Our Favorite Health & Wellness Apps
Updated: Nov 10, 2018
In this day and age, not many people go without owning a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If there isn’t a WiFi connection, you can literally see people going into convulsions. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but my point is that technology is something that most people have access to and use religiously. This leads up to our blog post for this week: Our Favorite Health and Wellness Apps.
We are always asked by our patients “What apps do you use?” So this week we wanted to share some of our “go-to” apps that keep our fitness on track, our stress in check, and our Flo on course (ladies.…you know who Flo is!). Now, if you google “health wellness and fitness apps” you will find tons of suggestions- and it can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apps on the iPhone App Store and Android Market that are marketed for the health and fitness community. In the end, finding what works for YOU and YOUR LIFE is what’s most important. Hopefully this blog post will give you some guidance on which apps you could incorporate into your everyday routine, like we have.
Erin and I both own iWatches for the iPhone, so the health and activity apps are used by us on a daily basis. Personally, I have had my iWatch for about a year and I have never regretted it. I am able to track not only my workouts, but my caloric burnout, steps, heart rate, and so much more. The Health App differentiates between your “resting” caloric output and your “active” caloric output. It also tracks flights of stairs, walking/running distance for the day, and exercise minutes. The best thing about this app is the “heart rate” feature. It separates between your resting heart rate, walking heart rate averages, and heart rate variability (the difference of your highest heart rate and lowest heart rate). In the Activity app, you can track your “active” caloric output and see if you met your set goal, as well as how many “active” minutes you have used and how many hours you have stood. If you are competitive like us, this makes the iWatch worthwhile. You are basically competing with yourself. You can also connect with other friends and family who have iWatches and watch them meet their goals, give them encouragement, or engage in friendly competition.
I love this app for changing up a sometimes monotonous routine. It gives you different workouts of varying duration. You can change up the time you spend on the actual move, the break in-between moves, and how many rounds you’d like to do. Personally, I tend to not follow the suggested routines all the time and incorporate free weights and kettlebell movements. I use a duration of 1 minute per move (ie: pushups, planks, kettlebell swings etc) and a 30 second “rest,” and keep my heart rate up by jogging in place versus resting. If you are a beginner these rest periods might be beneficial, but as your endurance builds it’s encouraged to continue to keep your heart rate up by jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, or, if you really want to max yourself out, running in place with high knees. This app is convenient in that you can perform the guided moves (which are all body-weight based) without weights. In the beginning of this month I took a family vacation and this app helped keep my husband and I on track as far as getting our daily workouts in. It does cost $3.99 but its the best money you will spend on your health.
This app is our favorite of all and is actually under the “Fitness Favorites”tab on our website. Beachbody On Demand gives you amazing workouts from some of the best trainers and can be conveniently accessed on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Personally, I enjoy anything from Shaun T and Core de Force (a MMA/boxing type of workout). The workouts are anywhere between 25-45 mins and you can literally do them anywhere! My husband and I usually do it in our hotel room or in the gym while on vacation, and sometimes have resorted to doing them in the pool area of where we are staying. The durations of some of the workouts is short, but don’t let that fool you. For instance, I easily burn over 300 calories and finish drenched in sweat each time I do Shaun T’s Insanity Max 30 program, despite it only being 30 mins. Having the app on your smartphone or tablet not only makes it easy to get your workouts in, but keeps you accountable. When I see the icon on my phone each day it’s a reminder to get it done!
This is a great app if you want to track caloric intake, output, and weight management. This app seems to be the best out of any of the “trackers” as it is more accurate in terms of what you’re putting into your body. There is also a feature to track your “macros” if you are focusing on that aspect of nutrition. You are also able to link activity trackers to the app so that you can track active calories as well.
We always educate our patients on the positive benefits that meditation has on the mind, body, and soul. Meditation is one of the most under-utilized treatments for many different issues and disease processes. The Calm app is the best to help guide you into a meditation practice that is cohesive with your busy schedule. You have the option to participate in guided meditation programs or to bounce around and try a little bit of everything. They have the option to mediate with a white-out element in the background (although I prefer the sounds of waves crashing on the beach), and many are not guided, forcing you to focus even more to complete the session. You can also choose the amount of time that you want to meditate. There are many mornings where I am only able to get in a 2 minute session, but it was the 2 minutes I needed to get my mind on track and ready to tackle the day.
Being the fact that this is the #1 health and fitness app amongst women, we would be remised if we didn’t mention it. Flo not only tracks your menstrual cycles, but also ovulation, fertility, and PMS symptoms, but has additional features like reminders to take your birth control pill. With how crazy our schedules are and how fast each day flies by, this app is like a personal assistant for your cycle. You are able to see how your often your cycle comes with flow (no pun intended!), get a more accurate idea of when to anticipate your menses starting, and see when you’re at peak ovulation (which is important for when you decide to start a family).
Sleep is something that we all say we need more of, which we probably do. A well rested sleep doesn’t just include the actual sleep, but during what part of our sleep pattern we wake up. This alarm clock app tracks your sleep patterns to anticipate what time is best for you to wake up. The alarm awakens you in light sleep, which mimics the most natural way to wake up. Unlike other devices and apps that are advertised to track your sleep pattern, Sleep Cycle uses sounds to analyze your sleep pattern along with vibrations from your movements while you are asleep. This is important as it helps determine when you are in deep sleep and light sleep, thus finding the perfect, most natural time to wake you up. You simply just turn the app on before going to bed and place it on a nightstand next to you or close by on the floor. This app is also connected with the Health app mentioned above so you’re able to have a complete, full picture of your health.
Hopefully this blog post helped breakdown some great apps for your health and wellness journey. Make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter at www.followyourgutmdnp.com so you never miss a thing! Also follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook so you keep up with what is new with FYGMDNP!
Have a great week, a safe Fourth of July and remember to always #FollowYourGut