When it comes to fitness and wellbeing, technology can be a powerful way to help us get more out of our daily routines.
There really are apps for everything now – whether it’s tracking the food you’re eating and exercise performed, or making physical activity more fun, or helping you bridge the gap between wanting to exercise and actually making it out the door to a fitness class.
To get you inspired, here are a handful of fantastic health and wellbeing apps to choose from. They’re easy for anyone to pick up and start using – and best of all, they're all either free or have great free functionality.
"It’s like a social network for active people – connect your Facebook account with the app and follow your friends to get inspired by their training."
My Fitness Pal is the original and the best when it comes to tracking food intake and exercise. This app has been around for over 10 years, which means it has some of the most comprehensive tracking options for food, and more categories of exercise.
It also integrates with over 50 other apps and devices, including fitness trackers from Fitbit and Jawbone, and apps like MapMyRun and Strava (see below). It’s not just a calorie counter for losing weight – My Fitness Pal is used by plenty of people to track their calorie goals for adequate nutrition during intensive training programs.
If you share a popular jogging or cycling route, chances are people around you are using Strava. This clever app uses GPS data from you and other people to encourage some friendly competition.
It’s like a social network for active people – connect your Facebook account with the app and follow your friends to see how hard they’re training and how fast they’re moving. Be warned though, it can get competitive fast when you can also see your time for individual sections of your route.
Sometimes healthy eating can feel like hard work, especially when it seems like sugar is being added to everything. That Sugar App is designed to help you keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming, hidden in products or otherwise.
The app’s nutrition database includes about 90% of products available in leading Australian supermarkets, so you always know exactly how much of the all-pervasive additive you’re consuming.
As well as helping you monitor your sugar intake, That Sugar App also lets you set your own personal goals for total sugar intake for the week or month
Mindbody makes it easy to locate and book health and fitness classes near you, including yoga, pilates, group fitness classes, physio, and even spa and beauty sessions.
It also gives you access to first time discounts and specials offered exclusively through the app, and lets you search classes across times so you can find a studio to fit your schedule. Even when you’re on holidays, there’s no excuse to skip class from now on!
Have you ever woken up but felt tired for the next few hours, like you hadn’t quite finished sleeping? All rest is not created equal, and smart alarm clocks can be enormously helpful for getting enough sleep.
Proper shut-eye can be one of the most overlooked and components of fitness, but your body needs adequate rest for recovery and muscle building. Using hardware included in your phone, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock meshes with your circadian rhythms and intelligently works out the best time to wake you up within a user-defined range.
The app’s paid features will provide you with more in-depth tracking and analysis, but the free version still works great, and is backed by years of research and development.
By now we’ve all heard the benefits of meditation, but it can still be difficult to integrate into your routine. In a busy world, it’s often hard to find time to sit down, take a minute, and calm your mind. Calm is a simple meditation app designed to make quieting your mind easy, wherever you are.
Put some headphones in, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and select an interval of as little as three minutes. Calm also tracks your total time meditating, as well as how many days you’ve meditated in a row. Don’t break your streak!