Discipline has gone digital. It’s no longer that nagging voice inside your head that goads you into doing another push-up or pushing away that dessert tray.
Now, as with everything else in modern life, there’s an app for that. Apple’s Health apps can act as the interlocutors between us and our daily, and sometimes unhealthy, routines. And they are ideally suited for the job.
The near-umbilical connection we have to our smartphones ensures that encouragement, discipline, or shame, are never far away. Whether you are looking to lose some weight, train extra hard for an upcoming marathon or even to quit smoking, the market has been flooded with apps up to the challenge to get you into shape.
Here is a list of seven of the best IOS Health apps.
#7 Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal
Throw out your old kitchen scale and food diary; you have the Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal now. Everyone knows that the key to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves keeping track of what you eat.
Only some nutrition apps have ulterior motives. They try to pigeonhole you into following a specific diet or routine; no-carbs one day, Paleo diet the next. But MyFitnessPal honestly acts like a friendly scorekeeper, merely cataloging your food intake so you can track how well (or how poorly) you are meeting your goals.
Who knew that the simplest of exercises could be so complicated? But like with most things we should be doing but don’t, going for a run requires a lot more than a good pair of Nikes.
Running as an exercise may be open to anyone, but just thinking about the strain is enough to keep people planted on their couches. An app like Runkeeper turns the tables though.
When you sign up, you can choose what kind of routine you want to follow. Runkeeper takes the reins from there. It sends you polite reminders the night before your run day, and then sends you congratulatory messages when you finish your run.
The app also keeps track of all the exterior impediments to your daily route. This way you can plan your route more carefully, and even set up milestones along the way to push you even further.
#5 FitStar Personal Trainer
For the hardcore, workout fanatics, who don’t need to be coddled or encouraged to hit the gym or blast their quads, there is the FitStar Personal Trainer. The app is free, and your download gets you at least two training sessions a week.
Even the free version lets you customize your workouts based on your preferences. You can then upgrade your account for only $5 a month so that you can choose from any of the app’s plethora of workout routines. It also collects data on every workout, telling you everything from how many calories you’ve burned to whether or not you’ve achieved your workout goals.
In the age of smartphones and vape pens, it’s no wonder that the two would be employed to help people quit smoking. Your vapor pens may help you indulge your nicotine cravings, but if you want to leave nicotine altogether, the QuitGuide app may be the way to go.
QuitGuide helps you sketch out your smoking habits, identifies your triggers and keeps sending you inspirational messages to stave off your cravings. With recent research espousing the effectiveness of text messages to keep people motivated, QuitGuide exchanges these messages for every time you input a craving. New to the 2018 upgrade is the ability to mark specific locations and times of the day where and when you felt a craving, so you can either plan around them or avoid them altogether.
Even though teen smoking rates have been falling since the 1970s (the vape pen now rules supreme), the QuitS
tart app is for all those young smokers who have already exhausted smoking’s “cool” factor and are now ready to quit for good.
The app is free and it takes all your pertinent information (smoking history, daily use, triggers) and builds a profile around your particular story. After your profile is complete, the app will send you tailor-made messages, and tips that conform to your specific relationship with Lady Nicotine.
The app, although geared toward young people, can also be used by adults. Given its core audience, the app also makes full use of social media and lets you share tips with fellow quitters and track your progress as compared to other friends.
Stress plays havoc with your health. Working out and physical activity are great bulwarks against high-stress levels. But if you don’t always have time for a physical release, downloading a meditation app like Buddhify can also bring down your levels of worry.
The app works by offering you various guided meditations that you can listen to while you’re on the go or in the office working. If you already have experience meditating, there is an unguided option as well, which works through a timer built into the app.
There are also meditation tips that you can store or read throughout the day to soothe your frayed nerves or use to burrow deeper into your consciousness. The app also comes with a stats tracker so you can measure the length and intensity of your meditation sessions.
When it comes to living a healthier life, most of us focus on the big things: daily exercise, eating better, sleeping more. But some of us forget about the little things too; micro transgressions that we do probably without even noticing we do them. Things like putting sugar into your coffee, sneaking a tiny piece of cake, or having one last cocktail before last call.
Habitbull keeps track of all of it, and based on the information it gleans, you can then make a budget for your body, and restrict, or indulge, accordingly. Even though Habitbull isn’t your typical fitness or nutrition app dedicated to a specific area, its scope and aim are much wider.
Building a healthier lifestyle necessitates more than just a one-hour SoulCycle class or switching from cigarettes to a vaporizer pen. It requires switching unhealthy habits for healthy ones. This change can happen on many levels, from the macro to the micro. Habitbull is the one app that can help you foster change on both levels.
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About the Author: Phyllis Baker is the PR manager of the quitting smoking community, professional journalist and the blogger specializing in health issues.