Apps for Healthier Living
I'm a big fan of using technology to make things better. Over the years I've tested dozens of programs and websites to see what really helps and what should be avoided. With the explosion of apps for smartphones, we've gone from a few dozen choices to hundreds. To help save time, we downloaded and went through nearly 100 health and fitness apps to give you some favorites.
When you're trying to lose weight, one of the few proven ways to do it is by tracking what you eat. This program allows you to enter information at your computer, on your phone and even by scanning the barcode on a box, package or bottle. The database holds more than 750,000 foods and restaurant items.
We suggest entering what you plan on eating tomorrow, balance everything out and then follow that as a planned menu.
To make it even easier to use, every one of the recipes we've posted at www.WeCookFit.com is already entered. Simply type "WeBeFit" and the "name" and all the nutritional information is there. Everything you do on the mobile version is automatically synced with your online profile.
A critical place that healthy eating decisions happen is in the aisle of the grocery store. Thousands of temping options are all fighting for your attention, but which one should you take home? Reading the label is a great place to start, but sometimes you want to know what an expert thinks.
With fooducate, you've got an expert in your pocket. Simply scan the barcode of the package and you get back a grade, from A to D on the products nutritional quality. The report that appears gives a simple breakdown of the pros and cons of the food you're looking at while offering details on some of the more obscure ingredients hidden inside.
Staying motivated is a big part of fitness. That's why I like how runkeeper uses GPS to track where you're going. You can run, bike, skate, ski or move around any way you'd like. Runkeeper records how far and how long you've run as well as estimating how many calories you burned.
I tend to get my cardio exercise in by doing intervals, but I also ride bike to the majority of my appointments. With runkeeper I can see how many "extra" calories my daily biking burns each day. As a bonus, you can connect runkeeper to wi-fi scales, heart rate monitors, blood pressure monitors and other devices that track body metrics.
Keeping track of your healthy activities is great, but with earndit you can actually earn money for yourself or charity. The earndit program takes the data from runkeeper (and other services) to give you points. The more activity you engage in, the more points you get. You can then trade points for coupons, products or services from the sponsors of the program. There's even the option of donating all those points to charity. It's fun knowing I'm not just doing something healthy for myself, but helping out a non-profit as well.
All the apps I've talked about so far in this article are free, but the last one isn't. The reason I'm recommending it is because it takes such an unusual approach to motivate people for exercise.
Start this program and it gives you a story that unfolds as you run. Narration mixed in with a music playlist put you in a world after a zombie apocalypse. As your run progresses, you hear the sounds of zombies following behind you, their rattling groans and guttural breathing. Pick up critical supplies along the way and help your base rebuild.
I found myself squeezing in short runs during breaks in my schedule just to hear more of the story. Much to my surprise, it even works on treadmills. To really amp up the creepy factor, listen while you run at night. This app is truly an amazing motivator.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.