The internet is overflowing with different diet advice. New “healthy” fads pop up constantly. It can be challenging to figure out what’s actually good for you. Your smartphone is a powerful and flexible tool for capturing information related to your health. There are various ways that your phone can do this, such as the popular apps or devices described below.
Some apps span multiple categories, allowing the user several ways for capturing health information. Fortunately, many of us carry finely-tuned habit-forming devices in our pockets all day. The best habit apps either prompt you to do something; helping you form a new habit or help you modify and improve your existing ones.
Applications that help you improve your health include:
- Sleep cycle: Our sleep is controlled by neurotransmitters chemicals which pass signals from the brain to the neurons and nerve cells. When we sleep, some activities take place within the brainstem, the area where the spinal cord and brain are joined. Norepinephrine and serotonin are neurotransmitters which are produced by the brainstem neurons which helps in maintaining brain activity as we sleep. The two neurotransmitters are also responsible for switching off signals that are transmitted to the brain when we are awake. According to researchers, the body produces Adenosine when we are awake and as this accumulates, we end up feeling drowsy. The reverse happens when we fall asleep because the body breaks it down. Waking up easy is all about timing. Sleep Cycle alarm clock tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to identify sleep states, tracking your movements in bed. Sleep Cycle uses a wake-up phase (30 minutes by default) that ends at your desired alarm time. During this phase, Sleep Cycle will monitor signals from your body to wake you softly when you are in the lightest possible sleep stage. The sleep stage is divided into 5 stages:
- Introduction of sleep
- Beginning of sleep
- Slow wave sleep
- Deep sleep
- Rapid Eye Movement stage
For the sleep cycle to function very well, you can change modes under Settings > Motion detection (if Alarm is turned On in Settings). Microphone: The built-in microphone is used to analyze your movements as you sleep. It’s important that you place your phone correctly by placing the face down.
2. Charity miles: Charity Miles is a free iPhone/Android app that enables you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity whenever you walk, run or bike. Move with purpose and earn money for charity. Charity Miles makes earning money for a cause a simple and rewarding experience. The app could stand a few improvements that would make it easier to understand, but overall it’s a wonderful fitness app that’s well worth using. Charity miles is one of the top health and fitness apps in the Apple and Android apps. The app lets you log all types movement from running and walking to dancing and biking. It allows you to be a mover and changemaker in any way that fits your lifestyle. For every mile you move, you earn money for your charity from the corporate sponsorship pool. In charity miles, corporate sponsorships are subtle. Raising money for charity by entering marathons takes a lot of time and effort, and not everyone has it. The Charity Miles app lets anyone earn a little bit of money for a charity of their choice, and it can really add up over time. Purpose-wise, Charity Miles is an admirable app, though it could stand some usability improvements.
3. Loose it: Lose It is the world’s most fun and effective weight loss program. The app helps you set your goal, and track the foods you love to lose weight. It’s simple: You use it, you lose it. Lose It! claims to help set your daily calorie budget, and set and work towards goals for nutrient intake, weight loss, exercise, blood pressure, hydration, and more. They have a database to search all types of foods and exercise for easy logging. You can also scan food packages, in addition to taking pictures of your food. The ability to connect with your family and friends on the app allows you to get extra support. Challenges are offered where you can compete with others or work with others to help you achieve your goals. The How is a section that gives you information about nutrition and fitness topics. This app can connect to your fitness tracker, device, or other apps. Next, the app wants to know your goal weight, and how quickly you would like to reach that goal. Then it gives you a date you should reach your goal by. A one-pound weight loss per week is very realistic and doable. Setting your pace in the middle of the bar is a good thing. This app is unique to others because it also shows your nutrient intake. It will show a pie graph that breaks down how much protein, carbs, and fat you are eating in grams and percentage.
4. 8fit: 8fit helps you build healthy habits for life with simple, made-for-you solutions that embrace your differences, your struggles and your successes – all that makes us human. The 8fit approach draws on powerful pairings: between nutrition and exercise, mind and body, and 8fit and you. 8fit app combines High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and yoga workouts designed to be done anywhere, anytime with “wholesome, nutritious meal plans based on real food,” customized by food group or specific ingredients. The customised plans are tailored to an individual’s current fitness level and goals, whether that goal is weight loss, muscle gain, improved endurance, or simply more confidence. education is key to motivation and therefore is an important element to helping people get fit and healthy. 8fit meets you where you are and guides you toward achieving your goals.
5. Fooducate: Fooducate is an easy-to-use, free smartphone app that helps you make healthier food choices. To use it, scan a packaged item’s bar code or search for food items and you’ll see its letter grade (A to D) with an explanation of its nutritional benefits, or lack thereof. Fooducate uses an algorithm to grade foods, selecting a rank from a list of 10 grades from A to D. Food can earn an A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc. The more natural, healthful, and less processed a food is, the higher grade it will receive. Fooducate only uses publicly available information when evaluating a product. Fooducate allows users to see a food product’s nutrition grade through a barcode scanning app, enabling them to make healthier choices.
6. Health App: The health App is mainly for iPhone or iPod users. The Health app gathers health data from your iPhone, Apple Watch, and apps that you already use, so you can view all your progress in one convenient place. Health highlights four categories: Activity, Sleep, Mindfulness, and Nutrition. Health automatically counts your steps, walking, and running distances. The Health app makes it easy to learn about your health and start reaching your goals. It consolidates health data from iPhone, Apple Watch, and third-party apps you already use, so you can view all your progress in one convenient place. And it recommends other helpful apps to round out your collection making it simpler than ever to move your health forward. For the Health App to function effectively, it is important to:
- Add your personal information
- Add data from your apps to Health
- View data from your Apple Watch
- View your daily progress
- Add data from other sources
- Back up your health information