Did you ever think that a phone would be one of the best tools for tracking and monitoring your health? When the first smartphones appeared, we probably would not have guessed the paths they might take. Today we know that our smartphones can be extraordinarily useful for helping us be our healthiest.
If you are prioritising wellness (or want to give it higher priority in your life) check out this collection of health-focused mobile apps.
Tracking Health Basics
Some apps are designed simply to help us keep better track of various health markers.
iBP Blood Pressure
For many people, blood pressure is an important measurement, monitored regularly. Check yours with the iBP Blood Pressure App. Available both for Android and iOS devices, iBP works when paired with a compatible blood pressure monitor. When taking a reading, you will either manually record your numbers or import them via Apple Health. If used with a Withings blood pressure monitor, no manual data entry is required, as your recordings are transmitted seamlessly.
One of the best features of iBP is the ability to easily share your details and charts with another person, such as your medical doctor.
Analysing your data in graph form, you can view your values by different time periods including month, week, or year. It also provides interactive graphs that allow you to display your values by weeks, months, year and time of day. Using statistical analysis, the graphs include lows, highs, averages, and trend lines. At a glance, you can refer to iBP’s colour icons to check if your blood pressure is normal, high, or hypertensive.
iBP allows you to track other health indicators as well, including blood glucose and medication dosage.
Instant Heart Rate
Tracking heart rate and pulse is important for many people’s health, particularly those with cardiovascular concerns.
Instant Heart Rate is a straightforward app that can monitor both, providing your heart rate in under 10 seconds and allowing you to check your stress levels at any time. All you have to do to use this app is lightly press your fingertip against the surface of your smartphone’s camera. The camera works to detect changes in your fingertips made by the pattern of your heartbeat. This app is known for its accuracy and has even been used in cardiology research at the University of Central Florida.
You can monitor your heart rate in the mornings after waking up, or during workouts to help you hit your optimal cardiovascular levels.
Want an app for better sleep? Research shows that sleep is one of the most important influences on our overall health, but an alarming number of us aren’t getting enough Zzz’s. The Sleep Cycle app could help you get your best rest so you wake up energised and fall asleep better at night.
Sleep Cycle works by monitoring your sleep patterns. Each night your sleep moves through various states. The full cycle repeats several times per night and each cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Through sound analysis, Sleep Cycle tracks your movements in bed to determine which part of the sleep cycle you’re in. Then, the app wakes you up with an alarm at the lightest portion of your sleep cycle. This means that you awaken gently and easily, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your day.
Making an appointment with one of 11,000 trusted practitioners is easy. You can book an appointment with a local professional 24/7, and you can search by area, so you’ll be able to see which offices have openings on a given date. This is really beneficial, as it offers flexibility for booking appointments---a must in our busy lives.
HealthEngine is also a great app for keeping track of your health appointments in one place. You can set alerts for appointment reminders, make cancellations right within the app, and get details and driving directions for a facility.
For women, tracking the menstrual cycle can be an important element of wellness. There are many apps that meet this need, but Glow is a particularly well-designed option. It is available on iOS and Android.
Glow allows users to track their fertility during their monthly cycle using data input such as basal body temperature and manually-entered symptoms. This enables women to become more in tune with their bodies, and for those looking to become pregnant (or avoid pregnancy), Glow allows for accurate ovulation tracking.
The app accurately predicts your next cycle, improving with each logged day. In Glow, you’ll find charts of your menstrual, ovulation, and fertility data. You can easily find historical data to help you better understand your personal cycles. In addition to serving as a fertility tracker, there is also a huge community of women connecting via the app.
Reach Your Goals
Healthy lifestyle apps aren’t just great for keeping track of your current health and fitness, they can also help you as you work towards various goals.
For nutrition and exercise tracking, you can’t go wrong with MyFitnessPal. This app is extremely popular all over the world and it’s easy to use.
MyFitnessPal does a lot. For those looking to focus on their nutrition, MFP can be used to count calories or track macronutrients. It can be very useful for those seeking to lose weight. You can easily track your foods by manually entering items, importing recipes (which you can save for future use), or even by scanning the barcode on a packaged food item.
Keep track of your exercise, too. You can log both strength and cardio exercises, or integrate MFP with one of your favourite pedometer apps to count your daily steps.
You can use MFP on a desktop or in the mobile app, so you can access your health goals whenever you need. Whether you aim to lose weight, improve strength, or manage macro intake, MyFitnessPal could be a useful app for you.
Our health and wellness are comprised of the little decisions we make every day. So it can be just as useful to build habits that don’t deal with nutrition or exercise. A habit tracking app such as HabitBull can help you build up new positive habits or eliminate poor ones.
With HabitBull, you choose specific habits that you want to work on. This can be anything that you know you wish to change. Record how you do each day and watch your streaks grow. Each habit is tracked in its own calendar and you can set distinct criteria for what constitutes ‘success.’ For instance, you can make your goal to do something only a certain number of times per day, week, or month, or to do it every 2 days. This gives you more flexibility, as not every habit or activity will be done daily.
Apps for Mental Health
Health is about so much more than physical wellness. It involves all aspects of the body, including the unseen mental and psychological health components.
When it comes to reducing anxiety and stress, there may be no better choice than Headspace. This is a meditation app geared especially towards those who have no experience with meditation. Assuming you have little to no experience with becoming ‘zen,’ the app works to teach you how to meditate. All you need is a few minutes a day to practise listening, focusing, and breathing.
There’s a lot you can do with Headspace. Guided meditations range in all lengths, so you can start small, or even listen to a 2-3 minute “mini-meditation” to give you a quick mental boost. You start with the basics and work your way up as you develop more advanced meditation and mindfulness skills.
Have a particular issue that’s bothering you? There may be a meditation for that. Users can listen to guided meditations for sleep, focus, and more. Track your progress to see how many minutes (or hours) you’ve meditated.
For more pervasive issues with anxiety or depression, you may want to check out online therapy apps, which can pair you with a trained professional. We have a whole article that explores some of the most popular options: Would You Like a Therapist in Your Pocket?
Do you have a favourite health or wellness app?