Best Health Apps For Your New Year Resolution
Living more healthfully is a standard New Year resolution – but it’s not an easy one. Get a little help in 2015 with one of these health and fitness apps. We’ve compiled a best-of-the-best list to help busy moms (and dads!) keep up with their goals long after the buzz of the New Year has faded.
The apps below have been reviewed for user friendliness, ability to personalize, effectiveness, and value for money. Download the one that’s best for you and don’t be afraid to get moving!
Compatible with: Android
What It Is: If obsessively counting calories is not your forte, this is the app for you. It serves as a digital diet diary that helps you record your intake and fashions a realistic eating plan to fit in with your lifestyle and food habits. It provides you with the calorie counts of most foods (including an impressive array of Indian cuisine) and tracks the number of calories you’ve consumed.
What We Like About It: It’s a practical planner. It includes an extensive range of food groups and varied cuisines and allows you to keep track of your calories while choosing your own diet. When you log in, you provide details of your height and weight, so the plan is personalized.
Personal Experience: When Viji Kumar, 30, a Chennai housewife, wanted to shed the kilos she’d gained during pregnancy, she found that with any diet, the minute she resumed eating normally, the stubborn kilos piled back on. But when a friend recommended My Fitness Pal, Kumar lost 6 kilos in 3 months.
“I love the fact that I can set a target weight that I’d like to lose each week and create a calorie deficit that will help me reach my goal,” she said. “It’s a wholesome and practical nutritional plan, because when I go out to restaurants or eat out while on holiday, I find that 90% of the menu is available on the database, so I can easily track what I’m eating.”
It also helps her create new, healthful recipes at home.
“If I’m making a new vegetable gravy, I simply track the calories based on the ingredients I use,” she said.
Compatible with: Apple
Cost: $3.99 (Rs 246.52)
What It Is: This app can transform a couch potato into a long-distance runner in just 14 weeks, with training sessions scheduled only three times a week. It first trains you to run 5 kilometers before challenging you with the 10K run.
What We Like About It: Any app that can make athletes out of ordinary folk is inspiring, but what’s really attractive is its slow and steady approach to fitness. This strategy ensures that even fitness newbies have a chance to build stamina and endurance. The sessions are planned only three times a week, giving users ample rest and recovery, which is vital in preventing burnout and exercise fatigue.
Personal Experience: “When a friend first suggested this app, I thought it looked really tough,” said Sai Lakshmi Sanjay, 47, a Chennai homemaker.
Her first few sessions, as expected, were tough.
“My ankles hurt terribly since I was overweight. It was so painful, I was battling to suppress my tears,” said Sai. “But as I continued to train with the app, I found that the initial soreness gradually eased. I was soon running 10 K effortlessly, something I’d never dreamed I’d do. It teaches you to make running a part of your life and for that, I’m grateful.”
Compatible with: Android 2.3 and up
What It Is: A body building app that experts say is akin to putting a personal trainer in your pocket, Jefit is a popular choice for people used to a strenuous gym routine and more scientific guidance. With more than 1,300 unique fitness plans and detailed descriptions of exercises, it will act as your daily dose of motivation to head to the nearest gym.
What We Like About It: It puts you in the driver’s seat. You exercise control over your workout, deciding which part of the body to train and to what intensity.
Personal Experience: When Edwin Sudhakar, a 35-year-old human resources director, wanted to step up his gym workouts, a gym trainer friend recommended Jefit. Edwin quickly became a fan of its tailored approach.
“You can focus on a different body part each day,” Edwin said. “If you choose to work on your abs, it will take you through several exercises, teaching you each move just as a personal trainer would.”
The app can help you get the best out of gym workouts, but you can’t expect quick results. Edwin said the app is most effective when used consistently for at least a year.
Compatible with: Android 4.0 and above
What It Is: It works like a pedometer, keeping track of the steps you take every day, but it’s far more convenient. You merely slip your phone into your pocket or your bag and it logs your steps while you’re on-the-go. Even better, it can log your jogging and cycling, too. You can view distances, durations, steps, calories time spent at each activity at the end of the day.
What We Like About It: Simple and effective, it’s a reliable resource that encourages increased movement, even as you go about your daily routine. It’s ideal for everyone and can fit into the busiest of lifestyles.
Personal Experience: “I’ve been using this for the last two years,” said Venkatesh Rajendran, a website entrepreneur. “I usually carry my phone at all times and monitor the steps/kms/calories burnt. I try to improve on this every day. It’s certainly a motivational tool!”
Compatible with: Android 2.3 and up/Apple
What It Is: It’s all in the name: a workout designed to give you the best results in just seven minutes. The exercises are designed specifically to help you lose weight and improve muscular and cardiovascular function. It uses the principles of HITC (High Intensity Circuit Training) and consists of a series of 12 exercises done at speed for 30 seconds, with10 seconds rest between each.
What We Like About It: With only seven minutes required, there can be no more excuses not to exercise. It’s plausible for even the most time-strapped among us.
Personal Experience: “It uses your body weight effectively and requires no special equipment, so you can do it anywhere and at any time,” said Aarti Christeen, 31, a freelance writer. “It’s very effective for toning, even though the number of calories you burn during the actual exercise is lower.”
Aarti said doing it several times a day can actually equal the benefits of a full-fledged workout—without taking up all of your free time.