, telling you to speed up, slow down or maintain your pace to meet your goal. There are plenty of GPS running apps available these days, but RunKeeper gets high marks for its simplicity and the accuracy of its GPS tracking.

Fitocracy

If you’re competitive or looking for a fitness app with more of a social component, check out Fitocracy. Logging workouts earns you points towards the next fitness level, and you’ll also earn badges for milestones, compete in challenges against other members and take on fitness quests for bonus points. The app makes it easy to friend other Fitocrats, follow them and leave comments to cheer them on.

Nutrition

Fooducate

If you want to eat healthy but are overwhelmed by reading nutrition labels and deciphering real benefits from marketing hype, Fooducate is the app for you. Fooducate lets you scan the barcode on a food’s packaging and instantly delivers a grade ranging from A to D based on its nutritional facts and ingredients. The app also explains the grade (e.g., too much added sugar, highly processed, etc.) and offers alternatives in the same category that score higher.

HealthyOut

Enjoy eating out at restaurants but still want to make smart food choices? HealthyOut has you covered. With restaurants for over 500 cities across the country, HealthyOut quickly searches restaurant menus and delivers dishes that match the criteria you choose. The app lets users sort by a number of options including calories, type of cuisine or more specific choices like low carb, heart healthy, paleo or gluten free.

Medical

QuitNow!

With over one million downloads, QuitNow! is a popular choice to help people deal with the anxiety and other emotions that often accompany quitting smoking. Aside from community support from others trying to quit, you’ll also get information on how your health has improved since your last cigarette, how much money you’ve saved and how many cigarettes you’ve avoided.

WebMD

Take the popular health information website on the go with the WebMD app. Just like the website, you can research conditions, check symptoms and possible causes, access drug and treatment information and check local health listings. Note that WebMD should not be used as a replacement for seeing your health care provider.

Do you use health and wellness mobile apps that aren’t on this list? Which apps have you recommended to your friends and family? Let us know by sending us an email. We want to hear from you!

[Nick Fox]