Join Our Mailing List
Use mobile technology to feel better every day
(April, 2013) Apps are such a part of our daily lives, it sort of feels like weâve always had them, so itâs somewhat mind-boggling when you realize that the Apple App Store (the first app distribution service) became a reality on July 10, 2008. Thatâs less than five years ago!
To get some perspective on how quickly our dependence upon apps has grown, during Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that at that time the App Store had 650,000 available apps to download, as well as “an astounding 30 billion apps” downloaded from the app store until that date. App-arently, we canât get enough of them!
With that in mind, we decided it might be fun to take a quick look at just a few of the apps that have been designed to help you be healthier, both mentally and physically. Some of them have won awards, and some are user favorites. All are designed to make your life better, which just may make you really APPY!
The Happier app is based on studies showing that people who write down a few positive things about their day report feeling happier, less anxious and more optimistic. According to the folks who created this sweet little app, research has also shown that happiness is contagious. If you have a friend who is positive, youâre 15% more likely to be positive. Theyâve discovered that being happier isnât simply more enjoyable. Positive thinking and increased optimism have been linked to significant health benefits.
Happier helps you to capture and collect happy moments and then share them with family and friends. This process also allows you to discover exactly what makes you happier. When you experience the things that make you feel good, you may be encouraged to do them more often.
The reviews are glowing, although at the moment this app is only available for the iPhone or iPod Touch. An Android version is coming soon!
SparkPeopleâs mission is to SPARK millions of PEOPLE to reach their goals and lead healthier lives. They offer nutrition, health, and fitness tools, support, and resources that are 100% free, and available for iPhone and Android devices.
Their weight loss program teaches people to stop dieting and transition to a permanent, healthy lifestyle. Far beyond just weight loss, SparkPeople helps everyone learn to eat better and exercise regularly for life. And people who donât want to lose weight can still join and benefit from SparkPeople’s tools, resources and community features. In addition to informative articles and interactive tools, such as fitness trackers and meal plans, members can find support and encouragement from their vibrant, positive community of members and experts. They pride themselves in offering medically accepted weight-loss and healthy lifestyle recommendations that are easy to understand and implement.
All the components of their program mix in an element of fun so that their members truly do stick with their programs. With over three million members, theyâve witnessed thousands of success stories firsthand, discovering that using sound nutrition and regular exercise as a âspringboardâ for success helps their members find greater enjoyment in life and strive for even more goals, creating their own real-life adventures!
Fooducate is a free mobile app (Android, iPhone) that empowers supermarket shoppers to make healthy choices effortlessly. The app enables consumers to automatically scan the barcodes of food products, and instantly see how nutritious they really are â knowledge that is leading to changes in their purchase decisions. Fooducateâs scientific algorithms generate a letter grade (A, B, C, or D) for each product scanned, along with brief explanations and warnings about its nutrients and ingredients. Users are just one click away from viewing similar, but healthier alternatives. The Fooducate app has been downloaded over 1 million times and has been used to scan over 10 million products so far. Fooducate recommends minimally processed, real foods that are naturally rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Chosen by Apple as the best health app of the year! And for the Android this helpful little app took 1st place in the US Surgeon General’s Healthy App Challenge.
Lose It! is a mobile application and website that has helped millions of users lose more than 7 million pounds since it was created in 2008. Lose It! combines a medically sound approach to weight loss, mobile technology, social networking and game dynamics to create a truly engaging way for people to become more healthy
Lose It! helps users make healthy choices by setting a clear calorie budget, by permitting users to track their fitness and activity level, and by providing them insight into their nutrition (including a great ‘MyPlate’ report on Loseit.com as well a set of badges that reward users for their adherence to MyPlate fruit and vegetable guidelines). In addition, Lose It! integrates with wireless devices such as the Fitbit tracker and Withings wireless scale, making it easy to track your activity and weight change without entering any data in Lose It!. Sharing is easy- you can have reports emailed daily or weekly, share your progress on Facebook or Twitter, or download your data as a comma separated file. Lose It! is available on: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android 2.0 devices, and Kindle Fire. There is also a web version at loseit.com
The Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide for iPhones is just that: a guide to the world of your personal diagnosis. This app was designed by Marisa Weiss and her amazing team at the non-profit website www.breastcancer.org to help you learn the medical terminology, find answers to your diagnosis questions, and read articles about your particular cancer type. The Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide mobile app walks you through your breast cancer pathology report and other tests and information that you and your doctor will use to help decide which treatments are right for you.
Add your diagnosis information for easy reference, and receive relevant articles from Research News. The app includes illustrations and definitions. The Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide will keep you up to date on breast cancer news and will also help you understand your diagnostic reports.
Caring Bridge now has a free iPhone and Android app that streamlines their website, making it easier for family and friends to visit a personal Caring Bridge site on-the-go.
Caring Bridge is a charitable nonprofit organization providing free, private websites that connect family and friends to share information, love and support during a serious health event, care and recovery. Caring Bridge is a vital service for everyone affected during this time — the patient, the caregiver and concerned family and friends. The personal websites save time and energy by centralizing communication and easing the burden of updating everyone during a health event. Each Caring Bridge site is unique — authors select their website design and add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages in the guestbook, creating a network of support for the patient.
Sona Mehring, founder and executive director of Caring Bridge says, “This app gives people an additional way to hear about a loved one’s health news and show support without even sitting down at a computer.”
Caring Bridge has also added a mobile-optimized website to provide a streamlined experience for anyone visiting Caring Bridge from a web-enabled smartphone.
Simply Yoga is your own personal yoga instructor. The app contains 20, 40- and 60-minute yoga routines that step you through each pose. Each pose is demonstrated by a certified personal trainer, so simply choose your workout length and follow along! Simply Yoga features:
Available for iPhone and Android and costs $2.99, but you get a lot of bend for your buck.
Mind is a simple, beautiful meditation timer. Drag the slider to the number of minutes you want to focus, tap and go. There are no settings (Mind automatically assumes the last timer you set as the default for your next sitting), and no messy user-interface elements.
Mind is the simplest meditation app it could possibly be, and that’s why it works. It has one screen. You swipe the colored time slider left and right to set the duration anywhere between one minute and one hour. Then you hit the button, the app prompts you to relax and focus on your breathing, and when it’s done, it chimes three times. It remembers your last session duration for next time. Itâs that simple â and itâs free, although at the moment it is only available for the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
“I never intended to make money from it,” creator Fred Oliveira says, “which is why it’s free today and will probably stay that way forever. It was easy to build, and is easy to maintain. I guess in the last few years I realized I’m a tool-maker. Making tools is a calling. Mind is one of those tools. But I’ve built others before, and will continue building tools in the future. It makes me happy. The emails and thanks I get from people who use it are payment enough, to be honest.”
Whether you are a serious runner, a casual jogger, or a dedicated dog walker, tracking your workouts helps you get and stay in shape. This is what makes Map My RUN such a helpful app. The free version is ad supported, but there is an ad-free paid version for those who want to avoid ad pop-ups.
Map My RUN lets you search for nearby running routes, or you can create your own on its embedded maps. Getting started with Map My RUN is much easier than actually running, all you have to do is sign up for your free account, and you’ll be good to go. Your options for planning and tracking workouts and nutrition are intuitive, in a tabbed interface across the top of the screen. From your Home screen, you can see your recent activity, including workouts you’ve completed and food you’ve logged.
Clicking the “Routes” tab takes you to the key section of Map My RUN, where you can create new runs and search for existing routes nearby. You just enter your location, and an embedded map shows nearby routes that have been created by other users. You can even narrow your search by workout distance, activity type (running, biking, hiking, dog walking, commuting, and more), and location. Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
Nature Space created their apps because, as they explain, âEveryone knows what we mean when we say âthe sounds of nature.â Rain and thunder, birds, wind, water, crickets etc… But it isnât enough to just re-create the sounds. All these sounds take place in unique and interesting spaces. We can hear these spaces. The sound waves that are created by the wildlife in the space bounce and reflect off all the other objects in the space. This is known as reverberation. We can detect whether we are in an open field or a canyon based on the direction, amount and type of echoes we hear. That is also why we canât accurately recreate the space using speakers indoors; we can hear the sound reflecting off the walls so we know that we are inside. A 10x19x8 ft. indoor forest is simply not realistic enough; we can all tell the difference. Through the use of headphones, however, we can eliminate the problem of sound bouncing off the walls. The sound goes right to your ears. The accurate reproduction of spatial information generates activity in the brain that does not occur with conventional stereo recordings.”
Their Journeys and Natural Spaces stimulate not only your conscious mind, but your subconscious mind as well — the part of you that is responsible for dreaming and memory â even your heartbeat and breathing. Their intent is not to bring you just the sound of a loon, but the re-creation in your mind of the space that the loon was in, as the sound of the loonâs call cascades across the shoreline of the lake and reflects off the trees on the other side and back again. Not just the sound of wings flapping, but the re-creation in your mind of the bird passing from the right, to directly overhead and slightly behind you, to the left and then forward across the lake. The human ear-brain mechanism can accurately interpret these sounds with vivid accuracy. Their recording techniques help to accurately capture them, which they feel helps provide you with a sort of âbeing thereâ sensation.
Naturespace offers two apps for your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. One is Thundergod – The Naturespace Thunderstorm Collection, and the other is the free Naturespace Holographic Audio app.
Which one will be the app-le of your eye?
Well, there you have it. Weâve touched on just a few ideas to help you find an app designed with you in mind. You can be sure, however, in the time it took to research and write this article, someone was creating new apps with bells and whistles weâve only dreamed about. If youâve found one that is particularly useful, please share with us! In the meantime, weâll be busy losing weight, feeling happier, scanning barcodes to see whatâs really in that burrito or burger, running, bending, caring â and sharing. At this point, weâre not sure weâll need an app to help us sleep because weâre already worn out just thinking about all of this activity! Is there an app for that?