Everyone has a smartphone these days, but for some of us, having all this technology at our fingertips is doing more harm than good. Fortunately, there are tons of apps out there changing people’s lives for the better. I’ve weeded through new releases, version updates, and makeovers throughout the past few weeks to highlight five incredibly useful apps.
1) Argus by Azumio
Argus was released last week, gaining lots of attention as an all-inclusive data app. It tracks fitness, diet and sleeping patterns, simultaneously pulling data from other apps in the Azumio network. The goal of Argus is to combine all health and fitness data (per user), making it one of the fastest growing apps on the market. Here are some quick facts about Argus:
- Free; however, Azumio’s other apps run $1.99 if you are considering integration
- 4 Star Rating
- Track hydration, vital signs, caffeine consumption, heart rate, movements, quality of sleep and sleep cycles
- Automatic tracking via iPhone’s built in sensors
- Pulls data from Azumio apps and third-party as well
This app centralizes on reaching weight loss goals by tracking calorie intake and setting benchmarks. For instance, we can log our food and exercise data which is organized into lists. The app will calculate our daily summary (the reaming calories) by adding the calories from food and subtracting the calories burned from exercise against our goal.
My favorite part about this app is how helpful the users are. They offer exceptional advice and tips, and value community members with a powerful forum. Their members are proud to contribute to the good-nature of the app – it’s like wearing hats from your favorite company (I love mustangs) and happily helping others on their road to weight loss and fitness.
I even discovered a thread about smoking, where members provided practical and realistic alternatives like e-cigs rather than telling people to go cold turkey. You instantly get a strong sense this community has a good head on its shoulders.
- Here are some quick facts about MyFitnessPal
- 5 Star Rating (Over 350,000 customer ratings)
- Awesome community forums on main sites, featuring success stories, food and nutrition guides, recipes, challenges and games.
- One of the largest food information databases (so when we enter our meals in, there’s a safe chance this app will have it)
RunKeeper is great for keeping track of movements and progress. With beautiful maps integration, we can review the areas we’ve traversed. Setting goals is fairly simple, such as “Run a distance of 20 miles” or “Lose a total of 10lbs”. This app forces us to be consistent in data entry, which means we’re being forced to be active (not a bad thing!). Like any of these apps, don’t expect instantaneous results. We have to gradually introduce ourselves, baby steps first, followed by comfortable increases.
One of the cool things I liked is the social integration feature. This allows our friends (who must also have the app) to communicate with us. This also allows for a fun, competitive environment, such as a leaderboards section where we can set goals and strive to surpass others. Here are some quick facts about RunKeeper:
- Free (Runkeeper Elite is $19.99)
- 5 Star Rating
- Over 20 million users
- Tracks runs, walks, bike rides, hikes, etc… by utilizing GPS
- No advertising
4)CalorieCount by About, Inc.
This app claims to be the “leading calorie counting service with logging-by-voice.” Having been featured in The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and People Magazine, Calorie Count has built up quite the reputation. What seems to have really catapulted success, is a rapidly growing community of supportive users.
There are thousands of positive-minded people who answer questions and share useful advice on healthy eating. Another advantage is having one of the largest food information databases, on par with MyFitnessPal. Here are some quick facts about CalorieCount:
- Free ($2.99 to remove ads)
- 5 million members
- 5 Star Rating
- 4 Powerful Integration Tools
- Unit Converter
- Calorie Target
- BMI Tool
- Burn Meter
Fooducate stands out from most apps, with a clear and focused goal: to make us eat a little bit healthier. This app literally grades foods, by assigning letter grades to products. We can also browse their massive database to find the healthiest products for preferences. The grades are determined by a unique algorithm that factors in nutrition and ingredient data.
After searching around, we can get a good idea of what brands are healthier. I performed a search for “Fruit Flavored Snacks” where Trader Joe’s received an A- on their Freeze Dried Strawberries. To find out what products are graded poorly, I dug a bit deeper and found Welch’s Fruit Snacks receiving a D+. All these years of eating Welch’s has come to an abrupt halt! Here are some quick facts about Fooducate:
- 5 Star Rating
- The Ultimate food information database, with over 200,000+ products.
- Includes: all nutrition facts, ingredients, bonus facts per product, calories per serving, and Fooducate Grade.
- Social integration to reader reviews
Personalization is such a vital part of living healthier. General health information and sweeping fitness statements are useless to us when everyone is different. We all have unique lifestyles and make diverse choices. These apps understand. By personalizing our information and connecting us with fellow users, a healthy life just got a whole lot easier to maintain.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully one of these apps will help you on the road to a healthier life. If you have an app to add to the list, a comment or question, please feel free to add them below!
Written by Jesse Aaron. Jesse is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes on a variety of topics on his blog, Mashbout. Follow Jesse on Google Plus.