Use of health apps is on the up, and nowhere more so than on my phone. I am OBSESSED with downloading fitness Apps; I love to see what kind of help people are REALLY getting for free or close to it–I even use a couple.
It’s all part of the Quantified Self movement, where every creak, fart and sigh of your body is measured on a graph to scare you into doing more healthy stuff more often. That’s the theory, anyway.
In 2013 I found people were using health and fitness apps more and more – with mixed results. Here’s what I found from a popular few:
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is one of those well-worn pieces of health advice that we’re all supposed to follow, but realistically, how many of you do that? You should be…but that’s for a different time.
The test, during the month of November I had used the iDrated app.
While it’s not perfect (push notifications seem to go on and off at will, so you have to remember to go to the app to track your intake), it’s a pretty great tool to help those who cannot consciously remember to drink water during the day.
All that water really makes a difference to your skin too – I stopped using it during December and by New Years and my face felt like sandpaper, I was more bloated and my hair was noticeably dryer. So I’m back on the iDrated wagon now. A well-hydrated thumbs up for this one.
C25K (Couch to 5K)
I think I know by now I’ll never be a runner, but I had a good crack at it at the start of 2013 using Couch to 5k.There’s an iPad version, which is nice if you want to watch/read something during your training.
The free version of this app supported me from no running up to running 5K. I did find the voice notifications to be a little quiet, or possibly I was playing my music too loud. This is a good, basic beginner’s running app.
I downloaded this by accident, thinking it actually had something to do with fitness, but really it’s all about calorie counting. I know many people swear by MFP, and it is interesting to see how quickly calorie intake builds up, especially if you’ve had a few beers or a carton of Goldfish.
Where it fell down for me is in measuring home-made foods. How do you know that my bowl of pasta has the same caloric value as your bowl of pasta? My bowl is pretty big, for starters and we probably didn’t use the same ingredients for our sauce.
But when you’re eating pre-made foods, this app great because you just scan in the bar code and get the horror at how many calories that bar of fruit and nust you just inhaled contained. It does slightly suck the joy out of life, but that’s a side-effect of many health kicks, I find.
Thirty day fitness blasts are all the rage right now, as it’s a quick, achieveable goal that will hopefully see some fast results. But this was a really disappointing app, and certainly not worth the $2.99 I paid.
All the info is stuff you can find for free on the 30 Day Fitness Challenge website. There are no reminders to make sure you do your challenge every day. And when you do complete an exercise, the screen controls were unresponsive, so I couldn’t tick the boxes. I love ticking boxes! What’s the point of doing a 30 second plank exercise if you can’t then tick a box to say you’ve done it? Without electronic boxes to tick I’m just some chump in spandex. I didn’t need to waste a few bucks to find that out.
This is my favorite by far! It’s a total ass kicker, and it has BADGES (I’m talking real achievements) it makes you feel really good about yourself, and if you do two workouts in a row then you are a REAL winner—(that’s only 14 minutes by the way). Researchers have put together 12 exercises that can be performed in seven minutes but achieve the equivalent of an hour’s workout. The catch is – you need to do them to the best of your abilities (high-intensity) and rest very little in between. When rest intervals are too long, it undermines the effectiveness of the workout.
I haven’t used this one but I’m hearing increasingly good reports of this free app, so it could be the one to try in 2014. Moves tracks your daily movement and reminds you to get a “move” on if you haven’t gone very far. I think they should rename this app Move it, Lardass.
If you are NOT an app person, a piece of paper and a pen will work—just keep track of that paper and your workouts.
Though I do think that Move it, Lardass has a lot of potential.