This is such an ever-changing field, with new devices and apps seeming to come onto the market every month. So what are some of the best health apps out there? What do you need to maximise your smartphone so you’re getting the full health benefits?
- Activity trackers – most smartphones have in-built step trackers now, and the trick is to download the best app to get good intel from this information. The iPhone’s Health app is great, but if you want something that will also calculate how many calories you’re burning based on how many steps you’ve taken, I suggest something like Activity Tracker App, which won’t drain your battery while it works. There’s a free version and a more high-tech paid version. I’ve also tried the Jawbone, which you download free but it works with the wearable tracker. And there’s the tried and true Fitbit, of course.
- Calorie counters – it’s so much easier to keep track of your calories on your phone than in a little book. I’ve used SparkPeople for many years with great success. Everyone also talks about MyFitnessPal, which I’ve not used. Check out this article for the apps recommended by a study undertaken by the University of Sydney last year.
- Calculators – I don’t have any specific recommendations, but I do suggest you go to your app store/marketplace to download a couple of easy apps for making quick calculations. A BMI calculator can help you keep track to see if your body mass index is in the normal range, a calorie-kilojoule converter can also be helpful. Because I’m terrible at maths, I find it easier to work off how many calories, rather than kilojoules, I should eat each day. But most Australian food lists energy as kilojoules so this involves a bit of conversion (I know, it’s probably easier just to count the kJs!)
- Endorsed by the Australian government – here’s a useful page. It contains all the best apps for health, which includes a map of public toilets, help quitting smoking, help for asthmatics and mental health apps. There’s also the HealthDirect app which has a symptom checker and information on health services. And they’re all free.