12 Great Apps for a Healthy Lifestyle

by Nicole Bruce

Healthy living and technology don’t often walk hand in hand, but you can enhance your life with these digital helpers. If a mobile app can help you turn on your house alarm, start your car and pay your bills, one can certainly help you live a healthier life. Here are 12 of the most popular lifestyle apps that can help you live a healthier life starting today.

 

Fitness & Strength

 

MyFitnessPal

Looking to lose weight? When it comes to health and fitness tracking, MyFitnessPal is a crowd favorite with a database of over three million foods to help you keep track of how much food you’re really eating. It can be used with all diets, whether you’re going low-carb, high-protein, or just trying to eat healthier. The app delivers progress updates to and from your network of friends who use MyFitnessPal. Peer pressure keeps everyone motivated. Best part of the app is a bar code scanner for store-bought food items.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

 

Food & Nutrition

 

Fooducate

Part of eating healthy is making good choices when you are actually buying food at the grocery store. This grocery store navigator aims to help people better analyze food labels and get key information by scanning items right in the store and highlighting the products’ positive and negative attributes. It will even offer up a healthier alternative if one is available.

Cost: Free for Basic Version
Available for iOS and Android.

My Diet Coach

One of the hardest parts of dieting is finding the motivation to keep going when things get hard. This app is designed to help you beat all the potential hazards that could put a damper on your diet dreams. It will give you motivational tips, suggestions, or thought cues to help you beat the craving.
 

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

 

Relaxation & Meditation

 

Calm

This app is designed to reduce stress and bring a little more calm into your life by offering a seven-step program to give users the tools they need to become calmer. There are also seven guided relaxation sessions (ranging from two to 30 minutes) and 10 beautiful nature scenes from which users can choose a calming background for their phone.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS only (web-based version at calm.com).

 

Overall Wellness

 

iCam

If an older loved one has a computer with a webcam, the iCam app allows you to monitor multiple live video feeds over Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. With the person’s consent, you can check in, visually, to ensure he or she is doing well. Using free software, you can also record and play back events, and set up alerts for when motion is detected. For instance, you might place a webcam by the medicine cabinet or fridge (or both) so you’ll know when a loved one is taking his or her pills or eating a meal. On a related note, free video chatting apps such as Skype and FaceTime are also a great way to keep in touch.

Cost: $4.99
Available for iOS and Android.

CareZone

This app is created with the caregiver in mind. Whether it’s childcare or eldercare, relaying information to all parties involved can be an issue. No matter how hard you try, it seems some detail is bound to slip through the cracks. This app allows you to sync calendars and schedules, keep track of medication and important numbers,
create to-do lists, and leave notes for other caregivers to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

Drugs.com Medication Guide

If you’re tired of writing down prescription numbers, pharmacy numbers, and refill dates on random pieces of paper, this app from the folks at Drugs.com can help you keep track of your medicine all in one place digitally. Enter each medicine you take, the conditions you’re treating, any allergies you may have, and then  use the app to manage your meds. You can also use the app to check for potential negative interactions between meds and possible side effects.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

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This app takes a more holistic approach to wellness by allowing you to create a plan built on common wellness goals — drink water, take the stairs, call mom — then join a community, and share your journey with friends.

Cost: Free for Android, $1.99 for iOS
Available for iOS and Android.

ZocDoc

If you’re looking for a physician in a major metropolitan area, ZocDoc might be the app with the answers. Using the same strategies as popular restaurant apps, it uses your location and patient reviews to connect you with a doctor when you need one. The app also facilitates making (and canceling) appointments straight from your phone.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

 

Social Good & Innovation

Charity Miles

This app tracks every mile you run, bike, or walk and donates the results to charity on your behalf. Thanks to corporate sponsors, users don’t have to open their wallet, they just need to get moving. The app has partnered with big-name companies and causes to donate money on behalf of its users, as if they were sponsoring your run. Users just have to pick a cause and get going, no credit cards necessary.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

Mind & Brain

Lumosity

Developed by a team of neuroscientists, this app features games that enhance memory, attention, and creativity. It uses games and quizzes to sharpen your brain and cognitive skills through daily exercises. Just by inputting stats like age and gender, you can get personalized brain-training plans that target different areas of cognitive
function. The app even lets users see how their sleep and mood affect their brainpower.

Cost: Free (paid membership available for full range of features through both app and website)
Available for iOS only.

Expereal

Track your mood and see how it changes over time. This app sends reminders for users to rate how they’re feeling on a scale of 1 to 10 and creates a graph showing the progression of their mood over the course of time. Since humans are notoriously poor judges of how they felt just yesterday, this app is designed to give an accurate representation of our emotional state over time.

Cost: Free
Available for iOS and Android.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of LIFE, CJE SeniorLife's quarterly magazine.