Can't face getting out of bed? Desperately need to quit smoking? Welcome to the genius world of health apps, where the simple tap of a screen can help you do anything from track your heart rhythm to boost your mood. Yes... really. Here are just a few of the health and fitness apps you can get your hands on that will help you improve your health, the lazy way.
To overhaul your body: Nike + Training Club App
The ultimate fitness companion. The new Nike + Training Club App comes fully loaded with more than 100 workouts, ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes in length, and covering a range of difficulty levels. It also has the ability to set up personalised plans for you to follow, to meet your goals, whether you want to lose weight, tone up or just increase energy levels. This is the best fitness app on the market and even better it's free. Time to work up a sweat.
To measure your heart rate: Know Your Heart Rhythm
A staggering 47% of us aren't aware that heart disease is the biggest cause of death in the UK, despite the fact that 152,436 people die of the disease every year - that's 417 people per day. If the trend remains the same, more than 3 million people will be at risk over the next 30 years. By measuring both the heart and pulse rate, this app can give you an early warning of an irregular heartbeat. The iPhone camera records your heart rate to monitor and measure the pulse. Your results can then be compared with examples of slow, fast or irregular rhythm.
To cut back on alcohol: Hello Sunday Morning
You don't have to consider yourself an alcoholic to be concerned about your drinking. For reasons of health, weight, money or mood, many of us would like to cut back a bit - but it can be difficult to break the habit on your own. Hello Sunday Morning offers a supportive app and community to help you make a change.
The app invites you to check-in on your drinking once a week, charting your progress, and also encourages you to set yourself challenges. This could mean attending a party or wedding without drinking, getting up to watch the sunrise on a Sunday, or doing a dry week.
To cope with menopause: Menopause View
This handy app is designed to ease the transition for women going through menopause. Developed by the internationally recognized leader in reproductive endocrinology, obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr. Richard Buyalos, the app includes a weight tracker and blood pressure tracker, which helps to give an overall picture of your heart health. You can also track your period on a separate calendar and receive statistics on average length and expected start date. The app holds lots of useful information for when your period stops, and comes with a handy glossary of over 175 definitions. You can even read blogs by other women who are also going through menopause - perfect for swapping and sharing advice.
To get better sleep: Sleepio
Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to sleep? Before you spend another night tossing and turning, mentally rewriting your to-do list, and cursing every cat, car and husband that disturbs the silence - try downloading Sleepio.
The app tests how efficiently you're sleeping at the moment (i.e. how much of your time in bed you spend asleep), asks what you want to improve, and then sets a program to help you do just that. The cognitive behavioural therapy techniques employed by the app have been clinically shown to work, and the benefits you could experience include a reduction in the time it takes to fall asleep, more consistent sleep during the night, and a boost in daytime energy.
To be happier: Mindfit
Whether you're stressed, lacking in confidence or wishing you had more energy, Mindfit strives to turn your mood around. Essentially this Norwegian app works by offering moral support and encouraging positive thinking: you're prompted to keep track of your good experiences and successes, so it's like a more systematic version of ‘counting your blessings'. You can also follow self-help techniques like breathing and mindfulness exercises to help you deal with difficult situations.
To take up jogging: Couch to 5k
If jogging seems like more of a dreaded duty than a potential pleasure, Couch to 5k can ease you in and make your new habit easier to stick to. The app promises to have you doing 5km runs after nine weeks, and the regime isn't too tough: just half an hour a day, three days a week, with guided runs that include warm-up, cool-down and motivational tips. It's all laid out in such easy-to-follow steps that even total novices can't go wrong.
To give up smoking: Smoke Free
If you've tried and failed to give up smoking in the past, then you'll know you need all the support you can get. This is the thinking behind the Smoke Free app, which encourages you to keep going by tracking the money you've saved, the life expectancy you've gained, and the health improvements you can expect to benefit from along the way. These virtual pats on the back could make the difference between giving in to a craving or sticking to your guns.
To monitor for melanomas: Skinvision
Often caused by sun damage, Malignant Melanoma is the ninth most common cancer in europe with incident rates increasing more rapidly than any other type of cancer. This newly released app gives a 'risk rating' for melanomas by analysing photos of freckles and moles. It is said to be 83% accurate - and although it cannot replace a real life trip to the doctor, it can help with early detection.
To manage psoriasis: PsoHappy
For the 1.8 million sufferers in the UK, psoriasis can be a double whammy: not only does it give you flaky, uncomfortable skin, but it can lower your mental wellbeing and quality of life too. If this sounds all too familiar, you may be interested to know that you can now contribute to a psoriasis happiness index, which is documenting the real experiences of people living with this chronic condition.
Download PsoHappy, an app created by the Happiness Research Institute and LEO Innovation Lab, and you'll be prompted to fill in a 5-minute survey once a week. The results will contribute to a better global understanding of psoriasis - and might give you insight into your own feelings, too.
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