Friday, March 23, 2012

Nutrition & Fitness: There’s an App for That!

Mobile applications (Apps!) for tracking nutrition and fitness on smart phones and other devices have become quite popular, with news sources reporting that 50% of Americans now own a smart phone. Many people use them primarily for games and communication and aren’t aware of apps that can improve health and fitness, make shopping for healthy recipes easier, and add variety in walking and running routes. The purpose of this posting is not to give names and web locations of health and wellness apps. The University of Kentucky has a fine listing of apps with their stamp of approval at Apps that are not free have a dollar sign and are reasonably priced. Click on each link and see a description and screen shot – go on to download the application if you desire.

Here’s what Health and Wellness Apps can do:

General Self Care – check medical symptoms, drug uses, side effects & warnings, vitamin/supplements; read about conditions, related symptoms and treatments; receive daily wellness tips; find the closest physician, hospital or pharmacy. First aid guide, pill identification tool (using color, shape and imprint) and medication manager for dose/schedule.

Fitness – Find walking, bicycling or running paths near you or create your own as you go by using tap, track and save actions. View your current location on the route map. Calculate calories burned, altitude, speed and heart rate; with voice feedback available. Share via social networking sites; do live tracking of family and friends. Record weight workout sets and reps with timer for spacing sets; track other fitness and health numbers; use personal trainer apps to view exercise instruction videos, add to your routine and track progress. Download high energy musical podcasts to get you moving!

Weight Loss – keep track of food and restaurant items with calories consumed, physical activity and calories expended; graphing capability to show daily/weekly net caloric balance – see if you are winning or losing the war! Track weight and water intake, too.

Dining Out – Access nutrition information for items at hundreds of fast food and restaurant chains. Add up the nutrients for the meals you choose. Create meal logs.
Cooking, Recipes and Shopping for Groceries – Access favorite recipes while you are shopping; add ingredients to a shopping list, locate recipes by ingredient, find meal ideas, peruse recipes by category, list available items to come up with meal ideas – veritable online cookbooks and more! Browse by prep time, ethnicity, ingredient; view nutrition information; save favorites to your own file!

Other Nutrition – One app allows you to scan items in the grocery store with your mobile phone and view a nutritional grade (C+) for that item to make healthier choices. A Farmer’s Market app helps give growing/selection info and seasonality on produce items, nutritional value, preparation tips and trivia. A frequently updated Gluten-Free app helps you locate food products by brand and by retailer.

Pregnancy – videos, week by week guide, on-line What to Expect, parenting guides and ability to track your baby’s growth and development.

Stress – rest and relaxation guides and routines; deep breathing technique.

Disease Management – For diabetes, track your meals, carbs, blood sugar levels, weight, activity and blood pressure; graphing capability with desirable range indicators. Blood pressure app helps track measurements.

Cessation allows you to develop a plan, view motivational tips and track progress.
Sort through the capabilities and download one or two apps that you might use to improve your health and fitness levels. These are game changers from the usual apps that require us to sit more and move less!

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